Kirk Bangstad and his late wife, Elizabeth Smith, purchased the business in early 2016 from the Dan and Laurie White family who ran the business for just over 10 years. The historic 1929 Free Mason's building was renovated from to a school, library and then a church before transforming to a restaurant and Brewery in the early 2000's.
After the coronavirus shut down all restaurants in March, 2020, and the Trump administration failed to have a national plan to slow down contagion and the restaurant industry suffered unnecessarily by having to limiting capacity longer than necessary, Bangstad aired his frustrations by hanging a huge “Joe Biden for President” sign on his wall after having to lay off his entire restaurant staff.
That stance alienated many conservatives in his area but endeared him to progressives around the country, leading him to decide to sell #ProgressiveBeer. His first two efforts, Biden Beer (Inoffensive and not Bitter) and Inauguration Day Beer (A Peaceful Transition of Flavor), sold out before they were even made.
Bangstad sold his building to hedge against Covid and is currently focused on selling #ProgressiveBeer nationwide.
Bangstad also created the Minocqua Brewing Company SuperPAC, which he calls “Dark Money Meant for Good.” This super PAC aims to remove Republican federal and state elected officials who perpetuated the election lies that caused the Insurrection of January 6, 2021, and whose downplaying of the seriousness of Covid 19 caused so many unnecessary deaths in our country.
A percentage of the profits of our progressive beer and Choice products are donated progressive causes and reproductive rights groups, respectively.
In addition, the Minocqua Brewing Company sponsors the weekly "Up North Podcast" in Partnership with Up North News.