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Stevens Point Brewery opens $1.1-million expansion

Newly remodeled space includes tap room, sampling room and gift shop

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May 13, 2024

STEVENS POINT – It’s official – Stevens Point Brewery has a tap room.

For the first time in the “legacy brewery’s” century-plus history, “customers can discover and enjoy their favorite brews all year round with the new space,” Tap Room Manager Melissa Wysocki said.

The brewery broke ground on the $1.1 million project – which included the remodeling of a 1936 building (2,400 square feet) adjacent to its outdoor beer garden and a 1,800-square-foot addition – in October of last year.

Matt Paulus, the Wisconsin River Valley Area manager with The Boldt Company, said the project focused on blending old and new elements.

Working with the brewery on a handful of other projects over the last decade-plus, Paulus said Boldt had a good understanding of its vision for the expansion/remodel.

“(Our partnership) with Stevens Point Brewery goes back almost 15 years now, and (working with them) on a few other projects, we’ve gotten exposure to and understand the history of not only the brewery (itself) but the impact to Stevens Point and the region the brewery has had for well more than 100 years,” he said.

Wysocki said there were two aspects of the project – the remodeling and the expansion. 

The historic 1936 building, she said, has had its fair share of uses over the years.

“We renovated the original space, which used to be our malt garage,” she said. “We still mill the grain in the garage, but we used to use it to store the grain as well, so that moved. Before that, in the 1930s, that milk garage was where we stored our fleet of distribution vehicles and did maintenance on them – before beer distributors were a thing.”

Preserving as much history as possible, Wysocki said “history still shows throughout the building.”

“We kept the ceiling raw so you can see all the wood beams showing through, and there’s some metal trusses in there, keeping the old-school look,” she said.

The expansion, Wysocki said, is the more modern, updated aspect of the project.

“That’s a new build, so it has a fresher look,” she said. “That extends and connects to our outdoor beer garden that’s a green space as well.”

To accomplish the blend of old and new, Paulus said Boldt reused certain materials. 

“The metal panel walls and some of the glass was repurposed and reused – this serves as a constant reminder of what was once part of the brewery is now there in a different way or in a reimagined way,” he said.

Walking through the door, Paulus said, patrons are greeted with gas lanterns, old and new signage and neon lights.

“It’s a continuous reminder of where the city has been, where the brewery has been and where they are today – it transcends throughout the entire space,” he said.

Overall, Paulus said construction progressed as planned, however, he said he’d be remiss to say “construction as a whole has been a challenge throughout the last few years.”

“(Construction overall has been challenging) through the COVID-19 pandemic and now with lead times and inflationary aspects of our economy,” he said. “But, (the Stevens Point Brewery) team set the stage early and said, ‘hey, we want a partner that’s going to get us to a milestone.’ They were transparent about that, clear about what that expectation was and that allowed us to manage those challenges – whether it be lead times or physically getting the work done.”

Managing those challenges and hurdles together, Paulus said, set the stage for several milestones.

“It was a team effort, and I think it started right away at the beginning of being transparent, raising the bar to say, ‘okay, how do we work through this as a team to make sure we achieve the outcome we all want?’” 

Always on the radar

Stevens Point Brewery, Wysocki said, was founded in 1857 – “which technically makes us the second oldest continuously operating brewery in the nation.”

“We’ve never had to relocate or shut down – we survived Prohibition and the Great Depression and all that,” she said.

In fact, Dane Zdroik, vice president of finance at Stevens Point Brewery, said it’s technically about a year older than the City of Stevens Point itself.

Brewery growth – in terms of popularity, product line and physical space – Wysocki said, has all been done on the brewery’s original site (2617 Water St.).

“We’ve built off of the original site (over the years),” she said. “The building itself has changed a lot over the time of expanding off of it.”

Since the mid-1880s, Zdroik said Stevens Point Brewery – which creates 45 different products – has undergone several expansions aimed at brewing capacity and equipment updates.

Wysocki said though brewery tours include samples and a beer garden was added on the property during the COVID-19 pandemic – the facility has never had an on-site tap room.

“We originally had a space that was down in our courtyard, as I call it, where all the brewing tanks – a small area where we could have our tourists go and sample our product, taste it see what they like, see what they don’t like and then purchase items and take them home to enjoy,” she said. “It works well for the tour guests, and it was cool because it was out on the floor. But then we reached capacity and needed more room for brewing tanks.”

As the brewery addressed its product capacity needs, Zdroik said, discussions regarding a tap room were also taking place.

“I’ve been with the brewery for five years, and it’s been on the radar since I started,” he said. “It’s had starts and stops, and luckily, we had to stop right before COVID because that was not good for the restaurant and bar business.”

Efforts, Zdroik said, picked back up mid-last year following the brewery’s most recent equipment updates.

