After cutting back distribution earlier this year, Summit announces layoffs

The layoffs are the first in Summit's history.

The layoffs are the first in Summit's history. Bruce Bisping/Star Tribune

Founder Mark Stutrud insists it isn't as bad as it sounds -- but what it sounds like is that trouble's brewing over at Summit.

Yesterday, the longstanding St. Paul brewery announced it was laying off about 10 percent of its 100-person team, the first-ever layoffs since the company was founded in 1986.

For his part, Stutrud is putting on a brave face. “We’re doing fine,” he told the Pioneer Press. “We’re not going anywhere.”

Stutrud insists that the brewery is "being very proactive," that they're "keeping ahead of the curve and making some adjustments,” according to PiPress. He added that as the market continues to evolve and grow -- there were just a few craft breweries in town when Summit got its start, and now it feels like a new one opens every week -- they're making other, non-staffing changes to stay competitive. Stutrud says they're updating their taproom and patio, and that more new beers are on the horizon.

The layoffs follow May's announcement that Summit would no longer distribute to six states: Pennsylvania, Ohio, Illinois, Indiana, Nebraska, and Michigan. As CP reported at the time, Summit was available in 17 states as of 2014. That figure later dropped to 11 and now sits at just five: Minnesota, Iowa, Wisconsin, North Dakota, and South Dakota.

So... about that craft beer bubble?

"Yes, the growth rate in craft beer is slowing. No, we haven’t reached a saturation point," Growler's editor in chief Joe Alton tweeted in sharing the Summit story, prompting Fair State head brewer Niko Tonks to chime in: "It's all just moving around now. Who knows how much longer the churn will last."

Only time will tell, it seems. Here's hoping that at Summit, things don't go downhill from here.