Audrey KorteChippewa Herald
BLOOMER – Bloomer Brewing Company is owned and operated by Michelle Stolt and her husband, Ryan. The two moved to Wisconsin from Texas to attempt to run the brewery, taking over the business from Ryan’s parents.
Dave and Cindy Stolt, Ryan’s parents, had rented space in the old Bloomer brewery and decided to sell it. When they told Michelle and Ryan about their plan, Ryan said he wanted to try running the place.
“They were just getting to the age where he either had to grow up or they were going to sell him,” Michelle said.
Michelle and Ryan thought they could expand the business.
“We lived in Texas and had just built our brand new house,” Michelle said. “Within nine months of building and moving into our brand new home, we packed our bags and moved to Wisconsin.”
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After spending about a year running the brewing company in the small leased brewing space across town, they purchased the building where Bloomer Brewing Company currently resides and moved to the new location on Ninth Avenue. They moved all the brewing and packaging equipment to the new facility.
Transitioning to the new building and moving equipment was a lot of work.
“It was big. You don’t think about the size of that equipment until you try to move it. So it was an effort,” she said.
But they had reason to hope that the new space would be worth it.
“Business was doing great in the other location, even though it was hidden away,” Michelle said. “We renovated this place. It was beautiful. We were so happy and excited to come in and get started.
They had their grand opening in February 2020.
Then COVID hit. The month after they opened, they and most of the other restaurants and brasseries in the country closed their doors.
“I remember St. Patrick’s Day was when they said everyone had to be closed at five,” she said. “We had all this food…we had a huge St. Patrick’s Day party planned. They closed the school early and everyone was super nice – all the teachers and everyone, it was like, in town came that night.
Michelle said they made the best of a bad situation, cooking all the pizza they had on hand and feeding everyone who came through the door.
“People were drinking, drinking, drinking, and then we closed at five. So it was a bit lame to see our dream come to an end, with the unknown.
No one knew how long or boring the pandemic would be or what the economy had in store. Many companies did not survive this period.
“But we got there. We made it,” Michelle said. “The community was a huge asset to us. They came knocking on the door. »
Michelle said they survived thanks to their creativity and dedication.
“We did beer rounds. We brought beer and put it on the porch, then they left money on the patio. We’ve done a lot of that. We did growler refills – we opened every Friday so people could come and fill their growlers or buy a case,” she said. “Anything to help keep the lights on so we didn’t waste the beer we had.”
Now the business is open, with an additional huge patio for al fresco dining and drinking.
Bloomer Brewing Company is a small but impressive company. The interior is spacious and comfortable. The exterior is fun and perfect for social distancing. There are game nights, arcade machines, and plenty of seating. And all the beer is brewed on sight.
Ryan Stolt designs all of the beer labels himself. The extended family intervenes to ensure the functioning and the staff of the place.
This week, Bloomer Brewing Company is starting to offer a food menu. The hope is that people will go out and eat and drink delicious freshly brewed beer.
“We’re going to try to attract some of that crowd of people who are going to come and eat and enjoy staying here a little while,” she said.
More than anything, Michelle said she hopes people make the trip to see them and Bloomer’s many other small businesses.
“It’s a fun place, so if you don’t have anywhere to go, come and stay here,” she said. “Bloomer as a community has a lot to offer.”