Grains to Glass: How a Farm Helps a Grantsburg Brewery Thrive

GRANTSBURG, Wis. – What role can a dairy farm play to help a small town brewery thrive?  Once can figure that out in Grantsburg, Wisconsin.  The largest village in Burnett County has been the home to Brickfield Brewery since 2018.

“Our welcoming staff will serve you up a pint, a 10-ounce, a flight of four,” says owner Nicki Peterson.  “We also have pizza, we have live music on the weekends, food trucks, and more.”

The idea for the business came after Peterson and her husband Ben bought the former creamery from the local Lions Club in 2017.  What was supposed to be office space for Nicki’s marketing business changed after discussing options with the Grantsburg Revitalization Operation on how they can best use the building to benefit the community.

“We wanted to do the brewery because we knew it was a place that people would travel to go to, and it can often be in less produced areas of town,” says Peterson.

As part of a sustainability goal to keep as much of their production local, the brewery uses items from Four Cubs Farm, which Ben Peterson is a fifth-generation owners of, to assist in making their 19 brews.  They call it their Grains to Glass approach.

“What we’re doing is we’re growing our own barley to have it custom malted for our beer,” says Peterson. “And once the beer is made we feed the spent grains back to our cows at Four Cubs Farm.  Some of our beers are made with lactose.  So there’s your dairy in our Milk Stout, one of our number-one sellers.”

Peterson adds their brewery has grown since they opened, now operating seven days a week and expanding into wholesale distribution.  “We’re in over 100 locations on tap and in liquor stores.  We are going to continue to grow that.  We are getting a much larger system that actually is going to be installed here in the next few weeks, and then we will be able to distribute hopefully up to Duluth/Superior.”

Since opening Brickfield Brewery, Peterson says it has helped provided the catalyst needed to bring more businesses to the village.  “Since then we’ve had 10 to 15 new businesses come to our downtown.  We have a clothing boutique across the street from us, a coffee shop, and a vintage antique store.  Just lots of fun new businesses have come.”

Overall, Peterson says Brickfield’s number one goal has been achieved; helping the community their family has been a part of for 145 years.

“Our happiest days are when the families come have a little picnic out in the lawn.  The kids are tumbling down our little hill. Or even in the winter they pack their snow gear and have snowball fights outside or grab a game off the shelf.”

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