Discover Downtown: McFleshman's Brewing Co.

DISCOVER DOWNTOWN like never before!

Get a behind-the-scenes look at some of the GREAT businesses located here in downtown.  Get to know the owners and their products from checking out their answers to a series of fun questions!

Answers by Allison McCoy Fleshman. 

What is the name of your business and who is the owner(s)?

McFleshman’s Brewing Co is owned by wife/husband Allison McCoy Fleshman and Bobby Fleshman and Bobby’s parents Bob and Jacque Fleshman.

What service(s) and/or product(s) do you offer?

We brew British Ales and German Lagers and serve them in our British inspired taproom and German inspired beer garden. We host live music and food trucks and even distribute our beer to local restaurants and bars. We have an upstairs rental space – The Prohibition Room – that will soon double as a classroom for a brewing science school. 

What inspired you to start your business?

Bobby and I realized there is a lot of science in beer making while in graduate school – he for astrophysics and me for chemistry. The craft beer industry is all about making local beer on smaller systems, but the process is quite energy and resource intensive. Most craft breweries do not utilize scientific approaches to optimize quality in their beer like the large-scale breweries do. We wanted to bring our science to the small-scale breweries—become a brewery for brewers who aren’t trained in the science—and help them increase their beer quality. We wanted to partner with a local University to foster student involvement in brewing science. I’m a Chemistry Professor at Lawrence University, and I chose Lawrence in part because Appleton was a prime location to open our brewery. That relationship is already blossoming as we’ve had several students work on brewing projects. 

What are 3 words that describe your business?

I’ll answer in two!  Innovating. Tradition. OK, three: Beer. 

If your business had a theme song, what would it be?

Ha! I’d have to say David Bowie’s (Ziggy Stardust) Starman!! The song is about bringing hope to the next generation. Our taproom and beer garden have no TVs as we encourage conversation and being present with your friends and family over a pint, which is rare in this digital age full of distraction. I think our business brings you back to what matters most--the people in our lives. Not only is Starman a great song, but his lyric, “He’s told us not to blow it, cause he knows it’s all worthwhile”, dons our south wall with Bowie watching over our Beer Garden. (Thanks, Chad Brady, for the mural!) 

What's the best piece of advice you've ever been given?

Be truly invested in the other person’s success. We take the ‘other person’ to be our employees, neighbors, competing businesses, you name it, we are invested in your success. This is one reason we are deeply committed to the Appleton community, the better the community does, the better we do.  

What's something about your business nobody knows?

The name McFleshman’s was a long-time family joke. My mother, Karen McLennan, married Steve McCoy. My sister Val McCoy married Kevin McGrath. I married Bobby Fleshman. So, they started calling me McFleshman. Turned out to fit our brand perfectly as the Mc represents the Irish and British ales, and the Fleshman represents the German Lagers. 

What do you love most about being in Downtown Appleton?

The customers of downtown are the best, but we have also benefitted from the other businesses around who have become like family to us. In particular, Appleton Beer Factory, Appleton Bicycle Shop, and ACOCA Coffee have given a wealth of advice and friendship. 

If you were a super-hero, what powers would you have?

Bobby always says he’d be Average-Height Man: superpower is to only reach the middle shelf but has intelligence to grab a ladder for what he can’t reach. 

If you could share a meal with any 4 individuals, living or dead, who would they be and why?

We wanted to bring voices from Beer’s history to the table:

  1. Hildegard von Bingen – in the 12th century she first added hops to beer--and she was brilliant for so many other reasons! We named our Pilsner the Hildegard Pilsner (The Hildy Pils for short) in her honor. 
  2. Louis Pasteur, who discovered yeast and bacteria’s role in fermentation.  He wanted the French to make better beer than the Germans, so it’s said.
  3. Fritz Maytag –yes, that’s right, of the appliance company!  He owned the first craft brewery in the US (Anchor Brewing Co), and made it the most state-of-the-art brewery in the world in the ‘60s.

(4) Jade (Mc)Fleshman – Our new little addition, born in January.  If this table comes together, we want her there taking notes as she’s part of the next generation of brewers!

If you had to describe your business as an animal, which one would it be and why?

Bees!  Bees are all about community; one for all, all for one, if ever there was. Bees work together to make their hive successful all the while pollinating the majority of the food we eat-unbeknownst to them! Beer is our honey and makes our taproom a prime spot for the cross-pollination of ideas.

What's the weirdest food you have ever eaten?

Bobby had male goat brain in San Francisco once.  We’re sure it was a pitch by the kitchen to see what the weirdest thing they could sell would be.  They all but said ‘are you sure?’ when we paid.

Something else fun and unique about your business you want to share?

There are many Easter Eggs hidden throughout our taproom. The beer names and some of the pictures on the walls have deeper stories than meets the eye! For instance, Pirate’s Cove is not only an homage to the bar that once stood next door, it’s also a great song by the late Tom Petty.

Learn more about McFleshman’s Brewing Co. and plan your visit, check them out on Facebook! Click here.

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