Microbrewery planned for ex-feed mill site in Elkhart

Early next year Elkhart Lake will get its own microbrewery.

SwitchGear Brewing was conceived over the past several years by a group of friends and coworkers at Masters Gallery Foods in Plymouth. The team consists of Nick Kullmann, head brewmaster, Ryan Feldmann, assistant brewmaster and sales, and Mark Grasse, with primary experience in operations. All three will continue in their roles at Masters Gallery.

“The name SwitchGear carries a number of origins for our team, including motor vehicle enthusiasts,” noted Grasse, “but more than everything it points to our mutual passion for brewing.”

The brewery will be located within the Feedmill Shops at Elkhart Lake and, true to the SwitchGear name, strategically located at the start-finish line for the old racing course. The brewery will feature a new three-barrel system designed to accommodate future growth plans that may include wholesale distribution.

The brewery will focus on creating quality beers that excite a wide range of enthusiasts. “We will certainly please a broad-based group of customers with Bourbon Barrel Stouts, Red Ales, Various IPA’s, Nut Browns, Smash Pale Ales, just to name a few,” noted brewmaster Kullmann.

“Our brands will also make a point of respecting the grandeur of our local area with names such as Kettle Cream Ale and Resorter Red Ale.”

Work on the brewery will begin this winter, with opening planned in the spring of 2017. Noted Feldmann, “once our federal brewing license is approved we can begin producing our quality beers.”

Financing for the business will be provided by Commerce State Bank. Real estate site alternatives, business plan development, and financial strategy strategies were facilitated through the Sheboygan County Economic Development Corporation (SCEDC) in collaboration with Small Business Development Center (SBDC) at UW-Green Bay. The project will also include loan funding from the Village of Elkhart Lake’s revolving loan fund.

“The Village was very supportive to the project,” noted SCEDC’s Business Development Specialist Jim Schuessler. “The community takes a very positive approach to closing retail gaps which in turn enhances an overall good quality of life.”

To schedule an appointment with the SBDC or to find out what SCEDC’s entrepreneurial services team can do to assist business development contact Jim Schuessler, SCEDC Business Development Specialist at (920) 452-2350.

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