Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Door County Brewing Company, a Family "Adventure".

We have just about done ourselves in.
The brewery officially opens this Sat, the 24th at 11am.
I cannot tell you the stories, the stresses, the ambulance ride and emergency surgery, the happy events, the ones that left us thinking we were done for, the brilliant ideas tossed at us out of nowhere… which all go without saying when you're starting a new business.
Last Saturday we hosted a party, or soft opening so that we could invite our neighbors, vendors, local BH businesses, distributors, builders and anyone else who has supported and helped along the way.
It was great.
Surrounded by people that love us, and that we love, we were able to make our mistakes and allowed to shine all at the same time.
I just want to leave you with these images of the evening.
There were many hands and magical touches… and you'll see the love in the pictures.

 Brewer, Manager… Husband/Make It Happen Guy.

 John is so driven to make this happen, and I am so proud of him.  Every hurdle, however insurmountable he just kept going.

And yet, we still like each other.

Growlers and Howlers.

  Blaze, one of our bartenders hard at work.

A peak at the brewing system. 

Did I tell you how proud I am of my husband?  

A quick shot through the retail.

I cannot tell you how fun that chalkboard is.  Alicia Daubner is doing all of our marketing.  While she lives in the big city a few hours south of here, she grew up here.  Talk of the aliens, being lead to China, lawyers and chubs… and Doc Wahl.  Just ask.

 The band!  No Name String Band from Madison.  No pa system needed.  However, after a couple of hours they moved around the room and sudden outbursts of jigs ensued.

I would say we had about 250 people.  Nistebox served up some fabulous food. 
All of these wonderful pictures were taken by Chris Eichenseer.

More details and stories soon...

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Sweet Annie, an Ephraim Wedding

Quite a few years ago, we were graced with the presence of Annie.
Still in college and spending summers in her family's seasonal cottage, like all the summer residents, wanting a summer job.
I knew her Mom and other assorted relatives from being customers in my shop.  When we met it was during the hay day for retail in the county.  I prided myself on the varieties of bedding we carried in the shop… vast swatches of fabrics for custom bedding, quilts, comforters, european shams antique and new… you name it, and several of Annie's relatives have these cozy linens in their homes.

It was this particular year that we hired Annie to work part time at the shop.
From the minute I met her I was intrigued.  Confident.  Well mannered (well taught).  Graceful.  Articulate.  I couldn't help but think there was nary a situation this girl couldn't handle.  Kind and thoughtful.
This was also the year we experimented with our "Low Tea".  Which was another glorious, chaotic, laughable yet dreamy time in the shop.
(Carol and I introduced Annie to making sandwiches on the ironing board when all else fails.)

One summer.  Only one.
We stay in touch.  She graduates.  Gets a job at the Art Institute of Chicago as an event planner.
Starts taking photos of her own.  Sidelines as a wedding photographer.  Studies photography and the use of film versus digital.  Gains respect as a photographer and thrills clients.
Meets a boy.

In the meantime our lives separate, but I am lucky enough to connect with her on face book and a quick stop in the shop during her busy summer visits.

Then it happened.
"I'm getting married, could you help with the wedding?".

Here is where I want to share an interesting insider view of "summer people".
Annie comes from several generations of Ephraim summer people.
They own very old cabins and cottages throughout Ephraim.
None particularly large, or fancy… or updated.  No air conditioning, and certainly not winterized.
However, they are well lived cottages.  Well lived and solid.

The handful of times I visited Annie's mom, Debby… she would ask me "what can we do with this place?!?  I need your help.  It's so dated."  And yet standing there, I could never  come up with a thing.  Authentic living.  They keep it in working order and comfortable… and keep that very deep Door County summer feeling alive.
We have this friendly tossed about phrase concerning Ephraim summer people, "Oh, she's EYC or he's EYC".

