It’s been almost exactly one year since the groundbreaking ceremony for the Vintage Brewing Company’s new brewery, restaurant and banquet facility in Sauk City and Trent Kraemer, one of the project’s six partners, can finally see the light at the end of the tunnel.
“It’s getting close,” Kraemer said. “Things are going really good and so far it’s been a very typical build out for us.”
Kraemer said although a few challenges have slowed the progress of the building’s exterior, the interior of the facility is ready for custom touches.
“This is go time,” Kraemer said. “We design-build a lot of stuff. It’s a stressful time but it’s also fun because we get to see what the place looks like with paint on the walls and the tile work getting done.”
Although originally anticipated to be open this fall, Kraemer said the schedule set around groundbreaking is a placeholder.
“When you have Wisconsin weather, that’s not always going to be the case,” he said. The timeline for opening has changed to about the first of the year.
Kraemer said some of the setbacks were self-inflicted, realizing certain things needed to change along the way. For example, a southerly-facing patio and putting a tent over the planned beer garden.
“In June we realized we had a wood deck that was south facing and that it was going to get really hot,” Kraemer said. “We could have gone with umbrellas at the tables; we have them at our other locations. But we really wanted this place to be a showpiece for the community.”
The facility will include about 10,000 square feet of restaurant, bar and banquet space and 7,000 square feet for rooftop and outdoor mezzanine space overlooking the Wisconsin River. The brewery in the facility’s lower level will produce about five times the capacity of the company’s current flagship brewpub at 674 S. Whitney Way. Vintage, which operates a downtown Madison bar and a west side brewpub, opened a “satellite pub” called the Woodshed Ale House in Sauk City in 2013.
The Vintage project received $1.35 million in taxpayer assistance through a tax increment financing district. The village purchased the land in the 1990s. Most recently it was home to the Fair Valley Schoolhouse and the former Boots and Shoes repair shop, both historic buildings that have since been relocated.
Sauk City Village Board President Jim Anderson said he’d been hoping a business the likes of Vintage would come to his community.
“It’s one of the reasons I ran for village president years ago,” Anderson said. “It’s been an underutilized premiere lot. We’ve been very hopeful to get something in there that would be an anchor and serve as a destination place.”
Brittany Kraemer, another of the project’s six partners, said Vintage would be hosting the Sauk Prairie Chamber of Commerce’s 2017 Community Awards Dinner event Jan. 15.
“We are very excited for this event,” Brittany Kraemer said. “We have been working on numerous weddings for 2018 … and have other various banquets and events we are currently working on.”
“It will be a high water mark for us right out of the gate,” Trent Kraemer said of the Chamber event. “I know it will be upwards of what our facility can handle. But our management team is so confident. They’ve said as long as you get us in there we will make it happen.”
The team has been discussing various partnerships and events with the Village of Sauk City and Chamber of Commerce, in addition to working out details for distillery tours and other special events.
“It’s a little nerve-wracking because tours are a new wrinkle for us,” Trent Kraemer said. “And we will likely have a grand opening event but months later after opening. Because we have all done this and have a lot of team members who have gone through openings we will overcome whatever hiccups there will be.”
Vintage is expected to bring nearly 100 jobs to the Sauk Prairie area, likely consisting of a large part-time staff base. Kraemer said they are working closely with the village and chamber as well as other businesses to hopefully realize the full economic impact the business could have on the Sauk Prairie area.
“Once we get in and get our feet underneath us … we’ve talked about a lot of different ideas,” Trent Kraemer said. “Hopefully we’re going to be able to do a lot of cool things.”