LaCrosse, WI – Everyone knows that the less you have of something, the more people want it. Best friends Chris Erickson and Rick Krueger of Onalaska took that economic principle to heart when they decided to open the state’s first Micro-Micro Craft Brewery, The Meager Pour.
Set to open next Friday in LaCrosse, The Meager Pour is taking a surprising approach to meeting thirsty customers’ needs: they’re only producing one bottle of beer each year.
That’s right: just one bottle. This extremely limited offering is inspired by the uptick in nano breweries and cideries opening up across the nation, but taken a step further. According to the Brewers’ Association, a microbrewery is defined as producing less than 15,000 bottles annually and selling more than 75% of their stock off site. A micro-microbrewery, however, produces less than 15 bottles annually.
“When we started brewing in our basement, we realized that only the first beer really tasted any good,” said Erickson. “So we thought to ourselves – how can we replicate that feeling for others?” For nearly twelve years, the lifelong friends drank every weekend together, spitballing ideas and drinking the hundreds – thousands, they hesitantly admitted – of less tasty homebrewed suds.
Fifteen pounds and one grueling divorce later, Erickson found inspiration in an emotional episode of Shark Tank. “It wasn’t any particular idea that sparked my brilliant idea, it was just the absolute gall some of the participants had that got me. That ‘I’m well aware my idea is mind-numbingly stupid’ kind of attitude. It just struck me. And that’s when we realized we could open a brewery and only sell the first beer.”
After quitting their jobs to focus on the perfect sip, things began to look bleak. “I’ve never gotten into so many arguments about not drinking before,” remarked Krueger. “My wife has really been on my case. We’ve got three kids and living on one income has been a challenge. At least Chris only has his lizards to think about.”
Despite the fact that virtually no one will be able to sample their work, locals are brimming with excitement. “I can’t wait. We’ve got like 7 bars per 10,000 people, the highest ratio per capita in the whole state, and really, they’re all just the same,” says Myrna Shaddock of nearby Bangor. “Honestly, do we need another place to get cheese curds and the same beers every place has on tap?”
Others are hoping it brings a greater focus on small business. “With all the businesses that closed during COVID, this is a breath of fresh air,” said Terry Kratz of the LaCrosse Chamber of Commerce. “We’re so pleased to have The Meager Pour here for at least three months, probably.”
Erickson and Krueger aren’t worried about keeping people coming through the doors. “In addition to the one bottle of beer we’ll be offering, we also have a line of t-shirts with fun sayings like I Didn’t Get A Beer At The Meager Pour or You’d Think I’d Be Drunk To Have Paid $49.99 For This Shirt At The Meager Pour “ added Krueger, happily. “ And we have a children’s book in the works, too!”
You can attempt to buy the single bottle of beer available, priced at $1848.00 in honor of the year Wisconsin became a state, on Friday July 15th at The Meager Pour at 1802 State Street in LaCrosse.