Ephraim Yacht Club.
(I have to admit stealing this early photo from Annie concerning a cherished relative)
Oh, it's grand all right. 
About the size of a large living room.
They teach the young set how to sail.  
Many a summer morning before work I have parked myself at the Ephraim beach and watched the boats go out.  Little bursts of white sails highlighting Eagle Harbor.  Precious summer memories for those who participate and for those of us who live here appreciating the history that continues due to these "summer people".

Back to the wedding…
after many discussions I knew that they only needed props from me. 
Debby is an fabulous event planner on her own, and we landed on the idea of renting tables and the bar from me.  I would show up the day before to help out where I could.
My dad, who built all the tables from the wishes of an earlier very creative bride, and I packed the trailer and we were off to the Ephraim homestead.

To be continued...


Friday, January 17, 2014

Everything Just Got Real.

First of all, Viva's Vintage Market is inked in for Sat. July 12th in Baileys Harbor!

I've been a bit shy talking about this because it's really about my husband and sons.  Over the course of almost two years things have churned and shifted, evolved, shed, gained, lost, hit highs and have bottomed out.  While I've been around to offer opinions, run an errand here and there, I've pretty much stayed out of it.
Until now.

A couple of years ago a serious conversation started about starting a craft brewery… a conversation between my husband and a couple of good friends.  We knew that our son, Danny had been home brewing for quite a while and was making some very tasty beer.

Fast forward, the two good friends have their lives fill up with other new ventures, Danny gets educated at Siebel Inst. of Technology (America's oldest brewing school) and we buy an old grocery store solely dedicated to brewing, which has evolved even further.

Today it's official.  We are turning the old grocery store in Baileys Harbor into a tap and tasting room.
Some of you may have had our beer, because it's making the rounds through the state…
Polka King Porter
Little Sister
Goat Parade…
all by Door County Brewing Company.
Yep, that's us.

I'm going to keep a journal right here on the progress of the remodeling… so here we go, warts and all.

Even here we were thrilled just to have cleaned the place out.  See the white beams going from the floor to the ceiling?
They revealed quite the surprise. Our friend Kerry, my dad, Dan, Danny, and John.

Do you see those beams?!?!  They go from the basement up!  I believe there are nine of them.

More beams...

A mock up of the bar!  We are incredibly lucky to have Rick and John (pics to come) working on the remodel.  Not only stellar builders, creativity to boot!

The basement is actually my favorite spot, however it's where the brewing equipment will be stored.  The new stair case will lead right up into the bar area.

While the entire place is almost gutted, the kitchen area remains.  I got a kick out of the cole slaw recipe taped onto the  paper hand towel container right over the sink.

Recognize it now?  Yep, it's a beast and not a pretty one.  However, we're putting our hearts into it and have been lucky enough to fine the right people to help get it done.  This building was originally a barn, then a feed mill.  We're getting lots of stories from people who worked and played here!
Old doors in the basement.  This old barn door was turned into a workbench in the basement.  You know this makes me happy!

Another door… remember, this is "before".

…. and one more.

This kind of stuff excites me!  The beams in the basement still have bark on them!

When we took down the ugly paper ceiling tiles, this is what we found.

You cannot believe the snow… and not a bad view either.

A quick snowy look down the street.

Look at the top picture, and look at this after the gutting!

If you were a long time customer, you might remember Ben on the left  and Danny on the right (oldest) back in the day when they would help me at the register.
Danny is our brewer and Ben is our sales and tap room manager.  Ben will be greeting and serving you!

The goal is to be open by Mem'l Day Weekend.  You'll be able to come in and sample several beers or enjoy a pint or two of your favorite.  While you will be able to sample and purchase our regular beers, the exciting part to us is that only in the tap room will you be able to taste our one of a kind specialty beers!  That's Danny's true passion.  To make really good craft beer, and to introduce you to some really creative and delicious brews… only in Baileys Harbor!

Okay…. all of the above is something that in my entire life I never thought I'd be writing, saying or thinking!

I'll also be in the tap room a few days a week… someone has to display!