Laura (nee Duesterbeck) and Ben Johnson are the owners of Duesterbeck’s Brewing Company in Elkhorn on the site of The Duesterbeck Farm. The 150-year-old Duesterbeck farmstead, of which Laura and her sisters are the sixth generation family owners. The brewery opened in late October 2019. In the two years since, Duesterbeck’s has seen careful phases of renovations and released multiple beers and seltzers.
The farm has been in the Duesterbeck’s family for over 150 years and over the years many of buildings on the farm had fallen into disrepair, were run down, and no longer in use. The old barn was in such dire need of repair that it would have cost more to try and keep portions of it than to tear it down. The original barn, built on the Duesterbeck farm in the late 1800’s was torn down and rebuilt it from the ground up, integrating the original wood into the tables and trim work. This renovation marked the beginning of a massive undertaking, to replace each structure on the farm with newer, more versatile versions. Construction on the new barn began on December 10, 2018
Her family members were on board but first, there was a hurdle they had to get past. To keep the brewing company an agriculture business, a definition for microbrewery location had to be created for Walworth County. Once that was taken care of – a process that took two years – it was time to get down to business.
Despite having to take down the old barn, Ben said they were able to salvage a lot of wood and use it in the new building. The reclaimed wood is featured on the wall behind the bar where the tappers are located, the bar top itself, and is used for trim, beams and shelves. The new building is a sight to see at 47 feet tall, 10 feet more than the original barn. And the shade of red they chose – brighter than “typical” barn red, was chosen to help it stand out, especially in the winter months.
Duesterbeck’s introduced the pig barn pavilion in June, modeled after the pig barn that used to sit in its place. The only difference, Laura said, is that the lean-to now sits on the opposite side. One of Duesterbeck’s other notable features is the expansive outdoor patio, which opened on Memorial Day 2020. In July 2021, the brewery opened its gift shop in the existing granary. The next addition is scheduled for winter 2021, when the North shed will be torn down and rebuilt as a beer production facility.
Brewing beer has long been a hobby for Ben Johnson starting with not-so-great beer from kits brewed during his years in college at UW-Madison. It took years for Ben Johnson, who was a dentist who practiced in Delavan. It’s more than family-brewed beer that Duesterbeck’s distributes — it’s original art, too. Laura and Ben’s 16-year-old son Makai designs the artwork for all of their cans,
We are excited to present southern Wisconsin’s Premier Farmhouse Microbrewery. Set on an actual 150 year old farm outside of Elkhorn, Wisconsin, creating small batch, hand crafted, Wisconsin inspired beers. With a focus on great flavor and variety, we are proud to bring our passion to you. Check back frequently to watch our progress and hear about special events where you will get to preview our beer!