Bang Brewery photo by John P. Swanson
The smell of hops and the letter "B" must be in the air as Bang Brewery and Burning Brothers Brewery are both in the process of finishing their new spaces in Ward 4. Bang owners Sandy and Jay Boss-Febbo have built a unique new brewery building on the corner of Hersey and Capp Road, near the old Minnesota Transfer rail yards in the heart of the Midway. Bang will have a small tap room when they open, in addition to supplying some local bar/restaurants. The Boss-Febbos are focused on local sourcing and supplying local businesses with a high quality product.
Burning Brothers, which will be the only dedicated gluten-free brewery in the Midwest, is building out their new space in a warehouse on Thomas Avenue near Fairview. The Burning Brothers duo of Thom Foss and Dane Breimhorst got their name from one of their former professions, flame-throwing and fire-eating at the Renaissance Festival, among other places. They hope to fill a growing local and regional market niche, and to eventually have a tap-room on site as well. Our zoning regulations very recently wouldn't have allowed them to have a taproom, but I worked with City Staff and the Planning Commission to make changes to current zoning laws to allow the sale of malted beverages on the site of a brewery in business and traditional neighborhood districts. A vote on this matter will occur next week.
Additionally, in the past six months, Urban Growler Brewing Company and Fair State Brewing Cooperative have contacted me with interest in siting new craft breweries in the Ward, with their primary interest being in the Midway industrial area near light rail. Please feel free to show all of these breweries some Ward 4 and Saint Paul love!
To the west of us, Surly, the established, popular Brooklyn Park-based brewery, is moving ahead with plans to relocated and expand at a site on Southeast 5th Street in Minneapolis right on the St. Paul border (just to the northwest of KSTP).
Historically, when breweries were typically massive operations, City zoning was set up to separate beer production, distribution, and retail sales into different locations and zoning districts. In addition to making taprooms viable through zoning changes, Councilmember Brendmoen and I have asked the Planning Commission to undertake a broader zoning study for these uses. The new trend of craft and micro-brews (with about one new brewery opening each day in the U.S. right now), are forcing cities across the country to rethink these kinds of zoning restrictions, and I think appropriately so.