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The boozy backstory of this 1866 Milwaukee building, future home of Zizzo Group

On this week's Urban Spelunking, we're right across the street from the Radio Milwaukee studios in Walker's Point, exploring an 1866 Milwaukee brick building with a boozy backstory.

Built by Prussian immigrant Emil Schneider, the building was originally home to his liquor wholesaling and whiskey rectifying business, which was booming before the turn of the century, writes Bobby Tanzilo in his story.

"Rectifiers blended and bottled and sometimes redistilled whiskey. According to Historic Milwaukee research, Schneider had a furnace and kettles in the basement, suggesting he may have actually been distilling here. But there's no mention of a still, so perhaps not," writes Tanzilo.

As the business expanded, so did the building, and numerous additions increased its footprint over the years. Roof lines, for example, don't quite line up in places and are still visible today. But those quirks don't detract from the beauty; the building boasts abundant windows, each accented with interesting brick work.

Looking ahead

Zizzo Group Engagement Marketing acquired the space last June and is working on a large-scale renovation. The plan, led by RINKA+, includes adding a new entrance on Seeboth Street, painting the exterior, adding a pocket park, and many other interior upgrades.

Zizzo plans to occupy the space by June this year. It is meanwhile in the process of leasing or selling its current office space on Milwaukee Street.

Listen to this week's podcast below, and visit OnMilwaukee for even more history and renderings of the new plans.

Director of Digital Content | Radio Milwaukee