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Brewery with a conscience coming to Madison’s south side

Delta Beer Lab, inspired by science classrooms and nonprofits, plans on serving Greater Madison from the Novation Campus by January 2019.

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In the lab

Piotrowski notes everything in Delta Beer Lab is intentional.


Delta is the symbol (Δ) representing “change” in chemistry. “Delta Beer Lab’s brewhouse is the laboratory where we physically change four simple raw ingredients into a vast array of beers, while our taproom is a social laboratory designed for people to come together for conversation, engagement, and action,” states Piotrowski. “Beer has brought people together for hundreds of years, and together we can make changes in our community and the world in innumerable large and small ways.”

The bar design and materials were also selected intentionally. “The chalkboard is an ode to the film, Good Will Hunting; you never know where the next revolutionary idea will come from,” Piotrowski notes. “Nearly all of our taproom tables will be long and communal, a nod to a German-style beer hall. When you join us, sit near someone new while you wait for your friend to arrive, introduce yourself, and see where it goes — share an experience. Our main entertainment provided will be board games, darts, and shuffleboard; play a game and talk to one another. Everyone has a story, and I will share my journey along the Appalachian Trail through developing Delta Beer Lab, with artifacts from the experience. Even our restroom is intentional; just wash your hands.”

In addition, faucets will be laboratory style, the periodic table of elements may make an appearance, and lab glassware will be used artistically and functionally.

“We’re not trying you scare you with flashbacks to Chem 101, just hoping to remind you that you have the tools to make a difference,” Piotrowski says.

Social experiment

Piotrowski’s intentions to do right by Madison also apply to how he plans to run his for-profit business as an engine for social good.

“We won’t have the least expensive beer in town,” he admits. “We’re rolling the costs of fair employment into our prices, and we will not accept tips – you’ll find that going out to Delta Beer Lab will end up costing you pretty much the same when you sign the credit card receipt.

“Instead, we are offering all employees a revenue-sharing program on top of a living wage. We will actively recruit a diverse team. Progressive community programs will be encouraged to highlight their impact and opportunities on a rotating basis. To-go beer will be sold in 16-ounce aluminum cans — did you know that on top of protecting beer from defects caused by oxygen and light ingress better than glass bottles, aluminum is infinitely recyclable. This makes the can a vastly superior package, but you have to recycle!”

Delta Beer Lab is also committed to 1% for the Planet, where 1% of every dollar of revenue the venture receives will be redirected to approved environmentally focused nonprofit partners. “Given the resources that breweries use, we will direct our contributions to local water resources and climate-focused organizations,” notes Piotrowski. “On top of giving 1% of our revenue to serve the environment, once we generate a profit, our business plan calls for 10% of net income to be reinvested in local community organization sponsorships.

“Why is all of this so important to me,” he adds. “As the late Sen. Paul Wellstone of Minnesota said, ‘We all do better when we all do better.’”

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