Minnesota: the land of 10,000 lakes and 114 craft breweries. Just a decade ago, there were five breweries up and running in the state. That’s an increase of 2,180 percent. That’s quite the boom. 25 of the 114 breweries opened their doors in 2015. What makes craft beer great? What makes Minnesota an even greater place to brew it, distribute it, and drink it? There are probably 10,000 reasons why.
2015 Was One for the History Books
If watching what the beer giants do in the industry is any indication, the state of craft beer is a lively one. Anheuser InBev bought control of Golden Road, the biggest craft brewery in L.A.; Arizona’s largest Four Peaks; Breckenridge one of Colorado’s oldest; and Elysian, the Seattle brewery that operates a handful of brewpubs in the city. MillerCoors followed suit with the majority stake in St. Archer’s from San Diego and Lagunitas, based in Petaluma, CA. Minnesota is now one of 15 states that boasts 100 craft breweries or more, with the domestic total at an all-time high of 4,144. The Brewer’s Association said almost 75 percent of Americans now live within 10 miles of a brewery.
Enough numbers. It’s clear MN craft beer is not the new kid in town and it’s clear the trend isn’t a phase. So why did 25 breweries open in Minnesota alone in the past 12 months? Because beer sells. While craft beer is nowhere near the market share giant that domestic is, the trendy “drink local” phenomenon still garners attention despite being a relatively small piece of the overall beer picture in the U.S. Tastes are changing. Drinkers are far more discerning and crave more variety than the beer drinkers even a decade ago. It’s good to be a brewmaster these days, but it’s even better to be a beer drinker, period.
The North Star State
In the past five years, Minnesota’s alcohol industry has grown significantly thanks in large part to the Surly Bill. This allowed craft breweries to serve pints in addition to bottling and kegging their brews for distribution. The whole concept of craft breweries shifted to one of hospitality. Suddenly people who were passionate bathtub brewers had the opportunity to turn their hobby into a career. They had an avenue to drum up capital, purchase equipment, lease space, and sell beer to the public. An entire new wave of commerce was produced for the state, and with it, a unique new culture.
The beauty of craft beer is there is something for everyone. City Pages, an online social publication based in the Twin Cities, published an article just before Christmas on the 10 local beers you could serve to your family over the holidays. The piece was spot-on. Anytime you step foot into a craft brewery in Minnesota, you’ll see a mixed crowd.
Bernick’s Craft Beer Suppliers
Last month, Dean shared five signs suppliers are ready for a distributor that shared a little insight into what Bernick’s looks for in craft brewery partners. Currently, we represent 14 Minnesota-based breweries regarding their distribution, and 50 total spanning the country:
- 612 – Minneapolis
- August Schell Brewing Company – New Ulm
- Badger Hill – Shakopee
- Barley John’s Bew Pub – New Brighton
- Bent Brewstillery – Roseville
- Beaver Island Brewing Company – St. Cloud
- Castle Danger Brewing – Two Harbors
- Finnegans - Minneapolis
- Flat Earth Brewing Company – St. Paul
- Gull Damn – Nisswa
- Indeed Brewing Company – Minneapolis
- Insight Brewing – Minneapolis
- Summit Brewing Company – St. Paul
- Third Street Brewhouse – Cold Spring
2016 has already brought some exciting news for our local craft beer brands, with Beaver Island Brewing launching in January, and Barley John’s cans and draft outstate distribution and Insight’s can distribution for outstate markets also commencing.
We’re proud of our craft beer portfolio, and we’re proud to be a Minnesota company with such a rich tradition of beer. Let’s see what 2016 brings!