Former Downtown Writing Center coordinator helps open new brewery: Working Draft Brewery


Adrienne Oliva / Clarion

Working Draft Beer Company co-owner, Ryan Browne, hopes to create an enviroment where artists can share ideas over a beer. The mural pictured above is among the first pieces of local art he has selected for display.

Adrienne Oliva, Editor in Chief

Ryan Browne is co-owner of Working Draft Beer Company, a new brewery located at 1129 E. Wilson St.
Adrienne Oliva / Clarion
Ryan Browne is co-owner of Working Draft Beer Company, a new brewery located at 1129 E. Wilson St.

Ryan Browne’s passion for brewing beer began as a grad student in Alabama in 2005. He was motivated to create a stronger drink than the 5.5% beer that was available to him at the time. His first batch of home brewed beer attracted a party of everyone from friends to faculty, and since then, Browne as valued the way that people come together to share a drink.

“The coolest thing was everyone showing up,” explained Browne. “Beer is just an awesome vehicle or catalyst for people to get together.”

As co-owner of Working Draft Beer Company, Browne’s new ambition is to bring people together to share a brew on a much larger scale than he has in the past.

“Every home brewer dreams of opening a brewery,” said Browne.

Though Browne has been brewing beer for a while now, it is only as of recently that it has become his profession. Before that, Browne has been working as a writer, a poet, and the Downtown coordinator of Madison College’s Writing Center.

Browne sees a lot of similarity between the work he does as co-owner of a new brewery as well as his past work as a writing tutor.

“(At the Writing Center) I’m there to help guide, and kind of be a sounding board, and step in during moments that are strategic to continue to move a writer in a direction that they were already kind of going in”

Browne feels lucky to be surrounded by such talented people, and feels that similar to his work as a writing tutor, “the bulk of my job is just guiding.”

“My job is just facilitating that, and that’s all I did in the writing center. I’m not writing people’s papers- I’m not building this building in the same way.”

Though Browne has moved on from writing center work, writing still plays an important part in his life. Even the name “Working Draft” stems from his career as a writer.

Browne explains that the name came from “Really enjoying the process of writing and seeing a lot of the connections with the process of brewing.”

“As a poet I would sit there and maybe spend five hours on two words,” explained Browne. “Brewing is very similar; you can focus in as minutely on details.”

Browne imagines Working Draft as a place that facilitates community creativity, as he hopes to create a space where local art can be appreciated and where Madison’s writers can take part in poetry readings.

Working Draft will also continue to facilitate Browne’s passion for home brewing. Along with the permanent range of beers on the menu will be a rotating range of experimental new flavors inspired by the spirit of home brewing.

Though Browne already appreciates the relationships he’s created during the process of developing Working Draft, he is looking forward to making even further bonds with the community upon the opening of the brewery.

“Just seeing those relationships grow … that’s really exciting for us.”

Working Draft Beer Company opens its doors to the beer loving public this March.