The Rise of O’so Brewing Co.
Plover-based company is one of state’s fastest growing brewers, with many tasty brews.
Around the state this past month O’so Brewing Company partnered with restaurants and bars to celebrate eight years of brewing. With that in mind we talked with Marc Buttera about the past eight years, and its plans for Christmas.
Marc, and his wife Katrina, both Kenosha natives, moved to the Stevens Point area where they eventually opened and ran Point Brew Supply while keeping their day jobs. The shop offered equipment and supplies for home brewers. As its success grew the couple decided to start their own brewing company, O’so Brewing Co. in 2007, located in Plover, just south ot Stevens Point, and they are now full-time brewers.
From the beginning, their goal was to brew interesting, creative beers that carve out a niche in the market. That has not changed much in the past eight years, though they have learned to temper that enthusiastic thinking, outside-the-bottle brewing style to keep the beers approachable for consumers. This has clearly paid off: in 2013, the Wisconsin Beer Distributors Association listed O’So Brewing as the second-fastest-growing brewery in Wisconsin. That ranking has probably slipped a little, but they are still growing at 20 percent a year, will polish off 6,000 barrels this year and are shooting for 7,500 next year.
In fact, the O’so warehouse is burgeoning with sour beer steeping in casks, over 400 of them. That fruit and kettle souring are driving forces at the brewery these days along with numerous barrel-aged beers. They have so much in the works that in 2018, they plan to break ground on an all-new facility. Yet, even with all that going on, they are still trying to keep things fun and keep the staff and the consumer base interested and coming back for more.
But there’s also a serious side to the Butteras. Marc tells me that he and Katrina grew up fairly poor, so there’s a large philanthropic drive at the brewery as well. O’so works with Toys for Tots and the Rotary Club each year to help make Christmas memorable for local area children. They feel that their success can be a positive catalyst and give some children a Christmas they deserve. Plus, since the community so wholeheartedly supports them, it’s the least they can do to give back to it. Last year’s drive raised $13,000.
These days you can find O’so Brewing products just about everywhere and new products are coming around as well. Their Infectious Groove sour blonde is set for six-pack distribution year-round starting in January, 2016. It will join their other year-round brews that include Hopdinger IPA, Night Train porter, Rusty Red ale, The Big O wheat ale, Memory Lane pilsner, Hop Whoopin IPA, and Convenient Distraction imperial porter with coffee and bourbon vanilla beans. Aside from all that, they make a list of seasonals, extremes and one-offs.
The seasonals at O’so Brewing include Lupulin Maximus, a double IPA with six types of hops on top of citrus and pine undertones. Another is Doe in Heat, an American-style pilsner which is an easy-drinking 5 percent that ties into Wisconsin’s deer hunting tradition.
Some of the extreme beers they are working on include Grandpa’s Got a Gun, a brandy barrel-aged American strong ale. It is another example of beer they are brewing with maple syrup in place of water, and it comes out at around 13.6 percent ABV. They are also barrel-aging Night Train and Convenient Distraction in bourbon barrels. There are several Belgian style things in the works as well, like Frampaars, a lambic aged on purple raspberries, and Weaze the Juice, a fruited-sour that mixes American and Belgian styles.
O’So has also produced a long list of one-offs this year. If you’re lucky to come across any of these, you had best buy up the whole stock as they’ll probably never come round again.
- Black Is The New Orange – Dry-hopped black ale brewed with an obnoxious amount of orange peel.
- Refresher Course 101 – 100% Brett yeast fermented Pale Ale
- Dr’s Bock – Traditional Bock
- Le Tigre – American-Belgo Style IPA (Belgo as in Belgian)
- Spikes Maple 2015 – American Strong Ale brewed with maple sap instead of water.
- Session Sour Series #1 – Dry-hopped red rye kettle sour.
- O’so Berliner Weisse – Traditional Berliner Weisse style ale.
- Session Sour Series #2 – A beefed up version of our Berliner Weisse.
- Refresher Course 103 – 100% Brett fermented, kettle soured pale ale.
- Space Ace Robot Doctor – Belgo-American Style Imperial Table Wit (Session White IPA)
- Café Ambre – Imperial Amber Coffee Beer
- Black Scotch – Peated Scotch Ale