In the face of more breweries online than ever before and craft beer’s growth having slowed to 6% after years of double-digit growth, many Minnesota breweries are taking a bullish stance with big-time expansion plans.
Minnesota’s craft beer industry, which some estimate adds $742 million to Minnesota’s economy has been on a roll since the 2011 passage of the so-called “Surly Bill,” which, among other things, allowed brewers to sell beer at their on-site taproom.
And when you add to that the passage CBMTRA as part of the U.S tax code overhaul in December, which halves excise taxes for most of the nation’s 6,000 brewers, many of Minnesota’s craft breweries are poised to upgrade their acts.
According to the Pioneer Press Lift Bridge, the state’s seventh largest brewery, projects that the new facility will allow them to maintain their annual growth of 30% and expand their capacity from 2017’s 20,000 barrels up to 70,000 barrels over the next decade.
But Lift Bridge is far from the only Minnesota brewery with serious expansion plans…
Duluth’s sixth largest brewing operation, Bent Paddle Brewing will be adding a new and much larger taproom with its own experimental small-batch brewery right next to its existing production facility in 2018.
Minneapolis’ Modist Brewing is already in the process of expanding their North Loop presence with an upgrade that will not only double their overall capacity, but will also allow them to produce a greater variety of beers. A new canning line will be added, and with the addition two new egg-shaped foeders, Modist will be delving deeper into the wonders of wood fermentation in 2018.
Last October Brauhaus Brew Labs (which opened in 2014) announced plans to “to add three more fermenters early next year, which will increase the brewery’s production capacity from about 13,000 barrels to 20,000 barrels,” as well as a major tap room renovation.
The outlook is a bit mixed at St Paul-based Summit Brewing.
Facing mounting competition and slowing growth Summit, the state’s second largest brewer) laid off 10 percent of their staff in December according to The Star Tribune. But those layoff were part of a larger reorganization for 2018 which is placing increased emphasis on beer tourism in the region and a major taproom restoration.