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Lots brewing as Minneapolis becomes City of Microbreweries

The City of Lakes is also becoming the City of Microbreweries.

Harriet Brewing, which just celebrated its one-year anniversary, has been granted the first Minneapolis license to open a taproom. Which means you can go to there and buy yourself a pint to drink on the premises.

And here comes Fulton Brewing. Its taproom license received clearance Monday from the City Council’s Regulatory, Energy and Environment Committee.

It was a busy brewing day for the committee.

It also approved an off-sale license for Boom Island Brewing that will allow them to sell growlers, 64-ounce bottles that are purchased directly from a brewery.  Boom Island has not applied for a taproom License. Not yet anyway.

Dangerous Man Brewery in Northeast Minneapolis was granted a brewing license last fall.

“We’ve started an industry that will have, I believe, 100 jobs by the end of the year,” said Council Member Gary Schiff. “We changed laws that allowed an industry to start. We’re a perfect city for brewing because we have a brewing heritage.”

After state laws were changed to allow breweries to sell pints for consumption onsite, the Minneapolis City Council wasted no time in adjusting city ordinances to make the most of the brewing opportunity.

The sale of growlers and the possibility of a taproom are important to the new breweries because they bring in cash. Early cash.

“The capital expenditures of brewing are so great,” said Jim Diley, a co-founder to Fulton Brewing. He characterizes the wholesale business as the “life blood” of the beer business while growler and taproom sales create an important early revenue stream. He estimates Fulton will have 13 to 20 employees by the end of the year.

Fulton expects to have its 60-seat taproom open by the start of the Minnesota Twins season in early April. Its brewery is just over the left-field wall of Target Field.

Diley said that opening Fulton to the public for growler sales attracted everyone from people living in the neighborhood to a family from northern Minnesota who wanted a tour. 

Kevin Welch of Boom Island Brewing is looking forward to those growler sales.

“We’re very, very [yes, two verys] excited to be able to bring more craft beer to the area,” he told council members after his off-sale license was approved.  And they are excited to have him doing business in Minneapolis.

“This has been part of the revitalization of North Minneapolis,” said Council Member Diane Hofstede, who represents Boom Island’s North Loop location.

Schiff sees more than the revitalization of a neighborhood.  He sees the global implications. “This is a re-distribution from global beer companies to local, neighborhood breweries and this fits perfectly with the homegrown movement.”

Watch out, Budweiser.  Here comes Fulton.

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