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Oliphant Brewing set to open doors

Trevor Wirtanen and Matt Wallace, owners and brewers at Oliphant Brewing (350 Main St.) in Somerset, have been brewing their craft beers in anticipation of their opening date Aug. 28. Wirtanen is pictured with “Party on Garth!” in progress. (Submitted photo)

Craft beer lovers will rejoice at the news that Oliphant Brewing will open its doors in Somerset at 4 p.m., on Thursday, Aug. 28.

The new brewery, located at 350 Main St. adjacent to the Liquor Depot, will occupy the southwest corner of the warehouse facing Depot Street.

The taproom will be open Thursdays and Fridays from 4-9 p.m., Saturdays noon-9 p.m. and Sundays noon-7 p.m.

Customers can look forward to trying Milk Man-Man Baby (a hybrid dunkelweizen and milk stout), EnnuiPA (a pale ale), “Party on Wayne” (a blonde ale), Cmmdr. William T. Ryeker (a red, rye ale) and “Party on Garth!” (a black ale) as the brewery’s inaugural offerings.

Brewers and owners Matt Wallace and Trevor Wirtanen chose the 1,200-square-foot location because everything they need is in place due to the building’s former use as a 7-Up bottling plant.

They like Somerset and the surrounding area because they think it has potential for craft beverage tourism.

“With the established companies like Brady’s Brewhouse and 45th Parallel, and the prospective ones like us, Flatcap Distillery and the second facility of Barley John’s, Somerset and New Richmond could become a destination for those coming from either Eau Claire or Madison or the Twin Cities seeking a great craft beverage experience,” Wirtanen said in May after the brewery’s conditional use permit was approved by the Somerset Village Board.

Wallace and Wirtanen have been planning to open a brewery for three years. Wallace has worked in the craft beer industry for almost seven years. He is a copy writer and taproom associate at Dangerous Man Brewing Company in Minneapolis, where he has done cellar work. He has also homebrewed for four years, professionally for one-and-a-half.

Wirtanen has worked as a production technician at Lift Bridge Brewing Company in Stillwater and as a brewer at Dave’s BrewFarm in Wilson. His schooling is in music, but he became obsessed with homebrewing after craft beers piqued his interest.

“At least six beers are capable of being on tap and each day there might be something new from our small batch system,” Wallace said. “So Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, each might have a different, new beer.”

Wallace was unsure if the patio area would be up and running in time for the opening.

“We’ve got jobs stacked up for days just to get the inside ready in time,” Wallace said in an email.

The brewers have also headed up a fundraising campaign on their website to help with equipment and taproom purchases, bills from the building remodel, and in their words, “to give us a little piece of mind before the doors open and everyone can come and have a good time.”

A few “sponsorships” include:

  •  $100 - a T-shirt and one free beer a week
  •  $200 - a T-shirt and one free beer a week and one free growler a month
  •  $300 - a T-shirt and one free beer a week and two free growlers a month
  •  $400 - a T-shirt and two free beers a week and one free growler a month
  •  $500 - a T-shirt and two free beers a week and two free growlers a month
  •  $600 - a T-shirt and one free beer per day and two free growlers a month

The rewards last for one year from the opening date, according to the website. For more information on donating and becoming a rewards member, on the brews or the opening, contact Wirtanen and Wallace at, visit or

Sarah Nigbor

Sarah J. Nigbor serves as a regional editor for RiverTown Multimedia, a position she began in April 2017. She joined RiverTown Multimedia in October 2013 as a news reporter for the New Richmond News, before being appointed editor of the Pierce County Herald in February 2015. She graduated from the University of Wisconsin-River Falls with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Spanish and French in 2001. She completed a minor in journalism in 2004. 

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