The Point Brewery in 1910. (Courtesy Portage Co. Historical Society)

Point Brewery partners with historical society for new tour program

By Patrick Lynn

There’s a lot more to beer than just the ingredients. There’s a whole lot of history, too.

For the Stevens Point Brewery, a new tour announced today in partnership with the Portage County Historical Society (PCHS) looks to share the history of the nation’s second-oldest continuously operating brewery as guests make their way through the facility.

The tours are a fundraiser for PCHS and will be led by PCHS Executive Director John Harry.

Tour guests will hear about the brewery’s founding in 1857 when Stevens Point was a small lumber outpost. They will also learn about how the brewery survived Prohibition—and how Point Special Lager became the number one beer in the country in 1973.

The special tours will be a “fully immersive beer history experience,” with samples of Point Brewery products and more, according to Harry.

“There’s history in every glass of Point Brewery product and a rich history in the brewery building itself,” Harry said. “These tours will take you from the 1857 foundation of the brewery to the 1872 brewhouse, all the way to the more recent expansion of the complex.”

Guests will get to view unique locations in the brewery and hear stories about Point Brewery’s history that are not included in the regular tours. Tourists will also get to take home a piece of brewery history with a gift from the brewery’s archives.

“This is a wonderful development for two reasons,” said Julie Birrenkott, marketing director for the brewery. “Our regularly-scheduled tours give visitors an overview of how modern craft beverages are made in a historic facility. For guests who want more, these History Tours will go deeper into that backstory. Second, John Harry continues to be an important partner. This is a small way of giving back to PCHS, and we hope the whole community turns out.”

Tickets for the Point Brewery History Tours are available at pchswi.org/events. Guests must be 21 years or older.

The tours run on select dates this year starting May 6. There are a limited number of tours and reservations available, and tickets are expected to sell quickly.

The tours are the latest edition to this year’s slate of new PCHS-led tours. History Pub Crawls in Downtown Stevens Point, as well as weekly Downtown Stevens Point Walking Tours, provide even more options for locals and visitors alike to experience Stevens Point’s history.

The Portage County Historical Society was founded in 1952 to preserve, advance, and disseminate the history of Portage County, and operates four historical sites: Beth Israel Synagogue in Stevens Point, Fire House No. 2 in Stevens Point, Heritage Park in Plover, and the Rising Star Mill in Nelsonville.