EDAM Summer Conference Recap

Thursday, August 08, 2019

Main News Photo

Economic developers, business leaders, emerging professionals and policymakers convened in Duluth in June for the Economic Development Association of Minnesota’s annual summer conference. The APEX team learned a lot at the many breakout sessions and was able to facilitate several important discussions.

The North Shore’s Craft Brewery Industry

It’s no secret that the North Shore has become a popular craft brewery destination, led by innovative and entrepreneurial brewing pioneers. Brian Hanson helped kick off the EDAM 2019 Summer Conference by moderating an exciting panel discussion between Jamie McFarlane of Castle Danger Brewery, Dave Hoops of Hoops Brewing Company and Lars Kuehnow from Lake Superior Brewing.

Regional craft breweries are doing much more than merely attracting droves of beer-loving tourists. They’re providing unique community gathering spaces, creating production and service jobs for the local community, pushing the envelope in craft beer innovation and opening doors for distilleries, cider houses and wineries.

Starting a brewery doesn’t happen overnight. Panel participants discussed the opportunities and challenges in site selection, the availability and treatment of water and navigating both local and state regulations pertaining to production breweries.

All three breweries offer something different to the public in terms of atmosphere. Lake Superior Brewing is an old-school hidden gem. It’s a bit off the beaten path, per se and is a haven for local and visiting beer lovers. Hoops Brewing Co. brings a German-style beer hall to the heart of Duluth’s Canal Park. Innovative brews and a fun atmosphere keep everyone coming back for more. Castle Danger Brewery in Two Harbors has more of an Up North destination brewery vibe. Increased demand for Castle Danger brews is creating opportunities for a revised business model.

Together with many other local brewers, MacFarlane, Hoops and Kuehnow are doing great work to strengthen the local craft industry and diversify our regional economy.

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