EGG HARBOR - Door County is becoming a destination for craft beer, so much so that even Madison breweries are trying to get in on the act. One Barrel Brewing has set its sights on opening there next spring. One Barrel owner Peter Gentry recently purchased a 4,000-square-foot building at 4633 Market St. in Egg Harbor. He’ll try to replicate the concept of a one-barrel brewhouse and cozy pub atmosphere from his Atwood neighborhood nanobrewery.
The Egg Harbor location will cater to tourists. The region has become a growing market for locally made craft beer. Door County Brewing in Baileys Harbor has expanded, even creating a second brand, Hacienda Beer Co. The beloved Shipwreck Brewpub in Egg Harbor has been restored following a devastating fire. Starboard Brewing Company in Sturgeon Bay has been operating since 2014. The county is also home to several wineries, two distilleries and an artisanal cidery.
“It’s a very crafty market,” says Gentry. “People are looking for Wisconsin products.”
The original One Barrel at 2001 Atwood Ave. opened in 2012. As demand for the nanobrewery’s product grew, Gentry turned to Madison’s House of Brews for help brewing before becoming a client of Octopi Brewing in Waunakee for bottle releases.
Gentry explored a number of locations for expansion, including Madison’s west side, Milwaukee and the Fox Valley. However, nothing seemed to work until he discovered the Egg Harbor building while he and his wife were attending a nearby beer festival. He closed on the building in September; renovations started about two weeks ago. Gentry recently moved full time to Sturgeon Bay to oversee the project.
The building will undergo a complete makeover to a Cape Cod-style look with wooden shingles. The inside decor will be similar to the pub feel of the Atwood location. However, a big difference will be Door County’s outdoor beer garden and patio seating for more than 200 patrons. “We want to highlight the vacation atmosphere, especially the summertime vibe of Door County with its coastal feel,” says Gentry. The on-site kitchen will be operated by the Sister Bay- and Fish Creek-based Wild Tomato pizzeria.
The Egg Harbor One Barrel will have its own one-barrel brewing system. Gentry plans to hire a brewmaster for that location and keep a rotating series of small-batch brews on tap. “As with Atwood, we’ll stress in-house brewing. The goal is to have eight beers, out of 16 taps, that are unique to Door County,” says Gentry. Until the Egg Harbor brewing system is up and running, Gentry will bring specialty brews up from Madison.
Gentry estimates that overall production in Egg Harbor will be similar to Madison’s, at around 150 barrels a year. With contract bottling by Octopi, One Barrel Brewing’s total barrelage is currently around 5,000 barrels a year, but after the second location extends visibility for the brand, overall production should grow.