Volume One Special Coverage: Pulling Together While Staying Apart


Historic and Homey: Durand Brewing Co. offers classic taps, relaxed setting

Danielle Zinsli, photos by Andrea Paulseth

THE PAST ON TAP. The recently opened Durand Brewing Company celebrates the community’s fermented history while creating (and serving) a range of 16 new brews, from a farmhouse ale to a Russian Imperial Stout.
THE PAST ON TAP. The recently opened Durand Brewing Company celebrates the community’s fermented history while creating (and serving) a range of 16 new brews, from a farmhouse ale to a Russian Imperial Stout.

Walking into Durand Brewing Company feels a lot like walking into your neighbor’s garage. Except this joint has more than just Busch Light. When people inevitably seek it out, they have plenty of other options.

“We make beers that we’ve been drinking, and then we throw a little variation in it,” brewery manager Brent Biederman said, referencing the 16 taps that offer everything from the lighter Freckled Calf (their take on the ever-popular and drinkable Spotted Cow) to a much heavier Russian Imperial Stout. They have root beer as a non-alcoholic option, and they’ll be adding a raspberry soda soon as well.

They also have cribbage. And giant Jenga. And cornhole. They even have some bar snacks – think pretzels and popcorn, nothing fancy, but you’re welcome to bring in your own food as well. You can also bring your dog and kids.

The space, N6649 State Highway 25, is simple. It used to be a welding shop. A line of kegs separates the brewing equipment from a seating area filled with patio furniture and picnic tables.

A collection of flags hangs from the ceiling as an homage to the military service of the men who got the brewery off the ground (which means there’s just Army and Air Force for now, but Biederman is intent on adding Navy and Marine flags in the near future).

Owner Roger Hillestad opened Durand Brewing Co. on Dec. 13, but its history goes back more than a century.

Like many communities in the late 1800s, the small Pepin County city of Durand had its own brewery. What started as Harstoff & E. Stending Brewery in 1863 morphed into Philip Lorenz Brewery just six years later. After a fire destroyed the building in 1882, the business was resurrected in 1890 as Baur & Mertes Brewery, which quickly became Baur & Breunig Brewing Co. after an ownership change in 1891. Basically, there’s a lot of history here.

The brewery, which eventually was renamed the much simpler Durand Brewing Company, operated in some capacity until the 1930s. The transition to ice and soda sales during Prohibition just couldn’t keep the company afloat.

The modern-day Durand Brewing Company is in a different location – the old one was on Prospect Street across from St. Mary’s in Durand – and the Baur and Breunig families are no longer involved.

But the original logo, with minor revisions, remains as a nod to the past. The B&B of Baur & Breunig has simply been replaced with an H&R, for Hillestad and collaborator Kyle Richardson.

“We contacted the family members and they gave us their blessing,” Biederman said.

The brewery is full of history. Its flagship Courthouse Kolsch is named after the historic old courthouse in Durand, which just so happens to be the last remaining wood-framed courthouse in the state. But Biederman also has a lot of plans for the future. Expect more beers with a twist, food trucks, summer concerts, possible distribution, and lots of cribbage.

Durand Brewing Company (N6649 State Highway 25, Durand) is open 2-10pm Wednesday-Thursday and 11am-10pm Friday-Sunday. Find them online at “Durand Brewing Company” on Facebook.

Lasker Jewelers
Lasker Jewelers

Pulling Together Partners

The following organizations are currently supporting Volume One’s work in the community during the pandemic:

Lasker Jewelers

L.E. Phillips Memorial Public Library, Eau Claire

Downtown Eau Claire Inc DECI

University of Wisconsin Eau Claire

Pablo Group

Wisconsin Independent Network

Middle West Management

Bon Iver

Royal Credit Union

Silver Spring

Evergreen Surgical

Charter Bank

Chippewa Valley Technical College

The Murty Henriksen Family

The Larry and Marie Past Family

The Dan and Kerry Kincaid Family

Anton and Rae Schilling-Smets

Brady and Jeanne Foust

If your organization is interested in supporting Volume One during this difficult time, nick@volumeone.orgcontact us.