Love of beer and community guides Suamico Station 1 Brewing Company
By John McCracken
SUAMICO – Green Bay developer Base Companies, LLC is used to taking old, historic buildings and turning them into community-focused facilities with retail, housing and green spaces.
It also just happens to really enjoy barley, hops, yeast and water when brewed together just right.
Base Companies is currently restoring the former Suamico Fire Station No. 1 site, which is slated to become Station 1 Brewing Company and Music Hall located at 1745 Riverside Dr.
The Village of Suamico sold the building to Base Companies last November for $350,000, and the half-acre site was recently granted a reserve Class B liquor and beer license by the village board.
The brewpub is slated to open this summer.
“We just like beer,” President/CEO of Base Companies Paul Belschner said.
Belschner said creating spaces that attract and retain talent is a crucial part of Base Companies’ mission.
“Whether that’s a rooftop patio, or a historic warehouse building, or a former fire station, that has worked and that’s a big part of building the community,” he said.
Belschner said the growth of craft breweries across the Greater Green Bay region, such as Ahnapee Brewery’s second location, which recently opened in Suamico, and Base Companies’ continued work with Titletown Brewing Company in Green Bay’s Rail Yard District, wasn’t a cause for pause when embarking on the Station 1 project.
“I think there are all different shapes and sizes of these new breweries have presented themselves, and they’re innovative, they have to show their own way to success and viability long-term,” he said.
Belschner said starting an endeavor rooted in in-person gatherings and events during the COVID-19 pandemic made Base Companies’ cautious, but increased access to vaccines has him hopeful for Station 1’s proposed summertime opening date.
“You get something taken away from you for a little while, and it really allows you to appreciate what you had,” he said.
Pete App, Station 1 Brewing Company owner and operator, said he has been homebrewing for more than 10 years and decided to take his venture to its next steps by opening the brewery.
“I love beer, but I love the community even more,” App said.
He said he left his decades in the construction industry to open the brewery because he felt it was time to take a risk.
“I don’t really love risk, and this is very risky obviously,” App said. “But this is just something I had to do.”
He said he doesn’t see other Green Bay breweries as direct competition and is more focused on competing in the entertainment and event industry in the area.
Station 1 plans to open in July, but construction constraints could dictate a later open date.
App said he is excited to open with three of his own brews: an IPA, a blonde ale and an amber ale.
The long-term goals of the fire station turned brewpub include up to 10 original taps, ticketed live music events and historic fire paraphernalia in the building.
In the meantime, App said he is excited to see more businesses returning to pre-pandemic operations with the COVID-19 vaccines easing the worries of an in-person events venue.
“We’re opening in a much better time than last year at this time,” he said.