Your Town Stevens Point: Brewing success for 165 years
STEVENS POINT, Wis. (WSAW) - For 165 years the Stevens Point Brewery has been brewing beer and serving customers in ‘Your Town Stevens Point’. Its rich history predates the city itself but it’s the future that’s really generating a lot of buzz.
Two German immigrants, Frank Wahle and Geroge Ruder established the Stevens Point Brewery in 1857.
“The brewery was founded one year before the city of Stevens Point was founded. So if you build the brewery, the people will come and you’ll have a city,” explained Director of Marketing, Julie Birrenkott.
The brewery provided beer to the troops during the Civil War and produced near-beer products and soda during prohibition. In the 1930′s, Wisconsin was home to more than 80 breweries but they were struck hard by the Great Depression. However, the Stevens Point Brewery continued to thrive, first canning and then bottling beer.
In 1990, the brewery began selling Point Special Lager outside of Wisconsin. Today, Point products can be found all across the United States. The brewery’s continued production has made it the third oldest, continuously operating brewery in America. “We can’t keep up and the demand is across the country. And the distribution we have is from Washington State to Washington D.C.,” said Birrenkott.
In order to fill a growing need, the current owners of the Stevens Point Brewery have spent more than $12M on equipment and renovations. “On the packaging end we’ve undergone a very extensive repacking remodel, as far as equipment to increase productivity by 40 percent,” explained Brewmaster Mike Schraufnagel.
About 50 employees work together to brew, ferment, keg, bottle, can, package, and distribute the best beer possible. In one year the brewery can produce more than 2M cases every year. “I like to come to work every day because I’m involved in the process of creating something that can be associated with making people happy and celebrations and things like that,” said Schraufnagel.
This year, the public is invited to learn about the brewery and drink their favorite beverage in the new Stevens Point Beer Garden. Sometime in the near future, they plan to release new styles and flavors of soda. “We’re looking at refreshing a new brand. We’re going to introduce a few new styles this fall with Whole Hog and The Point brand. Also, Cider Boys and looking into adding a new flavor to our soda line,” said Schraufnagel.
If you’d like to learn more about the brewery’s history or try some sampling, the gift shop offers guided tours seven days a week. Click here for tour details.
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