H.H. Hinder set to expand
Multiple projects underway at Waupaca brewery
By James Card
Mike Stroik, owner of H.H. Hinder, plans to turn the city’s only brewery into a destination – not just for craft beer – but for concerts, weddings and social gatherings.
At the city council meeting on June 21, there was a second reading of a proposed ordinance for three parcels of land owned by H.H. Hinder to be combined into one and be re-zoned as a general commercial district. The ordinance was approved unanimously.
Once the lots are combined, a conditional-use and site plan will be submitted to the city.
The plan might be a large document because Stroik has many ideas for the three parcels d just off Churchill St.
One parcel is a small house located behind the brewery that Stroik purchased earlier this year. Currently, he is letting the fire department use the house for training.
Between the house and the brewery is a parking lot and that is a big plus for the brewery as there is little parking in front.
Stroik will tear down the house and the area will be a green space. He will have the trees trimmed, do some landscaping, build a gazebo and plant some greenery as a buffer for 10th St.
Stroik owns the large building next door to the brewery. In between the two buildings are picnic tables, string lighting, potted plants, sun shades, and furniture for customers to relax outside. This was expanded during the COVID-19 pandemic and now has 100 seats.
“It’s the nicest alley in Waupaca – and you can get a beer,” said Stroik.
The large building used to be the Zwicker Knitting Mill.
“At one point there were 150 women in here knitting things—hats, mittens, scarves, gloves,” he said.
The building was later owned by a scaffolding company and then the school district used it as a maintenance shop.
He uses the building for storage and is prepping it for future renovations. One section will be a conference room that can be rented out. He plans on calling it the “Zwicker Room.”
The old vintage windows will stay and he will add some audiovisual equipment. Outside of that area is the old loading dock and it will be filled in and turned into a patio that opens up to a glass garage door.
Huge event space
The area leads to what will be a huge event space. Planned remodeling includes: four 10-by-10-foot glass overhead doors and a glass entrance, bathrooms, bars, a moveable partition and a mobile stage.
Stroik estimates the room can seat 400 people. His goal is to have it open by the fall of next year.
The space will be the future home for Hinderfest, the brewery’s version of Octoberfest. For that event he rents a tent but bringing it inside will make the date less dependent on the weather.
He sees the room being used for concerts, weddings, Christmas fairs and craft fairs.
“You can wander around and leave your husband next door and we can make sure he’s happy,” said Stroik.
He also purchased the lot behind the Rose Garden on Columbia Street. On it is an old pole building structure with two bays and a small house used as an office.
The building was owned by Dushek Trucking and is now used by the school district until they can move into the new maintenance building.
This will provide more parking and the two-bay building will be used to store all of that outdoor furniture that needs to be stowed away for the winter. The small office will be razed but the fire department will use it for training in the meantime.
As for the brewery, H.H. Hinder has rolled out so many new beers since opening that their old beer signs are retired and hung on a wall inside the vat room.
In 2020, they won an award at the Great American Beer festival for a scotch ale named Wee Heavy Hinder. They have a liquor license so they invented a margarita mix called Hinder Rita that is on tap like a beer but tastes like a lemon margarita.
Their merchandise has been selling well and people wearing “I grabbed a Hinder in Waupaca, Wisconsin” T-shirts have been spotted in places ranging from Disneyland to Germany.
In the next week, a rich lager will be specially brewed in preparation for Hinderfest on Saturday, Sept. 10.