Living the DREAM
The new Sweet Mullets crew brewing up plans for local beer domination

By Ryan Billingham - Freeman Staff

April 16, 2016

Miller and Ostram with bourbon barrels aging special brews.

Photo by Ryan Billingham

OCONOMOWOC - It is always surprising for the new owner of Sweet Mullets Brewing Co. to hear people in the community say: “We have a local brewery?”

It is a problem Chad Ostram is trying to correct, as he and his crew take over Sweet Mullets, N58-W39800 Industrial Road, a small brewery on the outskirts of town, with an interior and a slate of innovative beers that might surprise firsttime visitors.

Ostram took over the brewery about three months ago from previous owner Mark Duchow, who opened the brewery and ran it for four years. Duchow has since moved to Chicago.

Ostram, who was working in IT until recently, began as a home brewer. Sweet Mullets is what he called “every home brewer’s dream” — a chance to do what he loves and hopefully make some money doing it.

“I think every home brewer’s dream is to own a microbrewery,” he said. “They’re very passionate about their hobby.”

Growing interest

Sweet Mullets is one of several breweries in Waukesha County and the surrounding region. Small breweries are proliferating. However, market share is still dominated by the large domestic beer brewers.

Hops and Leisure, 1225 Robruck Drive, also features microbrews, though they are contract brewed by the Delafield Brewhaus for now. The Brewhaus, Biloba Brewing in Brookfield, and Raised Grain Brewing in Waukesha are other small breweries in the county. In nearby Jefferson County, Lake Mills boasts Tyranena Brewing and Fort Atkinson is home to Bent Kettle Brewing.

The growing demand for microbrews is indicative that the general public’s beer tastes have become more sophisticated, Ostram said.

“People look for new beers,” he said. “People will travel a long way to experience a new brewery.”

The brewery is currently offering an eclectic program of beers including a more accessible golden ale to a funky bourbon barrel stout.

The offerings reflect Ostram’s plans for the future; he wants to keep the beers people love and develop new experiences for both longtime customers and new patrons.

Brew crew

Ostram recently brought on an assistant brewmaster, Josh Miller.

Miller was helping out at the brewery previously for free to learn more about brewing beer, but when some internal ownership changes happened he was put on the payroll.

Miller, too, started with home brewing. A retired sailor, he said his mom bought him his first brewkit, and he was hooked on the activity.

“I love beer,” he said.

Miller, a transplant from northern California via marriage, hopes to attend a brewing program in California for four months to attain his certification as a master brewer.

He has no plans to move away from Wisconsin after he is certified, and said he just wants to make great beer.

For now, though, he is enjoying creating new recipes and working with Ostram to make their operation more efficient and produce quality beers.

Ostram said a major focus of the new ownership is to increase the brand’s reach and get Sweet Mullets beer on tap in establishments across the area and region.

“Right now, I am getting my feet underneath me with respect to the business,” he said. The taproom, a surprisingly large and modern space when first entered, is open for pizza and beer Mondays, Wednesdays and Thursdays starting at 4 p.m. On Fridays the kitchen features a full menu and is open from 4 p.m. until 11 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays it opens at noon and features a full menu with bloody Marys on Sundays.

For more information about Sweet Mullets visit