“We made some improvements to our brewing equipment, and after that project was wrapped up, we decided to focus on this tap room project,” he said.

The steady increase of microbreweries in the State of Wisconsin, Zdroik said, also served as motivation for a Stevens Point Brewery tap room.

“There seems to have been a trend here in the early 2000s where there were a lot of microbreweries and smaller regional breweries popping up,” he said. “And one thing they all had in common was a tap room. That was something that, just because of how we had developed over the years, we didn’t have, but it was something we felt was missing.” 

Carrying on tradition

Stevens Point Brewery, Zdroik said, has always appreciated the history that has got it to where it is today, while also innovating for the future – which he said is true of both its products and its physical space.

“When we have tours, which are popular, we always speak to the history of the brewery, and that’s something we appreciate and embrace,” he said. 

Incorporating parts of the building’s historic past, Zdroik said, is a testament to that.

“We also added on, (adding some modern touches to the space) – that’s our innovation part,” he said. “We feel like we told our story a little bit in a microcosm through this project.”

Just as history is important to the brewery itself, Wysocki said, it’s also important to the people of the Greater Stevens Point region – further highlighting the importance of encompassing part of that shared history into the project.

“So many people come in with stories about Point beer,” she said. “It’s part of the history of a lot of the retirees in the area… because of what they used to drink back in the day and what they’re drinking now.”

Tying in pieces of the past, Wysocki said, provides those customers with an opportunity to reminisce.

“We have pictures on display (on the big screen) where people can point out and say, ‘that’s my grandpa, that’s my dad,’ – and they can keep sharing that story in that tradition,” she said.

A welcomed addition

Reaction from the Stevens Point community – from both the city itself and the greater beer coterie – Wysocki said has been consistent: “Finally.”

“They’ve been excited to check out the space,” she said. “People keep asking about it. When is it going to open? What are the hours?”

Zdroik said there has been a lot of excitement from the community for the project.

“We share the same excitement,” he said. “We’re both originally from (the area), so we’re proud members of the community, and we’re excited to show this off to the community.”

Though the brewery has the beer garden – which Wysocki said continues to be popular – the tap room will allow the brewery to welcome guests year-round.

“The beer garden showed us how many people wanted to come and hang out and enjoy our product – but it was weather dependent,” she said. “If it was too hot or cold – that threw a wrench in things.”

Wysocki said it also provides the brewery with opportunities to host more events.

“We’ve been brainstorming several other ideas for other events for people to come and enjoy,” she said. “Around here, trivia is big, (so that is an idea). And we’ve been looking into other creative event ideas as well.”

The 4,200-square-foot space houses the gift shop and the tap room, which Wysocki said is split into two different rooms.

“One side of the room can be closed off for private events,” she said. “Or if we have a busy Saturday where we have plenty of people sitting at the bar, and we still have busy tour guests, we can shuffle the tour guests to one side so they’re not crowding around everybody else.”

The tap room, Wysocki said, has a total of 36 taps – “so, almost every single product we have in season is on draft for people to try.”

“We do have refrigerated (options) as well that may not be available on draft at the time,” she said. “We also have other brands we own – which includes our Whole Hog Brews, which is our brewmaster specialty line of beers, CiderBoys Hard Cider and our Point sodas for a non-alcoholic option.”

The brewery held the official ribbon cutting for the new space May 1.

Wysocki said the gift shop and the tap room will have different hours, with the gift shop open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday.

The tap room will be open 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday. 

Strong partnerships

Paulus said the importance of partnering with a like-minded, Wisconsin-based business, like Stevens Point Brewery, is simple – “we don’t exist without our people, whether they’re Boldt employees or our community.”

“This is one of those projects that… is a commitment to ourselves and our people, but also a commitment to our communities,” he said. “Any way we can blend and mash those visions, motivations and passions, all the better.”

Zdroik said Boldt shares many of the same core values as the brewery. 

“Community means a lot to us from a brewery standpoint,” he said. “Having worked with Boldt on other projects at the brewery previously allowed us to get to know them from a business relationship standpoint, and we could tell they had the same Midwest values we have here.”

Zdroik said that served them well throughout this project.

“If we ran into an unforeseen problem, they were good at communicating, transparent and, at the end of the day, fair with the way they do business and treated us,” he said. “We hope we shared that same experience with Boldt.”

Working with and supporting other businesses – in this case Boldt – Wysocki said, is “the best way to do it.”

The elevated level of overall teamwork, Paulus said, was the standout aspect of the project for him.

“Respect for all team members – not just on the construction side but on the brewery side and community partners that had a stake in this – all getting behind an initiative that was at one point here, not too long ago, an idea to say, ‘hey, this is a need and a want,’” he said. “Seeing everybody get around that is rewarding.”

For more on Stevens Point Brewery, visit

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