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From a homebrew kit to a 40,000 square-foot facility

A Sheboygan brewery offers more than 50 unique beers and seltzers

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November 2, 2022

SHEBOYGAN – Chaos Pattern, Fresh Coast, Rebel Kent, Armchair Quarterback and Bon Bo not many would consider those traditional beer names, but 3 Sheeps Brewing Company founder/brewmaster Grant Pauly said the brewery in Sheboygan aims to be unique.

“We’re all trying to aim for that shelf space, have the best beer and best packaging available,” he said. “We want to connect with our customers who have helped us grow – we want to be there for them.”

Pauly said a few years after he started making beer on his own using a homebrew kit, he decided to turn his hobby/passion into a full-time business – and in 2012, 3 Sheeps Brewing was born.

A decade later, 3 Sheeps Brewing is thriving – something Pauly said isn’t by accident.

“The brewery business is fierce, but we all appreciate where we came from,” he said. “Knowing how tough it is, you have to work hard. When we started 3 Sheeps 10 years ago, we were brewery No. 68 in the state. Now, there are more than 300.”

Pauly said the uptick seen in the number of breweries in Wisconsin is similar to what’s happening in other areas of the country as well.

“The number of breweries in the country has doubled or tripled,” he said. “Before, it was an industry that was looked at as artisanal, but now people realize it’s a big business. People love craft beer, but unfortunately, those grocery store shelf spaces didn’t automatically grow with it – we have to earn it, which I think we are doing.”
How it started
Pauly said 3 Sheeps began with a classic story.

“My wife – girlfriend at the time – gave me a homebrew kit, and I was home brewing for about six years before I started the brewery,” he said. “I liked doing that a lot – my first ale was a brown ale, and fortunately, it didn’t taste terrible, so I made another batch.”

From there, Pauly said his passion grew.

“I liked trying to make the same beer on a homebrew scale – which is difficult without the right equipment,” he said. “That got me excited for more. At the time, I was running my family’s concrete plant in Kiel – I did that for about five years. Doing that gave me a good lesson in manufacturing, sales and cash-flow operations, which I’ve carried to 3 Sheeps.”

Though Pauly said it was fun and a good experience for him to work in the family’s concrete business, he knew it wasn’t something he wanted to do forever.

Grant Pauly, founder of 3 Sheeps Brewing Company, said he’s always had a passion for brewing beer. 3 Sheeps Brewing Company Photo

“I got the courage to tell my dad I wanted to do something else,” he said. “He didn’t want to get back into the driver’s seat, so I helped him sell it, so he was in the clear. Still, I didn’t know what I wanted to do at that point. The thought of starting a brewery almost seemed too selfish to vocalize to my wife, but she was the one who gave me the nudge to investigate it further.”

Around that time, Pauly said a brewpub in Sheboygan went out of business.

“You’ve heard the phrase, ‘It’s better to be lucky than good,’” he said. “We brokered a deal with the building owners to buy the equipment and pay rent. We had a good local bank that helped us with the loan. Before I knew it, we owned a brewery and were making 300-gallon batches.”
Expanding operations
Needing more space for its operation and vision, 3 Sheeps moved into its current location at 1837 N. Ave. in Sheboygan in 2017.

“That was a big move for us,” Pauly said. “It allowed us to bring in more, high-quality equipment – it was a game-changer. It was also the first time we had a taproom. In our previous location, we were just tenants in a building that had a bar that was owned by someone else. They poured many of our beers on tap, but we didn’t have our own space to connect directly with our customers to get their feedback – the good, the bad and the ugly – on our new brews.”

Pauly said another great aspect of the brewery is it brings more people to Sheboygan.

“They go elsewhere and maybe grab lunch as well – it’s good for the community,” he said.

Pauly said the new location also changed things financially.

“We were running on a shoestring budget in the old place and trying to make sure we weren’t making terrible life choices,” he said. “After year four at the old place, we knew it was time to go for it. Again, we worked with investors to take over an old Coca-Cola facility. It gave us a great taproom, great production space, allowed us to bring in new equipment and start phase two of 3 Sheeps.”

Pauly said they oversized things, so there is room for more expansion if needed.
Pauly said breweries are heavily regulated by the government – to make sure they are safe and hygienic.

“Rightly so, there are a ton of federal and state regulations – we are making alcohol,” he said. “Those breweries before Prohibition were naughty. They dictate many of the rules we have now.”

Pauly said the regulators make sure the beer is safe and the labels are appropriate.

“We have good relationships with all the people we work with,” he said.
Different beers
Pauly said 3 Sheeps’ most popular beer is “Fresh Coast,” which he describes as a juicy pale ale with a 4.2% ABV (alcohol by volume) level.

“It has a lower ABV, so you can drink a few without getting into trouble,” he laughed. “It’s been our best-selling beer for about two years. It has a juicy tropical flavor.”

// start to finish, Grant Pauly said it takes two to four weeks for 3 Sheeps Brewing Company to brew a beer. 3 Sheeps Brewing Company Photo

Pauly said the No. 2 best-seller – Chaos Pattern – could take over the top spot soon.

“Chaos Pattern is a hazy IPA (Indian pale ale) with a 6.5% ABV,” he said. “IPAs are the No. 1 category in craft beer, and it’s been an instant hit. We introduced it in March 2021.”

Pauly said the amount of time it takes to make a beer varies.

“Most of our year-round beers take about two to four weeks, start to finish,” he said. “It depends on the ingredients used – the type of yeast, malt and if it’s been heavily hopped in the tank.”
Branching more into barrel aging
3 Sheeps recently released a new brew – Ba Barleywine, and yes, the pun isn’t lost on Pauly.

“Our new location afforded us the opportunity to barrel age some brews,” he said. “We started barrel-aging about eight years ago but didn’t have much space in our old location. We aged this new brew in bourbon barrels.”

Pauly said 3 Sheeps has gotten a lot of great barrels, and they’re almost always fresh.

“Oftentimes, the barrels we get were just dumped (of their contents) in the last three or four days,” he said. “Because we get them fresh, the wood hasn’t dried out and they still have a lot of good flavors to them. It’s helped our barrel program grow – it gives us one more thing to offer to our customers.”

Pauly said most of the barrels come from Kentucky.

“They’ve held bourbon, rye whiskey, red wine, white wine, scotch, tequila, rum, brandy – we love bringing them all in,” he said. “Bourbon seems to be the favorite barrel we use for barrel-aged beers, but we’ve done some fun barrels, too, like tabasco – that was a fun beer. There’s not a barrel we wouldn’t try, at least once. If it doesn’t work out, we may have to dump it, but you never know until you try.”

Pauly said most of the barrel-aged beers stay in the barrels for at least a year, but some go longer.

“We have a release coming up Black Friday that’s been in barrels for about three years,” he said.

To see the full list of beers and seltzers or learn more about 3 Sheeps, visit

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