Door County Brewing brings northern Wisconsin to Minnesota

Door County Brewing

Every summer, people from across the Midwest flock to Door County, Wisc., the finger-like peninsula extending north of Green Bay, to escape the city and take in beautiful views of Lake Michigan. Starting this April, Minnesotans can get a taste of the iconic tourist destination in the form of kegs and six-packs of craft beer.

On March 31st, Door County Brewing Co-founder John McMahon and his sons Danny and Ben crossed the border to tap their first kegs in Minnesota at New Bohemia in Golden Valley for a receptive group of beer drinkers. In just 30 minutes, the crowd went through four 1/6 barrels of Door County beer, said Head Brewer Danny McMahon. It was an exciting start to the brewery’s first launch outside of the Badger State.

“The Twin Cities is a great craft beer market,” stated Danny McMahon in a press release. “They’ve got plenty of great local breweries making great beer, so people know what good beer should be.” He became familiar with the Twin Cities beer scene from when he studied at Hamline University in St. Paul—just one of the reasons the brewery decided to launch in Minnesota.

“I’ve got a lot of friends that have been interested in our beer that haven’t really been able to get our beer yet,” McMahon said. “I’m excited and happy that they’ll be able to get our beer now without having to make the trip all the way to Door County.”

Door County Brewing Company started just two years ago, but it’s beers are already a familiar sight in craft beer bars, restaurants, and liquor stores across Wisconsin. 

The company opened the doors to their 7-barrel brewery and taproom in Bailey’s Harbor in 2014, after getting their start contract brewing out of Sand Creek in Black River Falls. While Bailey’s Harbor is one of the quieter villages in Door County, even during the peak months of the tourist season, you wouldn’t know it visiting the taproom.

“May through the end of October, the taproom—seven-days-a-week—is wall to wall people. It’s not something that Door County has ever had before, so it is a destination for people in Door County,” said McMahon.

The growth of the brewery and the positive response they’ve had in their first two years has far exceeded their expectations.

“We always assumed we’d be successful, but I don’t think we quite anticipated that we’d be where we are this quickly,” said McMahon.

Looking back, he attributes the brewery’s success to more than just the beer. “I think our beer’s solid, and that obviously helps,” he explained, “and [Door County]’s such a destination in the Midwest, that a lot of people have really solid, happy memories of vacationing there. So I think having the name ‘Door County’ and having the quality product out of there really has helped us.”

Launching in new markets means expansion for the Bailey’s Harbor brewery. The McMahons are working on building a 30-barrel production brewery inside a 25,000 square foot warehouse in Bailey’s Harbor to supplement the 7-barrel brewing system, which will be used for experimenting with new recipes in the taproom.

Here in Minnesota, look for the brewery’s popular Polka King Porter, Little Sister Witbier, Pastoral Farmhouse Ale, Biere de Seigle and Silurian Stout at retailer near you starting this month. In addition to these five beers, Door County Brewing announced that their newest addition, Bare Bottom Madness Pale Ale, will be available starting May 5 at Minnesota retailers.

For more information, visit Door County Brewing, 2434 Co Rd F, Baileys Harbor, WI

About Brian Kaufenberg

Brian Kaufenberg is the editor-in-chief of The Growler Magazine.

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