The long-awaited Appleton Beer Factory microbrewery/brewpub continues to chug through its slow renovation process.
While it likely won’t be ready for Octoberfest, it isn’t far from opening, perhaps within weeks. Festival-goers can peek in its windows to see progress.
“We will open very soon because we absolutely have to from a cash flow basis,” said Jeff Fogle, president and founder. “We’ve been working seven days a week.”
As of this week, he was still driving a 3 1/2-hour round trip to pick up a crew of Amish woodworkers. They’d finished a maple coffered ceiling and reclaimed wood tables, and were working on doors.
“We call them the A-Team,” said Fogle. “They’re great guys.”
The Appleton Beer Factory was first announced during Octoberfest 2010. At the time, investors had just purchased the former Schreiter’s Auto Parts building at 603 W. College Avenue and called it Das Brewery, a name they later discovered couldn’t be trademarked.
Since then, Fogle and investors have done a lot of the work themselves to gut and rebuild the place. They had to get more financing for the $900,000 project. Electrical and kitchen plumbing are still being completed, then they can apply for occupancy permits.
When the building opens, it will have a front pub room, a side party room and a back beer hall with a view of the brewing operation, which is already functioning.
The building still has a vintage quality with some original brick, block and even footprints from flooring installers from 1940. “We don’t want it too nice,” said Fogle. The original boiler’s coal chute and fire doors were preserved and reinstalled to add character to the pub room.
Fogle’s son Ben is part of the crew brewing American pale ale, blonde, oatmeal stout and Hefeweizen for the opening. Fogle’s wife Leah is head chef creating a menu of “beer-centric comfort food with an upscale twist. They’re classic comfort foods made with beer, or they go well with beer.”
— Maureen Wallenfang: 920-993-1000, ext. 287, or email@example.com; on Twitter @wallenfang