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Ooga Brewery aims for March opening date

December 29, 2018

Downtown Beaver Dam’s upcoming microbrewery is looking at a March opening date after initial plans called for a 2018 opening.

Ruth Metz confirmed Friday that the opening date for Ooga Brewing Company will likely be in March, with the equipment arriving by the end of January to start brewing the beers. The former used car lot and auto shop at 301 S. Spring St. is being renovated, with a name to memorialize the old use: “AH-OOO-GA,” like the sound an old car horn would make.

Ruth and Jim Metz, who founded the animal supply company Animart, are leading the downtown venture. The new business was first announced over the spring as a way to help revitalize the downtown area and was jump-started with a $126,100 grant from the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation, the state’s private-public organization for business development.

The empty pavement in front of the building will become a beer garden and have a clear view of the downtown water tower, which will undergo maintenance soon, which will including a paint job based on the city’s new logo. The parking lot across the street will continue to be used for parking.

The project has been moving through the city’s landmark commission, which has authority over certain changes made to properties downtown as well as their grant funding. Ooga will include a new color scheme, signage, windows and doors, and so on. The exterior is being updated and modernized but will not significantly change. There will over overhead doors that will resemble where cars used to pull into the auto shop at Flynn Motors.

A truck sculpture is planned to include hops growing out of it with lights shining onto it. The brewery is not expected to have a focus on food.

The city of Beaver Dam is moving ahead with the process to apply for another WEDC grant for a business that has not yet been disclosed. The downtown area has seen much investment, both public and private, over the past year with the goal of making downtown more attractive to residents, visitors and businesses.

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