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Wisconsin's Rhinelander Brewing Co. returns to Northwoods after decades away

Laura Schulte, USA TODAY NETWORK-WisconsinPublished 12:53 p.m. CT April 12, 2018

RHINELANDER - Though its grand opening is this weekend, the Rhinelander Brewing Company has a storied history in the Northwoods.

It all started in 1892, or maybe 1882, there are conflicting stories, said company spokeswoman Brenda O'Rourke. Either way, the beer started flowing at the brewery before the town was even incorporated in 1893. 

The brewery produced delicious drinks until Prohibition looked to end the drinking industry in America. The owners shipped their equipment to Mexico in 1919, O'Rourke said. But within six months of the repeal in 1933, the brewery was up and running again. 

Some decades later, the company moved its brewing operations to Monroe, in southern Wisconsin. It wasn't until 2009 when Canadian-born beer lover Jyoti Auluck bought the brand name that Rhinelander Brewing Company became its own company again.

After several years of brewing and distributing from other locations around the state, Auluck decided to bring the operation home again, in a space right in the heart of downtown Rhinelander. 

The Rhinelander Brewing taproom opened in March. Its grand opening celebration on Friday and Saturday will showcase an entirely new batch of craft brewed beers, made by passionate local brewers. 

Though some production of beers is still done at the Minhas Brewery in Monroe, such as the Rhinelander Lager and Imperial Jack Double IPA, the local brewery will feature totally new, small-batch beers. 

"We really only hope to make enough to sell to other places in the immediate area," O'Rourke said. 

As the brewery gets established in its new home, O'Rourke said the team hopes it will become an important part of the revitalized downtown, and that it will add to the tourism industry of the area. 

Visit Rhinelander Brewery

Rhinelander Brewing Company is located at 43 S. Brown St., and is open Monday through Thursday 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., Friday from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Saturday from 1 p.m. to 9 p.m. 


The grand opening will kick off at 4 p.m. A ribbon cutting will be held at 5 p.m., along with the tapping of the first brew made in-house. Kegs will also be tapped at 6 p.m., 7 p.m. and 8 p.m. Get a free beer by using the code Hodag1882 at the counter


Check in throughout the day for brewing demonstrations, tours and beer informational sessions with the brewers and staff of the brewery

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