Brewing happiness for 161 years


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By RACHEL PLACEWAY

The Mirror reporter

Ever since 1857, the Stevens Point Brewery has been a big part of the community scene in the Portage County area.

“The brewery is historical. It has a great history with the community…. They support us and we support them,” said brewmaster Mike Schraufnagel.

The historical Point Brewery was built in Stevens Point due to the convenient location alongside the Wisconsin River. However, the brewery continues to thrive because of the tremendous support from the community.

“We’ve been around for a long time and what we really strive to do is to make people in our area happy. That is the end game right there, to make people in your area the happiest which is the key in order to run the best business,” Schraufnagel said.

Every year the brewery celebrates the strong community connection with family events that are open to the public.

During the first Saturday of March, the community and the Point Brewery work together to set up a great community event. The Point Bock Run is a five-mile out-and-back road race along the Wisconsin River. All ages are welcome to participate, but the event is limited to 2,000 runners. To register for this year’s run go to pointbockrun.com.

Another big event the brewery puts on is Point Oktoberfest. Attracting many visitors from all over the state, Point Oktoberfest is always the second Saturday in September. This last year people could choose from more than 20 Point Craft Beers and Ciderboys Hard Ciders all while socializing with others and enjoying the live music.

“What we do for the Bock run and Point Oktoberfest aren’t really money makers but more of a community celebration,” Schraufnagel said.

Even though the Point Brewery is solely located in Stevens Point that has no impact on the quality or the recognition their products receive.

The brewery distributes their beers and ciders to 38 states within the U.S. In addition to dispensing their products to multiple states, approximately two-thirds of the restaurants in the Stevens Point area sell Point Brewery products.

In 2003, Point Special Lager won the gold medal at the Great American Beer Festival over Miller Genuine Draft and Budweiser, receiving national recognition.

The national recognition, as well as tours and word of mouth, have been great advertisement for the brewery.

“We advertise on TV, we give a lot of tours, and word of mouth is a great way to do that, but in our case, it’s a legacy brew. The area has really taken to us and we have very faithful Point Beer drinkers,” Schraufnagel said.

During the summer, their busy season, there are five tours that take place daily. The walking tour includes the history of the brewery, a trip around the brewing, aging, packaging, and warehouse facilities, and a tasting session. The tasting session allows the visitors to sample specialty beers, sodas, and ciders.

The entire tour lasts about an hour and requires a reservation. For more information on tours visit pointbeer.com/about/tours.

Over the years, the brewery has expanded by adding more brewing equipment and a larger warehouse instead of building a new brewery in another city.

“To me, it’s more important that if you’re going to expand you expand in one spot by just increasing the volume and use the people you have that already have the expertise instead of venturing out into a different market,” Schraufnagel said.

Operating a successful brewery takes a lot of hard work from multiple positions. The brewery runs 24/7 except on weekends and requires three working shifts. Every week there are 10 brewers, six salesmen, seven finance and human resource workers, and 16 bottle shop workers who work in unison to help the brewery run smoothly.

“My favorite part of the brewery is being a part of the brewery community. If I ever need anything I can ask another brewery and they will provide it, and on the same hand I would do the same,” Schraufnagel said.