January 26. 2007 2:00AM - Last modified: March 14. 2012 2:10PM

Gluten-free beer fuels growth for Lakefront Brewery


Milwaukee-based Lakefront Brewery Inc. increased shipments to wholesalers to 8,863 barrels in 2006, up 2,571 barrels or 41 percent over 2005 it was announced by Lakefront Brewery Inc. president, Russell Klisch.

"Lakefront Brewery achieved increased shipments due to the success of our New Grist gluten-free beer and growth in our flagship and seasonal brands, including our award-winning Riverwest Stein. We also saw tremendous demand nationwide for our Lakefront Pumpkin Lager in 2006. We are pleased at the reception of our beers and amused at attempts by big breweries to imitate our art, craft and business model."

In the United States, Lakefront Brewery's New Grist is considered the original gluten-free beer because Klisch petitioned the federal government to change its definition of what could be called beer. Previously, only brews made with at least 25 percent barley malt were allowed to be labeled beer in the U.S. Klisch challenged that precedent and the mandate was rescinded.

In addition to the nationwide distribution of Lakefront Brewery beers, Israel has just received its first shipment of New Grist. All Lakefront Brewery beers are kosher certified.

Lakefront Brewery was the first brewery in the United States to bottle a certified organic beer and the first to bottle a fruit beer since prohibition.

"We are pleased with our growth and look forward to making Lakefront Brewery and Milwaukee the nexus for brewing innovative and traditional styles of beer in the United States," Klisch said. "We've always been innovators, never imitators. The educated beer drinker can taste the difference."