Updated: Wausau’s famous train depot could become a distillery

City gives rehab loan for new distillery in historic train depot

A new distillery planned for a train depot on Wausau’s east side got the final green light Tuesday from the city’s finance and economic development committees. Central Time Distillery’s renovations to the former train depot at 720 Grant St. will be complete by fall.


Work on the vacant building will include large glass doors, a fireplace, updated plumbing and electrical, landscaping and parking lot repaving. Distillery owners Dan Weber, the head brewer at Great Dane in Wausau, and Kimm VanDen Heuvel, who works as the team leader at Target in Weston, received approval for a $200,000 commercial rehabilitation loan from the city to fund the project, estimated at $350,000 plus furnishings and equipment.

Built in 1901, the depot served the Hiawatha Line until that route ended service in 1970. The building then housed a variety of businesses and organizations, including the Boy Scouts and Head Start. Underused for many years, it has been vacant since 2015.

The building’s handsome architecture became iconic when Wausau Insurance adopted it into the company’s logo in 1954 and used it in marketing across the U.S. for over half a century. After buying the company, Liberty Mutual retired the Wausau Insurance brand in 2009.

Because the commercial rehab loan is an on-going program, the full city council isn’t required to take any further action. In other words, it’s a go.