HARTFORD, S.D. (KELO) – What started out as a long time dream, is now a reality for business owners in downtown Hartford. In 2018 Buffalo Ridge Brewing opened its doors to the public, and has been seeing lots of support ever since.
It’s a busy morning for Rick Warkenthien.
“This morning I’ve been brewing our Oaksville Amber, it’s kind of become our flagship beer, it’s really popular out in distribution, in the taproom the amber is just an all around crowd pleaser,” co-owner, brewer, Rick Warkenthien said.
He’s one of the co-owners and brewer at Buffalo Ridge Brewing.
“I started home brewing back in 2007, and every home brewer dreams of the day when they’ll have their own brewery or at least be employed at a brewery making beer, so it’s a very satisfying process from start to finish and the best part is seeing people come in and enjoy it,” Warkenthien said.
There are three couples that help run this business.
It all started with Callie Tuschen and her husband.
“About 9 years ago, Chris got his home brew setup for his birthday and that’s where he developed a passion for making beer at home and so in that time we really knew that we wanted to open a brewery someday but weren’t sure when,” co-owner, Callie Tuschen said.
That would become a reality in November of 2018. Now they know the ins and outs of craft beer.
“We do everything from the lightest option close to a domestic, like a cream ale, up to dark, heavily roasted stouts, we do things in the middle, like our amber which is really popular, and then we have our IPAs, we do a sour, we do kind of everything all across the board,” Tuschen said.
Aside from brewing beer, the owners like to host events and activities to get the community involved.
“Basically when we opened the brewery we did it in the downtown space to help revitalize the downtown part of town,” Tuschen said. “Building our business in Hartford we knew there would be challenges with that and one of the ways that we were able to meet that challenge was to create more community events and to provide an atmosphere that people love to do elsewhere but have it be here at home, and so having music and date nights and food trucks and bingo.”
David Larson is another co-owner. He just got involved in the business about four months ago.
“Talk to people, work behind the bar, help serve drinks, but majority of my job I do outside sales with different bars and restaurants in town, and talk about our beer and hopefully get us on tap there,” co-owner, David Larson said.
All agree that they are thankful for the community support.
“I can’t say enough about how great the community has been in supporting us and last year of course was difficult for everyone but people came in every week just to make sure that we were still here,” Tuschen said.
“The thing that amazes me the most is how many people come in on a Saturday afternoon that I don’t recognize, Sioux Falls we are getting quite the attraction of coming out here from Sioux Falls, and we had a couple from Georgia in here the other day that were just doing a craft beer tour, so I meet a lot of unique people from all over,” Larson said.
Owners are looking forward to the growth of both Buffalo Ridge Brewing and downtown Hartford.
“We like to do things that help the community and I think first and foremost is a community gathering space and a brewery second, just happen to make some great beers, but seeing people gather here is probably the first goal,” Warkenthien said.