“We’re tired of driving into the Cities to get good beer," says Steve Hayes, one of three co-founders of Omni Brewing Co. in Maple Grove. “There’s nothing out where we live."
A young population and a busy restaurant scene between Maple Grove and nearby Plymouth and Osseo make the northwest 'burbs a perfect fit for a new craft brewery.
“There’s a lot of people just like us here,” adds co-founder Justin Walsh. “We don’t mind going to Northeast once in a while but we’d do it more often if it was closer by.”
Maple Grove wasn’t always the plan. Head brewer Zack Ward lives in Medina and the team scoured that city for a fitting location first, but couldn’t find the right building. Later, they expanded the search and not only did they find the perfect spot, they found Maple Grove. With so many restaurants nearby, it makes a natural pairing to get their beer out to more people.
“At the end of the day we’re thrilled to be here,” Ward adds. “We think it’s a much better spot for us.”
The building was the real find for getting their brand going. A former Schwan’s distribution center, it comes with some key brewery needs already in place. The floors are sloped for drainage and it features a walk-in cooler. Any demolition will mostly be to create public and handicap access for the taproom, while the brewhouse will be a matter of arranging the pieces. A collection of solar panels out back will power the building.
As for that taproom, Ward plans to start off with a session ale, an IPA, a DIPA, and a Scotch ale, increasing taplines with time. He describes his preference in beer as leaning toward the malty, while co-founder Justin Walsh prefers more hoppy beers.
Omni will open in late summer, pending equipment delivery, licensing, and construction schedules. They currently have a Kickstarter online to help raise funds for taproom furnishings with rewards that include half price growler fills (for life) and a mugs-for-the-price-of-a-pint deal (also for life!).