When I set out to promote Wisconsin Supper Clubs nearly 6 years ago in December 2010, it was because there was no other coordinated effort to do so out there. It’s been a long, slow process to gather all the known supper clubs (currently over 300) and get them listed on this website. The Wisconsin Supper Clubs website now gets hits from all over the US and beyond, averaging 5000 monthly visits. The Wisconsin Supper Clubs Facebook page has grown in popularity and now has nearly 5000 fans. The Facebook post I shared about the Brandy Old Fashioned contest at the 2016 Wisconsin State Fair received over 34,000 views and was shared 208 times! People love Wisconsin Supper Clubs and we’re also starting to see a younger demographic getting excited about them, in fact, the chart above shows that people of all ages are interested in supper clubs!
Flash forward 6 years and…It’s very rewarding to now see our supper clubs getting the attention they deserve!
Wisconsin Department of Tourism has thrown so much energy and marketing dollars at promoting them this year and it’s exciting to see the momentum building. Wisconsin Department of Tourism Secretary Stephanie Klett is a huge supporter of supper clubs and has been working tirelessly to let the world know about them. And, hey, if she has to sample a few Brandy Old Fashioneds at a few of them in the process, it means she’s taking one for the team!
Ron Faiola has contributed greatly to the heightened awareness of our culinary treasures. His documentary “Wisconsin Supper Clubs: an Old Fashioned Experience” and his two very popular books “Wisconsin Supper Clubs: An Old Fashioned Experience“ and “Wisconsin Supper Clubs: Another Round” have become the the go-to guide to the best of the best in Wisconsin.
Other people who have brought needed attention to WI Supper Clubs are Mary Bergin with her delicious collection of recipes in “Wisconsin Supper Club Cookbook: Iconic Fare and Nostalgia from Landmark Eateries“. And storied writer Dave Hoesktra (long-time columnist for Chicago Sun-Times) has told the story of the midwest supper clubs in “The Supper Club Book: A Celebration of a Midwest Tradition“. This year Holly DeRuyter debuted her much anticipated documentary “Old Fashioned: The Story of the Wisconsin Supper Club”.
There are so many more people that have contributed to telling the story and it’s exciting to see everyone sharing and showing the love for Wisconsin Supper Clubs. And it’s good news for the hard-working owners of Wisconsin Supper Clubs, but we still need to make sure we’re getting out there and spending some of our money at them. So, get out this week and try a new supper club (or visit your old favorite) and show them the love! Be sure to tell them we sent you!
Article by Therese Oldenburg, founder of the non-profit Wisconsin Supper Clubs, Inc.