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Brewery, taproom to open in Nisswa waterwheel building

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Who’s ready to try a Gull Dam beer?

After experimenting with home brewing, an idea to open a brewery and taproom started to brew with Mark and Barb Anderson of Lake Shore.

“We made some beer. Our first one was an amber ale. Then we did a cream ale,” Mark said. “We came up with an idea. Micro brews were starting — it’s a big craze.”

The Andersons searched for an ideal location for a full production brewing business for two years. They found that spot in Nisswa and will open Gull Dam Brewing Inc. this summer in the building with the water wheel, just south of Spirits of Nisswa liquor store. The water wheel will soon spin again, and a waterfall will cascade into the pond.

The couple is excited about the venture.

“We plan to just utilize this for events,” Barb said, referring to a large, open area on the building’s main floor and a loft area upstairs that leads to an outdoor deck. The building features a full kitchen and bath.

The Andersons are most excited about the back part of the building — a large, open warehouse area that’s been cleaned up and where they plan to brew 40 barrels per batch, or 1,200 gallons of beer.

“This is where all the action is going to be,” Mark said. “People can actually come back here and drink beer amongst the equipment. We want to create this fun space back here.”

Rather than enclose the brewing equipment, patrons will enjoy their home brews right amongst it at a bar set up in the taproom. The stainless steel equipment is being made in Portland, Ore., and is scheduled to be shipped to Nisswa the first week in June.

The area will feature a red terra-cotta stained floor, big walk-in cooler with grain and ingredients stored above, and tall, stainless steel brew kettles and fermenting tanks.

“The goal is to have tons and tons of tours,” Barb said.

The Andersons hired Luke Steadman from Pennsylvania as head brewmaster. Jonathon Lehmann is the business’ director of operations and sales. Plans are to sell the home brews in house initially, and eventually to market it.

Another goal is to have outdoor events on a patio right outside the brewhouse that overlooks the woods, including live music.

Gull Dam Brewing won’t serve food; rather, the business will partner with local restaurants to serve food at events. Event ideas include weddings, anniversaries, groom’s dinners, birthday parties, business meetings, Oktoberfest, St. Patrick’s Day, and the list goes on.

Barb said they plan to use as many local ingredients as possible.

“Whatever we can do local is the plan,” she said.

The Andersons decided to name their brewery/taproom Gull Dam Brewing after the nearby Gull Dam, and they have trademarked the Gull Dam name.

Nancy Vogt can be reached at Follow her at and on Twitter @PEJ_Nancy.