Robbinsdale has made arrangements for a new brewery to move into its popular downtown district. The city has purchased the former TCF Bank building downtown near the city's water tower and has a signed agreement for a microbrewery to move into the exurb located just 8 miles northwest of downtown Minneapolis.
While much work remains before a new brewery can open, Steve Carlyle of OC Mechanical has agreed to own and operate a taproom-focused facility that focuses on small batch local brewing. It will be a welcome complement to the city's growing foodie culture already exemplified by such institutions as Travail/the Rookery and Nonna Rosa's Italian restaurant.
OC Mechanical has done brewery build-out work on breweries throughout the state and will hire an experienced brewmaster for the still-in-development business, which is tentatively named the Wicked Wort. Wort is the grain derivative that is used to create beer.
The building has been vacant for two years and the city recently purchased it in an effort to spur development. Although licensing work still remains, the new brewery needs Planning Commission, City Council, and general public approval before it can obtain a liquor license and begin brewing. April 2015 is the earliest the new business may open.
"We're a small community with a lot of locally owned businesses," Mayor Regan Murphy. "[A brewery] is a unique building that can express who we are as a community. We love to get together and be social," he says.
The plan is to produce beer onsite without a canning or bottling line, sell growlers for local visitors, and remain focused on the regional customer base rather than on statewide distribution. The taproom will not serve food but will instead encourage visitors to bring food in from neighboring establishments.
It's a long road ahead, filled with legal delays and committee approvals, but Robbinsdale residents are voicing their enthusiasm for local beers.
"I enjoy trying new beers," says Murphy, whose favorite brew is currently Surly Cynic. "I'll be waiting in line when they open."
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