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Minocqua Brewing Company will remain open after Oneida County grants permit extension

The brewery known for its Democratic Party-themed beers has been embroiled in a yearslong dispute with local officials

A row of beer glasses for tasting
QuinnDombrowski (CC-BY-SA)

A Minocqua brewery will remain open as a dispute over zoning and permitting for the business continues.

This comes after an Oneida County committee voted last week to revoke the license for the Minocqua Brewing Company, which would have forced it to close. On Wednesday, the same committee granted the business a six-month extension as the yearslong battle between the business and local authorities continues.

The business is associated with a Democratic super PAC, and owner Kirk Bangstad has vocally claimed that it is being targeted because of his political views. In a statement, Bangstad said the brewery “will fight and win in court” as well as “in the court of public opinion.”

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Among the issues in dispute is a proposal to put parking on land adjacent to the brewery that the town of Minocqua says the business does not own. Bangstad has also sought permission to add an outdoor beer garden, but said the parking dispute may also affect where the brewery could place that beer garden. Bangstad has said local zoning rules are being selectively enforced.

Bangstad briefly ran for Congress as a Democrat in 2015, and he ran for state Assembly in 2020. The Minocqua Brewing Company Super PAC has purchased billboard ads attacking Republican politicians, and sells beers themed to Democratic politicians.

The committee’s decision to grant the business an extension comes after two contentious recent public hearings. The first, on July 26, ended early after committee members said Bangstad refused to confine his statement to relevant issues. An Aug. 2 meeting included a succession of the brewery’s supporters reading a lengthy statement on Bangstad’s behalf.

Editor’s note: This story has been updated to correct the nature of a land dispute between the brewery and the town of Minocqua.