MILWAUKEE – Some people wait for hours in the cold to buy cheap televisions or video games. People in Wisconsin do it for beer.
About 800 people were in line by 8 a.m. Friday — waiting in 15-degree, snowy weather — outside of Lakefront Brewery in Milwaukee to buy a limited edition Black Friday brew. In less than four hours, the brewery was sold out of its 5,000 22-ounce bottles, each of which sold for $15.
Along with snatching four bottles, the per-customer limit, 30-year-old analyst John Graham said he wanted to be part of the buzz and the festive atmosphere that included a DJ, tap beer and breakfast.
"I've never been out for Black Friday before, never bought a TV or an X-box or anything," he said. "But here I am drinking beer at 8 a.m."
Others started sooner. Dave Armstrong camped out overnight after arriving at 9:30 p.m. on Thanksgiving with a propane heater and blankets. The 53-year-old seemed to have no interest in joining shoppers trying to take advantage of Black Friday deals at large retail stores.
"They are either waiting in line for a television or computer or whatever it is, and they've got to mess with the crowds, the pushing and shoving," said Armstrong, a vice president at financial company in Milwaukee. "Here, it's a real orderly group but it's a fun group."
Lakefront Brewery owner Russ Klisch said the business would take in more money on Friday than on any other day during the year. He said he and his employees got the idea after they tried doing early tours for beer lovers on Black Friday a few years ago.
"They just came here to drink beer at 8 in the morning. So I figured at that point, it's time to make a beer for these people," he said.
This is the fourth year the brewery has had Black Friday beers.