The Great Dane Pub & Brewing Company was established by college friends Eliot Butler and Rob LoBreglio. The two dreamed of starting a Brewpub that offered many varieties of house-brewed ales and lagers and hearty made-from-scratch pub fare to accompany the beers. The original Downtown location opened in November 1994 and expanded with the addition of a pool hall in 1996. The wild success of the first Great Dane led to the decision to open more pubs in the Madison area.
The Fitchburg Great Dane began operations in 2002 and the Hilldale pub followed in 2006. In 2009, the Hilldale pub expanded its brewery and opened a 4,000 square foot pool hall. Additionally, in May of 2009, the first Great Dane outside of the Madison area debuted in Wausau, Wisconsin. The Wausau Great Dane added a 100 seat beer garden and outdoor bar in the spring of 2011. In November 2010, the fifth Great Dane began operations in Grandview commons, off of Cottage Grove Road on Madison’s east side.