Nisswa: Roundhouse Brewery looks to buy Gull Dam Brewing building

Gull Dam Brewing in Nisswa has been closed since the end of 2018.

The Gull Dam Brewing building in Nisswa may have another chance as a taproom after Nisswa City Council action Wednesday, April 15.

The council approved Roundhouse Brewery’s liquor license application. Roundhouse Brewery LLC applied for a taproom liquor license permit in Nisswa as it pursues purchase of the Gull Dam Brewing building.

The council’s action is contingent upon Roundhouse buying the building. Roundhouse Brewery is in the Northern Pacific Center in Brainerd.

Gull Dam Brewing opened in October 2014 and closed at the end of 2018 when the owners retired.


The council met online via GoToMeeting because of the COVID-19 pandemic and resulting stay-at-home order. Mayor Fred Heidmann, council member John Ryan and City Administrator Jenny Max were at city hall while all others participated via video or phone.


The public was welcome to call into the meeting and listen to council discussion. Information for how to access the meeting was available on the city’s website.

The meeting didn’t include a traditional open forum. Instead, people were asked to submit questions or comments to the city clerk via email before the meeting so those comments could be read aloud during the meeting. There were no comments.

City hall remains closed to the public through May 4 at this time, and the council approved a schedule for city operations through that date.

The Board of Appeals conducted by Crow Wing County will take place at 1 p.m. Tuesday, April 21, at city hall for citizens to ask questions about their property’s estimated market values.

The county will have protocols in place to maintain social distancing while still conducting this meeting in person. The public will be asked to wait in the lobby area and the county will have one person come into the council chambers at a time.

Also because of the COVID-19 situation, the council agreed to adjust pay for Spirits of Nisswa and Pickle Factory municipal liquor employees because of the potential exposure the liquor store employees face.

The council will give a one-time $3 per hour pay adjustment to those employees for all hours worked between March 10 and May 3. Heidmann was opposed, saying he would be more comfortable with a $2 to $2.50 per hour adjustment.

The approximate cost of this one-time pay adjustment is $9,416. It was noted that sales at Spirits from March 13-30 surpassed last year’s numbers by just more than $50,000.


The council also agreed, with council member Don Jacobson opposed, to provide a four-month reduction in liquor license fees for 2020-2021 for the 11 establishments in the city that have such licenses to help provide financial relief as a result of COVID-19 and being closed since March 17.

The financial impact to the city is a loss of about $2,800 in revenue.

The city’s annual liquor license revenue is approximately $8,400. The license year runs July 1-June 30.

Above and beyond

Max shared how city staff has been helping during the COVID-19 pandemic. Parks and Recreation Director Matthew Hill has volunteered with the Outreach Program of Brainerd Lakes; Finance Specialist Maggi Wentler has been making masks to donate to staff and organizations; and the fire department has been doing birthday salutes for people by driving by with sirens blaring.

Public safety

Police Chief Craig Taylor said in his written report that his department has changed call response protocols because of COVID-19 to minimize potential spread. Taylor filed a request with the state for limited personal protection equipment.

In March, police reported 160 calls for service, 19 agency assists, 54 traffic warnings, 11 traffic citations, seven arrests, eight emergency medical services calls and one criminal citation.

Fire Chief Shawn Bailey said in his written report that because of the COVID-19 outbreak, the department has three squads each with eight people who meet on assigned nights, and training has stopped for now. For medical calls, firefighters try to treat from the door and only go in if needed and while wearing protective equipment. He believes firefighters are well protected.

Firefighters had 26 calls in March, including 19 emergency medical services calls, five fire alarms and one each house fire and Brainerd house fire.


In other business April 15, the council:

  • Approved the Crow Wing County State Aid Highway 13 improvement project within municipal corporate limits and parking restrictions on that road from Highway 371 to County Road 137.

  • Approved the Hazelwood Drive bridge replacement project and agreed to advertise for bids for the project. The city will receive a state grant for $375,613 for the project, based on the engineer’s estimate. Actual bids will determine the final grant amount.

  • Agreed to advertise for bids for Hazelwood Drive and Smiley Road improvement projects.

  • Agreed to have PFM Financial Advisors LLC continue to provide financial advisory services to the city.

  • Approved quotes from HyTec Construction for $22,350 for improvements at the Pickle Factory, and the $4,023 cost of tile purchased from MCI/Carpet One.

  • Agreed to support a League of Minnesota Cities letter regarding a state Legislature COVID-19 workers’ compensation bill, saying the bill lacks funding and could lead to stress on the state’s workers’ compensation system.

  • Received a draft sewer ordinance to review.

Nancy Vogt may be reached at 218-855-5877 or Follow her on Facebook and on Twitter at

Nancy Vogt is editor of the Pineandlakes Echo Journal, a weekly newspaper that covers eight communities in the Pequot Lakes-Pine River areas - from Nisswa to Hackensack and Pequot Lakes to Crosslake.

She started as editor of the Lake Country Echo in July 2006, and continued in that role when the Lake Country Echo and the Pine River Journal combined in September 2013 to become the Pineandlakes Echo Journal. She worked for the Brainerd Dispatch from 1992-2006 in various roles.

She covers Nisswa, Pequot Lakes, Lake Shore and Crosslake city councils, as well as writes feature stories, news stories and personal columns (Vogt's Notes). She also takes photos at community events.

Contact her at or 218-855-5877 with story ideas or questions. Be sure to leave a voicemail message!
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