Developing and implementing software for 20-plus County Social Service Agencies constituted the daily activities of Mike and Don Zamzow during the 90s. The software company, GIT, LLC was operating out of the Buska Insurance building in Rothschild in the early 90s.
Then, at Christmas in 1998, an apparently insignificant event happened which ultimately became a life changer for both partners and their families. Mike received a beer home brew kit from his wife, Mary. Mike joined the local Bull Falls Home Brew club to learn how to improve his beer brewing skills. Things continued on as normal for some time, with the exception that at family and friends gatherings no one was having Miller MGD or Leinie Red, but rather one of Mike’s new brews ranging from a variety of ales to a Dusseldorf Alt. After winning some prizes in brew competitions, Mike seriously began thinking about doing it professionally. He enrolled in an on-line brewing course with the Siebel Institute of Chicago.
In 2001 a small, used 3-barrel system became available which was acquired at low cost. The need for a brand or logo became apparent and one was developed based on the historical foundations of Wausau, Big Bull Falls. The logo was registered with the Patents and Trademarks office in 2002 and things were set to go. That is until the day before the challenge deadline when we were contacted by Red Bull legal staff from Austria informing us that they were challenging the logo because of potential confusion in the market place. After two years and a couple thousand dollars later, a compromise was reached and we were able to continue using the new logo with some constraints. The hunt for a building now began.
After investigating a number of existing buildings, we finally settled on a vacant building at 901 E Thomas St.
Having already determined that the 3-barrel system previously purchased wasn’t large enough for commercial brewing, a larger 10– barrel brewery that Mike knew about was in Stevens Point, at the former Isadore St. Brewery. The smaller 3-barrel brewery was sold to Morgan B. in Peekskill, NY and the proceeds were used as collateral in acquiring the larger 10-Barrel brew system which was then installed and commissioned in the present 901 E Thomas St. location. Construction and renovation of the building proceeded from March through August of 2007. While not totally completed the brewery room was complete to brew beer.
The inaugural brew for the Bull Falls Brewery was an Oktoberfest Lager. The recipe for Bull Falls Oktoberfest came by way of a German Brewmaster, Eric Toft Private Landbrauerei Schonram, whom we met in Texas at the National Craft Brewers Conference in 2007. He was there talking about German hop usage in beer. His job was to represent the German Hop Growers Association at Brew Expo, a trade show with over 400 beer industry related organizations. Being the very first brew of the Bull Falls Brewery brought a certain level of trepidation and the Oktoberfest brew was in part chosen with the thought in mind that if it did not quite turn out, we knew at least we did not have to brew that beer again for another year. It did turn out and our first customers enjoyed it with open arms and empty glasses.
Bull Falls Oktoberfest
The brewery’s inaugural beer is brewed with all German ingredients. Amber color with a malty flavor that contributes to a clean crisp taste.
To be continued...