The history of the Sand Creek Brewing Company can actually be traced back to 1856, when Swiss immigrant Ulrich Oderbolz founded the Oderbolz Brewing Company in Black River Falls, Wisconsin, in a building that is today occupied by Sand Creek B.C.. In fact, beers from Sand Creek B.C. are stored in the building's original 19th century beer cellar. The original brewery was family owned and operated, being taken over in 1900 by Ulrich's son Frank, until his untimely death by drowning in 1911. It seemed a curse had befallen the family, as years earlier, in 1888, Frank's brother Charley had fallen into a vat of boiling beer, and died as a result of his injuries. Not surprisingly, after Frank's death, his mother Anna, having outlived her husband and two sons, opted to sell the business. It remained a brewery, operating as the Badger Brewing Company until that little thing called Prohibition hit in 1920, closing the brewery for good… or so it seemed. Researching the brewing history in the region, we can't help but think that the beer gods had it in for the trade in this region!
In 1995, after a 75 year brewing drought, locally produced beer returned to Black River Falls (and to the old Oderbolz building) when Dave and Jim Hellman started the Pioneer Brewing Company. One of the wisest moves they ever made was hiring brewmaster Todd Krueger, who has since crafted many award winning beers. In 1998 they acquired the Wisconsin Brewing Company of Wauwatosa after two devastating floods in a one year period forced that outfit to close their doors. (There's that curse again!) Thankfully, their beers lived on after the Pioneer takeover. It was during this period that brewmaster Todd really began working his magic, winning an unprecedented two Gold Medals at the World Beer Cup in 2000 (one of which was for the stout featured below!). And in 2002, he struck gold again at the WBC for their Oderbolz Bock (named after the site's original owner).
Meanwhile, off on a family farm in Menomonie, burgeoning brewmaster Cory Schroeder teamed up with partner Jim Wiesender and created the Sand Creek Brewing Company in 1999, cobbling together 'improvised' brewing equipment such as a 32-foot refrigerator semi-trailer (which became the beer cooler), and pudding tanks that served as mash and brew kettles. After developing many popular brews, there was a need to expand beyond their farmhouse brewery. Turns out that by this time, in 2004, the Hellman brothers were looking to sell the Pioneer Brewing Company. Who stepped in to purchase it? None other than Cory, Jim and brewmaster Todd, who together formed the current rendition of the Sand Creek Brewing Company. The move expanded Sand Creek B.C.'s beer line up to over 29 different products on a proprietary and contract level. Todd has remained as Head Brewmaster at the site. A partner in the business, this three time Gold Medal winner is quite the asset. Seems to us that the brewing curse has up and vanished from this part of Wisconsin. Enjoy the great brews we've picked out for you!
For more information about the brewery and scheduled tours, call (715) 284-7553 or check out their web site at www.sandcreekbrewing.com.