After nearly seven decades, beer brewing has returned to Merrill, thanks to the ownership of the Sawmill Brewing Company.
Wednesday afternoon, members of the Merrill Area Chamber of Commerce joined Sawmill Brewing Company staff and owner Stan Janowiak, for an official ribbon cutting of the Sawmill’s latest endeavor; bringing their own recipes for hometown brews to the local community.
According to Janowiak , thanks to the expertise of brewers Richard and Anders Irland from the New Glarus area, the Sawmill’s first batch of in-house brew was ready in mid-September, following a lengthy federal certification process.
“The application process at the federal level took us about nine months and we were able to finish up work with the state pretty soon after that,” he explains.
Currently the Sawmill serves 16 brews, six of which will now be brewed ‘at home’.
The remaining four are brewed right here in Wisconsin.
Included on the hometown brew list are the ‘Boom Decker Becker’, Wisconsin River Brown Ale, ‘For Better For Worse’ and ‘River-Hog Oatmeal stout’.
While the Sawmill has already begun to distribute their brews in keg-form to local establishments, Janowiak indicates bottling and distribution to local retailers isn’t in the short-term forecast, but is possible in the future.
In terms of the actual brewing, Janowiak indicates he is more than happy to continue with the Irland’s brewing expertise at the Sawmill Brewhaus.
“Richard and Anders come up about once a week as a rule of thumb, but the beer doesn’t always cooperate. Sometimes the brew just isn’t ready to move on to the next stage and it’s a process that can’t be rushed. There is a learning curve to the process, which I am still learning, but I have no intention to fully take over the brewing. “Richard and Anders are great at what they do. But I would like to be familiar enough with the process to step in, in the event something were to happen where they can’t make it in, such as a snow storm and so on.
“I’m about halfway there on a steep learning curve.” he adds with a chuckle.
The Sawmill Brewing Company is located at 1110 E. Tenth Street and can be reached at (715) 722-0230. Business hours are Monday-Thursday 3:30PM-9PM, Friday and Saturday 2 PM-11PM and Sunday 2PM-9PM