Wildwood Brewing, located just north of the Stevensville Junction at 4018 Highway 93, was first dreamed up in the mind of Jim Lueders many years ago back in Chicago. Jim made the move to Montana in 1979 for schooling and by 1981 he was home-brewing his own beer. This opened the door for him to work at Bayern Brewery in Missoula. Jim also spent nine months during 1990 in Munich, Germany, learning all about brewing, malting, and soft drink technology at Doemens Academy. He returned home to find himself working in Portland, Oregon for Saxer Brewing Company. This would be an important step in Jim’s career as eventually he was able to purchase equipment to start his own company, Wildwood.
In 2008, construction for Wildwood was underway. Jim learned the value of sustainability and wanted to carry that into building his company. So he incorporated as much recycled materials as possible in the production of the building. From using fly ash from the Eastern Montana coal burning power plant in the concrete, to timbers salvaged from an old barn in Wisconsin from 1901, to using 100% recycled metal for the roof. It took some time to build and the it wasn’t until 2011 that the inside of the building was finally able to be finished. This is when the brewing tanks and equipment were installed.
In 2012, the brewing of the first beer began, Mai Bock, labeled Bodacious Bock. Jim was proud of this brew and knew it was a keeper. More brews followed: Discerning Pilsner, Mystical Stout, White Bark Wheat and Ambitious Lager. All the brews are organic. With these brews perfected, Wildwood quietly opened its doors to the public on March 16, 2012.
The vision of Jim and Wildwood is to create a sustainable, cyclical network of businesses that support each other by converting waste streams into value-added resources for other industries.
Wildwood is open to the public Tuesday through Saturday from 4 to 8 p.m. There are beer tours every Saturday at 4 p.m. Each month there are fun family-friendly events. Coming up on January 6th its National Bean Day with a Chili Cook Off. On January 10th, there will be a VSOP tapping of a 365-day-aged-in-whiskey-barrel beer.