One of Dane County’s oldest brewpubs is about to get new owners.
Robin Pharo and Tim Duerst are scheduled to purchase next week the Grumpy Troll Brew Pub in downtown Mount Horeb from Annette and Jack Slocum, who have owned the popular establishment since 2012.
Pharo, 49, and Duerst, 50, are married and own Treysta Group, a development company that in 2014 built the Treysta on the Water, a mixed-use building along the Yahara River in Monona. Next month, the company will break ground on the Middleton Market, a 12,000-square-foot food hall in Middleton’s downtown.
The purchase of Grumpy Troll will expand the Treysta Group portfolio and ensure the brewpub, where Pharo and Duerst are longtime customers, will continue to be a part of Mount Horeb’s growing downtown. Pharo, who grew up on Madison’s East Side and Duerst, a Mount Horeb native, were approached by the Slocums at the end of 2018 to see if they were interested in the purchase, now scheduled to close on July 31.
“We’re big brewpub fans,” said Pharo, who lives with Duerst on a farm north of Mount Horeb. “We want to see its legacy preserved in Mount Horeb. We want to be true to the clientele.”
That will begin, Pharo said, with retaining the existing staff, which includes eight full-time and 40 part-time seasonal employees as well as award-winning brewmaster Mark Knoebl.
One of the first major changes to the business will be converting the upstairs pizza parlor into a full restaurant and pub, which will create more space for larger groups, Pharo said.
The brewpub opened in 1998 after Gail and Patrick Propsom spent about $1 million to convert a 1916 creamery building into the Mount Horeb Pub & Brewery. The couple sold the business in 2001. At least two other entities owned the business before the Slocums purchased the brewpub about seven years ago.
The Slocums could not be reached for comment but on Tuesday, Annette Slocum wrote on the Grumpy Troll Facebook page that she and Jack wanted to retire and spend more time with their family and friends.
“For those of you who know me, you’ll know the decision to sell The Grumpy Troll didn’t come easily,” she wrote.
“Jack and I would like to send a heartfelt thank you to all the patrons from around the world who have continued to support us over the years. We’d like to especially thank the Mount Horeb community — we never could have done it without you all and are deeply grateful to have been part of such a fantastic place.”