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Goose River Brewing to open in downtown Hillsboro

Owner Terry Sando hopes to hold a soft opening with a limited restaurant menu as early as this week.

Goose River Brewing.jpg
Final touches are being made to Goose River Brewing in Hillsboro, North Dakota, which could open with a limited menu as soon as next week.
Contributed / Terry Sando

HILLSBORO, N.D. — With the Hillsboro Cafe open under new ownership and a new coffee and ice cream shop on its way, Goose River Brewing will be one of a few new businesses this spring in downtown Hillsboro. Owner Terry Sando hopes his soon-to-open brewery will help make downtown a destination.

“We think a brewpub will help do that,” said Sando. “With some of the beer apps and stuff that is available to help locate us, we’ll hopefully be able to draw some people off I-29.”

He hopes to hold a soft opening with a limited restaurant menu as early as this week.

“We’re going to hold off on the grand opening until we have our first batch of beer,” he said.

Once fully operational, Goose River Brewing will be a family-friendly brewpub establishment with food and drinks. Beer will be sold on and off sale, and the bar will have 24 taps. Sando says half of those will be Goose River Brewing beer that rotates with each season. Once the kitchen is open, the menu will include food that uses the brewery’s own beer — things like beer cheese soup, beer brats and different varieties of chili.

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Over the last few weeks, the building has undergone health and safety inspections while Sando puts in the finishing touches and finalizes licensing. While work remains before the brewpub is fully operational, the project is inching closer to completion.

The business plan for Goose River Brewing was established before the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, but the pandemic and related supply chain issues have slowed the process.

“Some of the pieces of kitchen equipment went six months before they got delivered, so it’s just been kind of a cascading effect of the pandemic, transportation and the lack of materials,” he said. “Unfortunately, the price of the project is probably about 28% higher than what we expected because of the cost of materials and equipment.”

It was important to Sando to work with local businesses for contractor services and materials, like flooring and lumber, but even local businesses were affected by supply chain delays and worker shortages.

“Staying with our local community, which I thought was important, probably extended another six months or so just simply because even though they’re working, they don’t have that big labor force they can fall back on,” he said.

Sando, the mayor of Hillsboro and a member of the Hillsboro Economic Development Corporation, has the community at the forefront of his mind while thinking about the future of Goose River Brewing.

“Supporting the community is a big part of what we want to do,” he said.

The Hillsboro EDC holds a charitable gaming license, and Goose River Brewing will rent space to the EDC for a few electronic games and a paper machine.

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“We’ll start out initially with a small footprint to support the Hillsboro EDC so that those charitable gaming funds go to help other businesses expand or to help start new businesses in Hillsboro,” he said.

As the weather warms and Goose River Brewing becomes fully operational, Sando plans to hold regular events for the community.

“I want to try to establish one permanent day per month, where we have what we call a ‘tapping of the keg’ event, and we’re looking at the first Friday (of every month),” he said. “It’s kind of a tradition down in the Southeast that gets to be a big deal in the summertime, and everything from small bands to classic cars line up along the main streets of cities and towns there and they celebrate, so I’m going to use the first Friday up here in North Dakota.”

Sando, who says he is new to social media, gives regular progress updates on the brewery on the Goose River Brewing Facebook page . With anticipation growing among followers in the comments, he always tells them one thing: “Stay thirsty, Hillsboro!”

Related Topics: LOCAL BUSINESS
Ingrid Harbo joined the Grand Forks Herald in September 2021.

Harbo covers Grand Forks region news, and also writes about business in Grand Forks and the surrounding area.

Readers can reach Harbo at 701-780-1124 or iharbo@gfherald.com. Follow her on Twitter @ingridaharbo.
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