Microbrewery opens in Elkhart Lake

Elkhart Lake has almost everything a resident or visitor could desire; great quality of life, pristine waters, quality restaurants, and a world-class motorsport facility. One thing lacking has been a local microbrewery. That gap has been filled, and you can now “bellyup” to SwitchGear’s new taproom, located at 44 Gottfried Street in Elkhart Lake, just a “hop” away from Off The Rail Cafe.

SwitchGear Brewing was conceived over the past several years by a group of friends and co-workers at Masters Gallery Foods. The highly-skilled and passionate ownership team consists of Nick Kullmann, with primary expertise in brewing, Ryan Feldmann, with primary talent in 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 is located within the Feedmill Shops at Elkhart Lake and, suitable to the SwitchGear name, strategically located at the start-finish line for the old Elkhart Lake racing course. The brewery features a new three-barrel system designed to accommodate future growth plans that may include wholesale distribution.

The brewery’s focus is on creating quality beers to 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 also make a point of respecting the grandeur of our local area with names such as Kettle Cream Ale and Resorter Red Ale.”

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


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