Firefighters, home beer brewers, business owners.
That’s the path taken by Casey Sobol and Jason Stoltz, who decided to take their passion for brewing beer at home and turned it into a business that opened its doors on April 14.
“It’s a hobby that exploded,” said Stoltz, who also is head brewer at Top Rung Brewing Co. Sobol, in addition to being a co-owner, is brewery operations manager.
But before they opened their business, they spent a year on their business plan, including sharing it with professionals who provided feedback. And that extra work paid off: Instead of needing to find traditional financing they wound up attracting eight investors.
That allowed them to open in 3,700 square feet off Hogum Bay Road in Hawks Prairie, a space that is divided into a production area and a tasting room.
The business produced 300 barrels of beer in its first year and expects to double capacity in its next year of business, Sobol said.
They sell by the pint, growler and keg at the tasting room and so far have 33 wholesale accounts. They don’t sell food at the tasting room, but people can bring their own food, order out, and they have food trucks visit Fridays and Saturdays.
A pint of beer costs $4.25, which includes sales tax.
And because it’s technically a tasting room and not a bar, it is family friendly, they said.
The business has seven year-round beers on tap but also produces seasonal beers. To date, the brewery has created 10 beers.
Two of Top Rung’s newest creations are Lacey Lager and Lacey Dark Lager.
Lacey Lager is crisp and clean with a nice finish, according to a handout about the business called, “What’s on tap?”
“A true blue collar beer, the Lacey Lager was designed for those looking for an easy drinking beer for those entering the craft beer scene,” the document states.
“Don’t be deceived by the color: a smooth drinking lager with a slightly malt finish,” is the description given for the Lacey Dark Lager.
There’s also a “360 Red,” two IPAs and two stouts on the menu.
Their next launch is tentatively named a Belgian Imperial Strong Ale, Stoltz said. Alcohol by volume: 9.3 percent.
Thursday nights, Top Rung gets creative, hauling out a device called a “randall,” and then they fill it with a different ingredient to produce flavored beer on the spot.
Past ingredients: s’mores, fresh hops, oranges, doughnuts, Skittles (in recognition of the Seahawks, of course) and candy canes.