Local breweries continue to grow


There are nearly 50 breweries in the Twin Cities metro, and plenty more on the way. Even the Surly founders, who fought for the bill that allowed the taproom boom to happen in the first place, probably didn’t realize how many craft brewers call Minnesota home.

But it’s not just about opening up a brewery. It’s not just about serving your beer to thirsty patrons in the attached taproom. It’s also about keeping up; adapting and evolving as you realize just how thirsty those patrons really are, and what they want.

Bauhaus Brew Labs, who changed the game in (and set a new standard for) brew design when they hit the scene in 2014 with their colorful cans and instantly-recognizable branding, continue to make a name for themselves in an increasingly-busy industry.

Now, Bauhaus, a part of a Northeast Brew District that includes Able Seedhouse, Indeed, Dangerous Man, 612, Sociable Cider Werks, and Fair State all nearby, is expanding. A lot. The brewery is adding a new warehouse in Fridley as a “primary shipping, receiving and distribution point,” as well as expanding their production facilities at their current location, and revamping their taproom with new lighting, signage, and other state-of-the-art improvements.

Read the details in a blog post on the subject, here: THE BREWING WÜNDERLAND EXPANDS

And they’re not alone. With the new breweries opening up in and around the metro, the old guard must also shake off the dust to keep up.

Summit Brewery, which needs no introduction as the godfather of Minnesota’s craft brewing industry (opened 1986), continues to innovate, and dominate, and prove, perhaps, that there wasn’t any dust to begin with: They just won (another) award at the Great American Beer Festival in Denver, the silver medal for their classic Extra Pale Ale.

But, as we mentioned before, it’s not just about brewing and selling beer. Or winning awards, for that matter (though it doesn’t hurt). We’re in an age now where the place to drink it is becoming just as important as the drink itself; that if the taproom isn’t up to snuff then the thirstiest among us will simply go to the next one.

And, as we keep saying, there are plenty to choose from.

“…it’s time to upgrade the experience for beer drinkers when they come visit,” as Summit founder and president Mark Stutrud says.

Right. The experience.

Summit’s overhaul and redesign of their taproom, building a grand new entrance front and center (the entrance was hidden around to the side before), and bringing the bar forward to cut considerably the time it will take to get your hands on your first beer. It’s a massive area, so the idea as well is to make it a little more welcoming; incorporating a bit of “neighborhood gathering space” into the design.

Brewing: The spectacular now

There’s been discussion, for quite a few years now actually, about when the Twin Cities’ craft brewery bubble is going to burst. That we can’t sustain all the taprooms opening, and how many more are opening soon. That, at some point, people will grow tired of their sours and their IPAs and their seasonal offerings and go back to drinking Bud Light on the couch.

As exemplified by these comments on the Pioneer Press article Thirsty, St. Paul? Brewery boom continues with 5 more on the way:

But here’s the rub. There’s no “bubble” that’s going to burst, simply because we haven’t reached a saturation point. It’s not about how many there are; Breweries/taprooms are just the newest way to have a/go out to drink. They’re just a different sort of pub/dive/bar.

And they’re setting the bar high.

Photo courtesy of the Bauhaus Instagram page

Focusing on a unique drinking experience, incorporating the notion of “craft” into both the beer itself and the space in which to enjoy it, bringing drinkers from all walks of life into the operation, creates a nightlife (or daylife, some days. Happy hour and all. Sundays, often, after breakfast. Don’t judge.) experience unlike any other.

Excited about new breweries opening? We can still be. Supporting our favorites that are here? That, too. Watching an increasingly robust Twin Cities craft brewing scene continue to expand, build upon itself, burgeon into something that holds its own with any other city in the country?

We’ll drink to that.