SwitchGear craft brewery opens in Elkhart Lake

Founded by three Masters Gallery Foods employees

Mark Grasse, Nick Kullmann, and Ryan Feldmann at SwitchGear

SwitchGear Brewing Co. has opened a taproom and production brewery at 44 Gottfried St. in Elkhart Lake, near the start/finish line of the original road races that helped make the village famous.

Mark Grasse, Nick Kullmann, and Ryan Feldmann at SwitchGear

The brewery is a project of a group of friends and co-workers from Plymouth-based Masters Gallery Foods. The ownership group includes Nick Kullmann, who will focus on brewing, Ryan Feldmann, focused on sales and Mark Grasse, who brings operations experience. All three are staying on at Masters Gallery.

“The name SwitchGear carries a number of origins for our team, including motor vehicle enthusiasts,” Grasse said. “But more than everything it points to our mutual passion for brewing.”

The brewery will start with a three barrel system designed to accommodate future growth plans. Kullmann said the brewery will look to appeal to a wide range of enthusiasts.

“We will certainly please a broad-based group of customers with bourbon barrel stouts, red ales, various IPAs, nut browns (and) smash pale ales, just to name a few,” Kullmann said. “Our brands also make a point of respecting the grandeur of our local area with names such as Kettle Cream Ale and Resorter Red Ale.”

The project is financed by Commerce State Bank and a loan from the village’s revolving loan fund. The Sheboygan County Economic Development Corp. and the Small Business Development Center at the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay provided assistance with real estate alternatives and business plan and financial strategy development.

“The village was very supportive to the project,” said Jim Schuessler, SCEDC business development specialist. “The community takes a very positive approach to closing retail gaps which in turn enhances an overall good quality of life.”

Arthur covers banking and finance and the economy at BizTimes while also leading special projects as an associate editor. He also spent five years covering manufacturing at BizTimes. He previously was managing editor at The Waukesha Freeman. He is a graduate of Carroll University and did graduate coursework at Marquette. A native of southeastern Wisconsin, he is also a nationally certified gymnastics judge and enjoys golf on the weekends.

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