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Raise a Glass to the Beer, Wine & Cider of Door County


Adult-only beverages run the gamut here, from beer to wine to cider and more
By Jennifer Billock

Door County may be a fabulous family vacation spot, a place where you can take the kids and the dog, but it's also a great place for adults to get away by themselves — and we've got the drinks to match it.

Sample the Suds

Wisconsin overall has a long beer history, and Door County is no different. But did you know that the area likely has Prohibition to thank for the booming craft brew culture now? In 1919, chemist and beer-brewing master Dr. Robert Wahl moved from Chicago to Door County’s Fish Creek when his brewing school was shut down along with all the beer taps in the country. And there, on his farm, he continued his exploration of brewing. If you’re looking to enjoy a great beer today, Door County has several great options for you.

Door County Brewing Co. in Baileys Harbor focuses on using as many local ingredients as possible. Every beer, whether seasonal or offered year-round, is named for a piece of local history — like Dark Skies, a dark lager that references Wisconsin’s only International Dark Sky Park (Newport State Park), and League Night, an homage to the area’s love of local sports.

Bridge Up Brewing in Sturgeon Bay embraces the same naming scheme — think Roofed Goat Red (goats literally graze on the roof of Al Johnson’s Swedish Restaurant) and Stubborn Sturgeon — but makes beer in small batches so the flavors on tap regularly change out.

Starboard Brewing Company, also in Sturgeon Bay, is Door County’s first nano-brewery — a brewery that produces beer in batches of only three barrels or less. That gives them the ability to constantly innovate and make experimental beers, like a Saison with grapefruit peel and peppercorn.

Over at One Barrel Brewing Company in Egg Harbor, try a beer or a blackberry hard seltzer at the second outpost of a popular Madison brewery, served with a wood-fired pizza from the on-site restaurant partner, Pizza Bros.

And at Peach Barn Farmhouse and Brewery, Sister Bay’s first microbrewery, the star of production is, appropriately, the peach. In the summer, the team sells fresh-picked peaches right in the taproom, and three of the nine beers they brew feature peaches in some way. You can also grab hard seltzer here. One tastes like summer but not like a peach — this one is a mango-margarita hard seltzer.

One Barrel Brewing Company

From vine and tree and bush to wine

Before beer came on the scene, wine was the OG drink of choice for Door County residents and visitors — regardless of whether it was made from grapes or other fruit.

At Red Oak Winery in Carlsville, you can clink glasses at a tasting based entirely on your palate; the family-owned business makes everything from dry reds to blueberry wine to a cherry port.

Near Jacksonport, Simon Creek Vineyard and Winery welcomes more than 60,000 visitors annually to their 30-acre vineyard. Every wine is award-winning — be sure to ask the staff about the Chicago mafia story behind their Untouchable Red and Untouchable White wines.

Stone's Throw Winery sits at the exact center of the peninsula, equidistant to Egg Harbor and Baileys Harbor. It opened in 1997 when owner Russell Turco brought fresh California grapes out to Door County to produce exceptional wine, which they make one barrel at a time.

Two Wisconsin natives opened Egg Harbor's Anchored Roots Vineyard and Winery in 2022 with six acres of vines. Those vines bear the still-forthcoming estate wine; the current offerings are made from Washington state grapes, as well as some of their own vintages debuting in 2023.

Door 44 Winery, near Sturgeon Bay, is another small operation with just six acres for growing. Build and enjoy your own charcuterie board featuring local cheeses and other snacks for the perfect wine pairing.

Founded in 1974 in a former two-room schoolhouse in Carlsville, Door Peninsula Winery produces the largest wine selection of any Wisconsin vintner. They started with fruit — cherry, apple, plum, and strawberry — and now have a portfolio of more than 70 fruit and grape wines, plus meads and ciders.

A quick hop north to Egg Harbor is Harbor Ridge Winery, which grows exclusively the hybrid red Marquette grape — specially developed to withstand colder temperatures. About 25 wines made from both grapes and other fruit are available.

Follow the vine!

The Door County Wine Trail leads guests on a straight shot up the peninsula to sip and celebrate the local terroir. Sip and sample for yourself at

Stones Throw Winery

Sip a Local Cider

In 1896, local grower Joseph Zettel officially introduced cherries to Door County, laying the path for the bountiful harvest the area enjoys today. But what most people might not know is that before Zettel grew cherries, he grew apples.

In the 1860s, Zettel found that the terrain in Door County was perfect for orchards, and three years before he began growing cherries, he entered more than 20 varieties of his own apples into a competition at the World’s Columbian Exposition, a world’s fair held in Chicago. Zettel brought home several medals, and the love for apples in Door County never faded.

Island Orchard Cider celebrates that heritage with more than 3,000 apple and pear fruit trees on Washington Island used for making hard cider. Every piece of fruit is harvested by hand in the fall, then shipped over on the Washington Island Ferry to Ellison Bay, where Island Orchard has their own production facility and cidery. Try unique flavor twists like Apple-Lavender and Norwegian Spruce Tip.

At Fish Creek’s Lautenbach’s Orchard Country Winery & Market, ciders are a family business. The orchard is on its third generation since it opened in 1955. Lautenbach Orchard’s terroir and fruit harvests are celebrated in their five cider options: apple, cherry, cherry-apple, raspberry, and pear.

Distilling Door County

Hatch Distilling Co. in Egg Harbor showcases everything the area has to offer, from the local honey used to make its vodka, gin, and limoncello to the heirloom grain for the whiskey grown at a nearby farm. 

Stop by Door County Distillery in Carlsville for tastings and tours. Unique cocktail recipes and ingredients help usher in the changing seasons, such as cherry vodka limeade, perfect for a summer afternoon; sip a bourbon pumpkin fizz while watching the leaves change color.

For the complete list of Door County breweries, wineries, distilleries and cideries, CLICK HERE.


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