Ayres Associates designed a rustic, 13,000-square-foot visitors center, museum, and gift shop for Leinenkugel Brewing Co., Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin. The building uses natural wood and stone finishes and heavy timber trusses to evoke the feeling of a Northwoods lodge. The project includes a pedestrian bridge that spans a creek separating the visitors center from the brewery.
The exterior is constructed with cedar siding and stone. The wood trim is forest green, and the metal roof panels are maroon, the original Leinie’s colors. The interior has rustic-looking wood trusses, intricate wood columns, and large windows to allow in natural light. The lodge has a 46-foot horseshoe-shaped sampling bar; a large, three-sided fireplace; and a covered outdoor patio.
The site is on the floodway/floodplain of Duncan Creek and required extensive regrading to raise the building above expected flood levels in conformance with Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources requirements. The placement of the building was further restricted by nearby underground utilities that could not be relocated. To accommodate visitors, a parking lot was constructed on the banks of Duncan Creek. Water flow in the creek dramatically increases during flood conditions, requiring proper stabilization and erosion protection on the bank.