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Dairyland Brew Pub reopens, celebrates new beginnings

Overcoming a variety of hurdles since originally opening in 2016, the reopening is a fresh start for the Appleton pub

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November 1, 2023

APPLETON – Dairyland Brew Pub is proudly celebrating its reopening with a revamped menu of eats and a complimentary tap brew lineup.

Recently reopening at 1216 E. Wisconsin Ave. in Appleton, Owner Dorri Schmidt said a lot has happened with the pub since originally opening in 2016. 

“The previous bar was closed for three years before I opened,” she said. “It took a long time to get established, but we did it with consistency and good food, being involved with helping the community and welcoming my customers.”

Schmidt said her hard work paid off and Dairyland Brew Pub opened in 2016, and business was going well until an unfortunate turn of events.

“In 2019, I was hit with a tornado that shut me down for six months, and then four months later in 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic hit,” she said.

Schmidt said it was a difficult time, but she’s done what she could to remain positive.

“Like every other small business, it was a struggle,” she said. “It was sad, but I pulled through.”

Business started to pick back up in 2021, but shortly after, Schmidt said she encountered yet another hurdle – this time with her health.

Needing time to recover but not wanting to close, Schmidt said she decided to sell the business instead.

“I leased the place to someone in November 2022 with their intent to purchase the business,” she said. 

Unfortunately, Schmidt said the sale fell through and abruptly shut down operations.

With the fate of the pub on the line, Schmidt said she decided to give it another go and reopen.

“I reopened but had to repurchase everything because all my inventory had been sold,” she said. “Reopening under the circumstances we had was a struggle because everyone thought we were still closed.”

Dorri Schmidt is the owner of Appleton’s Dairyland Brew Pub. Jennifer Much Photo

But Schmidt said, Dairyland Brew Pub is in fact, open for business and ready to thrive once again. 

Ready for success
Not only has Dairyland Brew Pub reopened, but Schmidt said it has added a new signature dish as well – The Chopped Cheese, a New York-inspired sandwich.

Schmidt said it comes in six different variations, which also include a spicy option.

“We put our own Wisconsin spin on it with Wisconsin cheese,” she said. “It’s our biggest attraction on the menu.”

Schmidt also said though all the pub’s food selections are flavorful, the menu has been perfected by simplicity – which includes rotating items that change weekly.

“The business, I think, is better now, since we simplified the menu and came up with a signature sandwich,” she said.

Dairyland Brew Pub also has a traditional Friday Fish Fry and 24 beers on tap, as well as a handful of seasonal brews.

“Our signature flights are a big hit with a chance to try different drinks,” Schmidt said. “What makes our flights unique is there are several choices to choose from to make your beverage adventure.”

Flights offered, Schmidt said, include Old Fashioned flights, Bloody Mary flights and themed seasonal flights.  

In addition to food, Schmidt said the pub also has live music, open mic nights, music bingo, raffles – and the Dairyland original, the Don and Dorri Show.

The pub also has Green Bay Packers game specials.

A member of the community
Throughout it all, Schmidt said she has remained dedicated to her customers and strives to help others within her community.

“(Recently), I raised 17 cases of food for Loaves and Fishes to help feed the less fortunate,” she said. “We also raised $2,700 for Compassionate Home Health Care, a nonprofit that helps with personal hygiene items and cleaning supplies for the community.”

The atmosphere at Dairyland Brew Pub, Schmidt said, is like no other, and she truly enjoys connecting with her customers – welcoming them with a smile, just like a cherished friend. 

Dairyland Brew Pub is known for its authentic Wisconsin menu selections, including the classic Friday Night Fish Fry. Submitted Photo

Even though the pub’s reopening is a fresh start, Schmidt said customers can continue to expect excellent service and a kitchen and bar that whips up creative ideas that keep them interested in coming back. 

“I feel the business still has a lot more room to grow,” she said. “I am happy with the turnout of returning customers. I did not realize the impact I had on people.”

The pub is open from 3 p.m. to midnight Tuesday-Thursday, from 11 a.m. to 2 a.m. Friday and Saturday and from 11 a.m. to midnight Sunday.

It is closed Mondays. 

For more information, check out Dairyland Brew Pub on social media.

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