Garth Beyer, owner of Garth’s Brew Bar on Monroe Street, opened his establishment in 2019 and has been donating a tasting session to Madison Public Library Foundation’s Ex Libris fall fundraiser silent auction ever since. He also wrote his business plan at the library! Learn more about Garth below, and buy your tickets now for Ex Libris: New Recipe on November 5 at Central Library.

How long have you been going to and using libraries?

Getting a library card was one of the first things I did when I moved to Madison 10 years ago. Since then, I’ve bounced around to a half-dozen different Madison Public Library locations for everything from renting books, movies and games to utilizing them for meeting spaces and visiting to participate in their events.

We’ve heard that you wrote your business plan for your bar at Madison Public Library. Tell me about that process and what kinds of library resources you used.

Writing the business plan for Garth’s Brew Bar was more than a yearlong project to develop. I wrote a short 12-page plan in my apartment at first and then worked with the Small Business Development Center to get it to the now 59-pager. I definitely invested a good amount of time at Central Library writing that plan with books and magazines beside me, with topics ranging across business development, running a tavern and managing a restaurant, as well as other financial and marketing books. The research and resource tools available online have also been a major help! It was my mission to build a business plan that no one else had done as thoroughly as me, and I couldn’t have made that happen without the library’s resources either right down the street or a few computer clicks away.

What have you enjoyed the most about using the library? Do you have a favorite Madison Public Library location or digital/virtual resources you use regularly?

My wife and I recently moved to the west side and had our first child, so our new favorite library is the Verona one because of all the kids’ books, activities and play spaces – and it’s convenient, of course.

When did your passion for craft brewing begin?

It all started back in college when a friend shared a bottle of homebrew with me. From there, I got so interested in beer that I tied it to my studies of journalism by starting the beer column “What’s On Tap” within the college newspaper, The Badger Herald. Through all my experience in homebrewing and writing about breweries (their impact on the economy, their investment in their communities and so on), I knew I wanted to do something that could help breweries thrive. And that’s where the idea behind opening a craft beer bar came from.

You’ve donated your tastings to Ex Libris’ silent auction the past couple of years. How has that experience been for you and your bar?

I’m only one person, so I don’t donate too many tastings out, but every one of the tastings I’ve donated to Ex Libris has led to making some really wonderful friends. In fact, our current bar manager is the husband to a woman who purchased the first Ex Libris tasting I ever offered! I look forward to working with whoever wins the next tasting. 

Going forward, what are some of your plans for your business? How are you looking to impact the Madison community in the future?

The list goes on and on regarding our plans to benefit the Madison community. We have a series of events in the works: collaboration beer releases with local breweries, pop up events with Madison makers, and activity nights like Trivia and Adult Crafting. Then we’ll obviously continue to work with some of the most remarkable breweries in the country and in Wisconsin to showcase their offerings and stories. The best way to keep an eye on all we’re doing is to check out our Facebook events page.

– written by Communications Intern Kyle Engels