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Gull Dam Brewing Co. owners announce closure, retirement

NISSWA—After four years, Mark and Barb Anderson, owners of Gull Dam Brewing Co., announced their plans to retire and shutter the Nisswa microbrewery.

In a news release posted to the company's Facebook page, the Andersons announced Dec. 31 will be the taproom's final day of operation, with plans to sell the business.

"This was a fun venture, our beer is world-class and Mark and I have met so many wonderful people at the brewery," stated Barb Anderson in the release.

Gull Dam Brewing opened in October 2014, the first microbrewery to open in Nisswa and the second in the Brainerd lakes area, which now includes at least six such businesses. Mark Anderson told the Dispatch in 2016 the venture began as homebrewing in 2011—what he described as a "midlife crisis"—and when those brews received good reviews from friends, the hobby progressed into a business. They bought an iconic building on Highway 371 just south of Schaefer's Foods. The building, built in 2002, features an eye-catching water wheel on its front side facing the highway.

The Gull Dam Brewing name came about because the brewery is named after the Gull Lake Dam, Mark Anderson said. The dam, along with the Gull Lake Dam Road leading to it, are commonly shortened to the Gull Dam and the Gull Dam Road.

"The name Gull Dam, everyone has made fun of that for years and years, but yet nobody's ever registered it or trademarked it," Anderson said in 2016. "It's just a play on things that's actually been around the local history here for 100 years."

In addition to taproom and beer garden sales, Gull Dam beer has been distributed to over 330 bars, restaurants and liquor stores, according to the release. One little known bit of Gull Dam trivia: Hollywood actor Kevin Sorbo, who played Hercules in the television series "Hercules: The Legendary Journeys," is a minority shareholder of the company.

"The Andersons wish to thank their employees for their hard work, dedication to quality and customer service," the release stated. "They especially would like to thank their customers for their loyal support, continuous patronage and wonderful friendships. Finally, they would like to thank their master brewer Doug Stoffer, to whom all credit goes for the exceptional Gull Dam beer he created. Doug has brewed around the world and has won numerous brewing medals—from two continents—which highlight his achievements in the competitive craft beer world."

The Andersons plan to host a retirement party Dec. 29 in the Gull Dam taproom featuring The Lamont Cranston Band—the same band that played at the brewery's grand opening, according to the release.