Seven Acre Dairy Company reinvents former cheese factory in Paoli

Co-owner Nic Mink stands below a chandelier of vintage milk bottles while a mural behind the...
Co-owner Nic Mink stands below a chandelier of vintage milk bottles while a mural behind the welcome desk of the boutique hotel traces the history of the facility’s presence in Paoli, WI.(wmtv)
Published: Jan. 17, 2023 at 12:48 PM CST
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PAOLI, Wis. (WMTV) -A thick slice of American dairy history in Paoli is now taking reservations.

The newly reimagined, renovated 21,000-square-foot building is situated along the Sugar River and offers an eight-room boutique hotel, café, restaurant and micro-dairy.

First constructed in the late 1880′s by a cooperative of dairy farmers, the facility soon became one of the state’s largest producers of Swiss cheese, butter and processed milk. The former cheese factory now dawns the name Seven Acre Dairy Company, co-owned by Nic and Danika Mink. Every facet of the space reflects the rich Wisconsin dairy history of the property.

“For instance, we put our micro dairy plant in the place where they used to bring in the milk from the farmers, we have our dining room area on the factory floor and we were able to preserve where the old cheese vats sat,” detailed Mink.

In the seating area here of the café and restaurant, faded circles remain on the floor detailing where 400-pound wheels of Swiss cheese were made decades ago.

From the original vaulted ceilings, vintage milk bottles that adorn the chandelier hanging in the hotel lobby, to the tables, chairs, bar top and headboards made of original wood from the grounds, Seven Acre Dairy Company traces the history of the facility’s long-time presence in Paoli.

“As we started looking at purchasing this building we started hearing stories from community members, the local farmers, people who worked in this building telling these remarkable tales of what this building meant to them when they were delivering their milk here, and they were making cheese here and they were able to buy butter here,” Mink explained, going on to say the older iteration of the building was not recognizable as a former cheese factory. “So increasingly as we looked at this building, we realized we wanted to do something that not only helped to preserve it but tell their story and be able to have this incredibly well-preserved mid-20th century dairy factory here for Wisconsinites to enjoy in the next 100 years.”

The eight rooms that make up the boutique hotel are named after butter-making legends and the nature of the neighborhood. For plans moving forward, Mink says the focus will shift toward utilizing the rest of the grounds.

“It’s called Seven Acre Dairy Company because this land that we’re on is seven acres,” laughed Mink “We have almost a third of a mile of front edge on the Sugar River, we have an incredible Oak Grove that we’ve worked to preserve, so while we have plans to have the building fully open in about a month, it’ll be May and June when we finally have the landscape open.”

The boutique hotel and café opened in December, with the bar set to open this weekend. Beer served will be from Dane Co. and Green Co., with the exception of Pabst on tap. Pabst Company purchased the company at 6858 Paoli Road in 1955 and used the space to brew beer until 1980.

The Kitchen restaurant, following a farm-to-table model with locally sourced foods and produce is set to open in February.

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