Prohibition Era Cave on Display at Old Bloomer Brewhouse

new owners have made many renovations, including space for patrons to view decades-old cavern

McKenna Scherer, photos by Andrea Paulseth

JUST CAVE THINGS. The decades-old beer cave at the Old Bloomer Brewhouse still stands and can be viewed through windows.
JUST CAVE THINGS. The decades-old beer cave at the Old Bloomer Brewhouse can be viewed through windows.

The Old Bloomer Brewhouse and The Buckingham is aptly named considering its century-long, extensive history at 1526 Martin Road, Bloomer. Though the buildings that have stood at the address have had many owners and have been rebuilt numerous times, the current building has been standing since the early 1900s, and even features an underground cavern that was apparently used during a particularly sober era – Prohibition.

News clippings detail the original business that once stood at the address, proving the location’s long-time status as a brew hub: Bloomer Brewery. Built in 1875, owners Fred Adler and John Wendland had to rebuild just years later when a fire burned it down in 1883. The bad luck continued, and the building burned down again in 1888, and it was rebuilt by another duo in 1889. It continued to serve as a brewery through Prohibition when it, like other breweries, was forced to pivot and produce other things, like soda.

Jacob Breunig owned the building from the early 1900s until the 1930s – during that time, he was sent to prison for one year in Milwaukee for producing beer during Prohibition, learned to brew non-alcoholic beer and saw the end of Prohibition, but closed soon after – and following that, the business passed through several more owners.

Now, the Old Bloomer Brewhouse and The Buckingham (not to be confused with Bloomer Brewery est. 2013) is still serving beer, among its other alcoholic and food offerings. Of course, it now has a very different look, having seen many renovations and remodels since its early days. The current owners, mother-son duo Jagr and Diane Hofstedt, signed on to rent the space at the tail-end of 2021 and began their own remodeling right away, seeing the majority of changes finished during the summer of 2022.

Though the owners are not 100% finished with the changes they’d like to make, including plans to add an outdoor stage to host live music, the biz is serving up beer from 12 taps, as well as specialty cocktails, stone-oven pizza, and special events. Through the various renovations, one thing has remained in place since the 1930s era: a cave.

Thought to have housed kegs of beer in order to keep them cool, the cavern is still in full view behind three windows in the establishment’s lower level. While patrons are not allowed inside the cavern due to safety precautions, they can still enjoy a beverage thanks to the variety of seating on the lower level.

The Hofstedts plan to add a bar in the downstairs area where the cavern is in view, plus 30 different types of wine and whiskey, too. While both the beer and cocktail menus are rotating – though some beer staples like Miller Lite will consistently be available – the Old Bloomer Brewhouse’s main bar also features a nitro tap while its second bar houses four additional taps.

The Old Bloomer Brewhouse and The Buckingham also features a wide array of decor, from the Brewhouse’s bar-and-grill style to The Buckingham’s speakeasy vibe, it can draw in patrons of all tastes. The biz is also hosting Bloomer’s upcoming Oktoberfest celebration on Oct. 14, is currently running football game specials, and hopes to have live music as early as this spring. Lunch specials will soon be added, along with delivery services.

Inside the Old Bloomer Brewhouse
Inside the Old Bloomer Brewhouse.

Visit the Old Bloomer Brewhouse and The Buckingham at 1526 Martin Road, Bloomer • Hours: Monday from 4:30-10:30pm, Wednesday-Thursday from 11am-10:30pm, Friday-Saturday from 11am-12am, and Sunday from 11am-10pm • Keep up with them on Facebook