Brewery leases first space at The Cascade

Aug. 6, 2018

Severance Brewing Co. plans to open in the new downtown Cascade project next spring.

It’s owned by friends Scott and Melissa Heckel and Mark and Jennifer Stavenger.

The friends have been brewing at home for years, starting when Melissa Heckel bought her husband a Mr. Beer kit for Christmas in 2008.

“From there, it turned into an obsession,” Scott Heckel said. “We went from the Mr. Beer kit to recipes on the stove and garage to an electric brewery in the basement.”

He now brews 10 gallons at a time multiple times each month. He and Stavenger met through their wives, who grew up together in Aberdeen.

“I was a beer enthusiast who had never done any brewing, and I met Scott and our interests gelled, and we just started talking about it, and I decided to leave my job,” Stavenger said.

Scott Heckel and Mark Stavenger

“Severance” is a nod to severing ties with their day jobs – Heckel was an IT manager and Stavenger was an assistant women’s basketball coach– as well as separating themselves from any “style guidelines” related to beer, Heckel said.

“I approach it with an end state in mind and build the recipes to fit,” he said.

Some signature brews include monster cookie, “which includes all the ingredients of your mom’s monster cookie,” a spiced chocolate porter and a coconut tan stout style.

“IPAs are one style I will fall into because I love IPAs,” Heckel said. “We’re planning on doing a sour program right away. We’ll have sour beers and a seasonal line and about a dozen of our own beers on tap, local ciders and a few nonalcoholic options.”

They hope to partner with neighboring restaurants on food and also will have soda on tap for kids “because we want to be family-friendly,” Heckel said.

The business will take 3,600 square feet on the south end of The Cascade building along North Phillips Avenue across from the future Levitt Shell.

The plan is to build garage doors that can open to let music in during concerts. They plan to start with a 5-barrel system that could brew 600 barrels annually.

“We’ll likely start more with 300 barrels,” Heckel said. “Our distribution will be the taproom the first couple years, limited keg distribution, and we’ll see how things go from there.”

They said they liked being in a new building that would allow them to customize their space, as well as the draw from the nearby Levitt.

Severance Brewing Co. announced the business Friday night at a first-look party for The Cascade, which is being developed and managed by Lloyd Cos. and includes more than 200 apartments.

A lottery party to reserve the first units is scheduled the evening of Aug. 9, but to participate, prospective residents need to get on a wait list. To do that, click here.

Severance Brewing will be joined by more businesses at the project. Scott Blount, who leased the space, said other deals are in the works with a pizza shop, bakery and additional tenants.

“We’re excited about having Severance in The Cascade,” he said. “They believe in the property and the excitement generated with the number of apartments we have there, and we think it’s a great way to kick off the project. They’re smart people, and we expect it’s going to be a great operation.”

The brewery community has been welcoming, the Severance owners said.

“There’s no other industry I know of where you can sit down with your competitors and literally ask them what works and what didn’t and what they would do over,” Heckel said.

All the breweries in town appear to be thriving, Blount agreed, and said the sense of camaraderie is unique.

“They all play nice. They all like and speak highly of each other,” he said “This is a very unique business model. All the brewers like each other and help each other. They’re unlike any other business I’ve seen. They assist each other and respect one another.”

As downtown Cascade’s wait list grows, lottery party is planned to start leasing

Brewery leases first space at The Cascade

Severance Brewing Co. plans to open in the new downtown Cascade project next spring.

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