Beer and cheese are still local strengths

BEER AND CHEESE HAVE a long and proud history in Sheboygan County. Call it a combination of our strong German heritage and long dairy tradition, but we in Sheboygan County have always enjoyed our beer and cheese, in all their varieties and copiously.

Now, those traditions are being carried on and recognized locally.

The local micro-brewery trend that is being seen across the country has also flourished here in Sheboygan County.

For several years now, Plymouth Brewing Co. has been turning out hand-crafted brews right here on Mill Street, paying homage to local landmarks and flavors in an ever-changing variety of beers.

They have been so successful, in fact, that they are in the process of branching out from just a storefront facility into a full-fledged brewery located just across Mill Street.

Plymouth Brewing Co. products have been on tap in many local eateries and taverns all along, and featured at many local festivals and events, but with their ongoing expansion they will eventually be available in retail stores.

The city of Sheboygan already boasts several fine micro-breweries and by sometime next year, the village of Elkhart Lake will join the list.

Three partners are joining together to open SwitchGear Brewing in Feedmill Shops building in the heart of the village, with a little financial help from the village’s revolving loan fund and strategic development help from the Sheboygan County Economic Development Corp.

The new brewery will be located, fittingly, at the original start-finish line for the original Road America road racing course from the mid-1950s.

It is sure to be a welcome addition to the village and ought to draw plenty of business from both locals and visitors to the resort village.

Sheboygan County will never rival Wisconsin’s original beer city, Milwaukee, in its heyday for beer production, but the number of fine local micro-breweries do and should continue to bring fame and business.

Meanwhile, work has begun on the conversion of a vacant building at 133 E. Mill St. into the Plymouth Cheese Capital of the World center.

The initial work – a partnership between the Plymouth Redevelopment Authority and the SCEDC – will create two apartments on the top floor of the building, but the best is yet to come, and not too far off.

The ground floor and basement of the building will have a cheesethemed retail store and heritage center paying homage to the past, present, and future of cheese production and converting. Plans include cheese-related displays and hands-on activities for all ages, a retail space offering the best of local cheese products for sale and even a lunch counter offering traditional and exotic grilled cheeses and other fare.

When completed, it will be a long-overdue tribute to the history, legacy and vibrancy of the cheese industry that built Plymouth.

That’s something we can all look forward to and salute – with a frosty mug of local beer and a wedge of local cheese.

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