Rose Lauer, 4, of West
Bend walks a trail with her siblings and friends near a
shelter at Heritage Trails County Park in the town of
Polk. Officials with Washington County are considering
adding a beer garden to the area near the shelter to
John Ehlke/Daily News
details are emerging from Washington County’s plan to
establish a beer garden for area residents. Having found
a vendor, the attention shifts to specifics regarding
the venue, schedule and the revenue model officials will
use to raise money to pay for park expenses.
Planning and Parks staff notified Public Works Committee
members during Wednesday’s meeting they elected Raised
Grain Brewery to service the beer gardens they are
planning for several of the county parks, including
Heritage Trails, Leonard J. Yahr and the Eisenbahn
Officials said they received few offers from the request
for proposal they published to sell beer and opted to
use the same vendor that Waukesha County uses.
“Recently, we had met with Waukesha County,” Parks
Property Manager Eric Hyde said. “They had been doing a
pilot (program) themselves with a local brewery from
Waukesha County, Raised Grain Brewery. They have a van
with a tap wagon and a tent.”
Reaching an agreement with the vendor is a step in what
amounts to an important plan to make the parks system
part of priority-based budgeting, county officials have
access to a fiscal health tool that tracks revenues and
expenses and projects the divide into the future. The
deficit is forecasted at $1.84 million for 2018, but it
increases $8.5 million by 2021.
Supervisors identified what they believe is the
appropriate role for county government, nearly all of
which do not list parks programs as a priority. As a
result, staff received a directive from supervisors to
reduce the department’s reliance on the property tax
Establishing a beer garden is one prong, along with
vehicle parking stickers and naming rights and
sponsorships, to generate revenue to offset costs.
According to Hyde’s PowerPoint presentation, the events
are generally Thursdays and Fridays from 4-9 p.m.
Company representatives want to expand the service to
include Wednesdays, Saturdays and Sundays during the
weekend hours can vary, at times they may host the event
from 11 a.m.-6 p.m.
According to the accompanying committee report, Raised
Grain operated pop-up beer gardens on a trial basis at
three parks in the Waukesha system more than 26 times.
Company personnel have a beer cooler with 10 taps and a
van they use as the serving area.
bring games and coordinate with local food trucks and
caterers to provide the food while parks personnel are
responsible for the electrical connection, garbage
receptacles and picnic tables. Co-owner Nick Reistad
wants to expand the service area and believes Washington
County would be a good fit for their plans.
Washington County officials have considered Waukesha’s
beer gardens a success, generating between $1,000$2,000
or more for each event.
next steps involve finalizing the agreement, including
the schedule, logistics and the revenue model the two
parties can agree to because any proceeds collected by
county staff from the event will go toward offsetting
material and personnel costs for maintaining the parks
said parks officials are considering several proposals
for collecting funds. One is to share in the beer
revenues where the county would take a certain
percentage of the sales. There are several methods, from
collecting fees at the park entrance to directly
charging the vendor for the beverage sales.
parties have surveyed the priority parks for the premium
locations to host the event.
“Where would you put the porta potties along the
Eisenbahn Trail? Because these people, after a couple of
beers, would have to use the restroom,” Supervisor
Michael Miller asked.
said they would try and collaborate with the city and
retailers to provide that amenity.