Mark Stutrud, president of Summit Brewing Company; Jeff Lonto, author of "Legend of the Brewery: A Brief History of the Minneapolis Brewing Heritage;" Ted Marty, president of August Schell Brewing Company discuss Minnesota Brewing closures while Grain Belt Premium finds a new home....it's just the latest chapter in a long history of beer brewing in Minnesota. Strutrud, Lonto, and Marty also talk about what brewing has meant to the state and what the future may look like for local breweries.
Read the Text Transcription of the Audio.
(00:00:06) And welcome to midday. I'm Mike Mulcahy sitting in today for Gary eichten an era ended in st. Paul last month when the last big Brewery in town closed the old Schmidt Brewery on 7th Street a hundred and seventy people lost their jobs. And st. Paul lost a little bit of its history st. Paul had already lost the hams Brewery which was later owned by Stroh's and Minneapolis Grain Belt Brewery closed more than 25 years ago. There's news this week that Grain Belt will live on as a beer because August Schell brewing in neu-ulm has won the rights to use the name, but it all got us thinking about where the Brewing industry stands in Minnesota. A lot of people worked making beer around here over the years, but the breweries that remain are generally much smaller and make products that appeal to a more limited market. It wasn't always that way. Today on midday were talking about brewing in Minnesota. Our guests are Jeff. Llanto. He's a local historian who's written a book called Legends of the brewery a brief history of the Minneapolis Brewing Heritage. Also with us is marks touch rude president of the summit Brewing Company in st. Paul later in the hour. We'll talk to she'll president Ted Marty about his company's plan for Brewing Grain Belt. Now, you can join our conversation about beer and the history of the Brewing industry in Minnesota. If you're in the Twin Cities, give us a call at six five one two, two seven six thousand 6512276 thousand if you're listening outside the Twin Cities, it's a toll-free call one eight hundred two, four two two eight two eight one eight hundred two four to Twenty Eight Twenty Eight and thanks for being with us today in the studio. Gentlemen, Mark statue. Let me start with you. Give us sort of the big picture overview of the Brewing industry that they're obviously the big guys like Anheuser-Busch. Obviously. Yes, how much of the market do they control (00:02:05) well within to put things in perspective by the end of 2001 and has her Bush sold almost 100 million barrels of beer and in second place Miller Brewing company sold almost 40 million barrels and cores at 22 million barrels. (00:02:23) So that's Barrel is 32 gallons (00:02:26) 31 gallons, actually. Yep, and collectively if you include Pabst these for Brewers have almost 80% market share. Wow this (00:02:37) so is there room anymore for sort of a mid-level brewer. Like I guess Stroh's used to (00:02:42) be or heilman. Yeah, the regional or the second tear-proof Brewers as they're called really have been beat up over the years through all the marketing and pricing practices of the larger. Reese it's been very difficult for the regional Brewers to compete and in addition to that their their facilities were pretty substantial size. So as their sales continued to decline it was more and more difficult for them to cover their overhead. What's really put them in a competitive disadvantage disadvantage (00:03:17) and there's been you know, obviously a lot of concern about drinking and driving and really and you know health related things and have overall beer sales been going down or up or (00:03:28) overall beer sales have passed a few years have been essentially flat. However, there are certain segments within the industry that have been growing for the past couple of decades past 15 years. For example, the craft Brewers are the smaller breweries have enjoyed a lot of growth and success those rates of growth. However have been fueled by the openings of particular Brewery. So now is this segment is maturing and settling in so to speak. You have a number of breweries that started out quite small that are now very Regional Mainstays albeit. It's a smaller piece of the market the craft beer brewing segment represents about three percent of overall us beer sales the imported beers which constitute about 12 percent of sales have been growing very well in the past few years. And this has to do with again tying in with a more moderate drinking goes hand in hand with being much more selective in discriminatory because all of a sudden that light beer may not be all that satisfying (00:04:31) and where does your company Summit fit in our you craft (00:04:36) Brewer? We were considered yes a craft Brewer. We've always considered ourselves a local Brewer Regional Brewer. There are a lot of other terms we started out in the trade as being a microbrewery, but we outgrew that designation to wear ironically after 16 years of being in business now, we're actually the largest Brewer Of our own proprietary products in the state of (00:04:56) Minnesota. Wow, and and now there were a hundred and seventy people are so working over at the Schmidt Brewery Credit Landmark Brewer, Minnesota Brewing, whatever they called it on 7th Street there how many people work at Summit Brewing? (00:05:10) We have 42 employees, which is a lot different from 1987 when there are six of (00:05:14) us. Wow, but still it's a different scale than than you know, these big breweries (00:05:20) obsessed and and that's exactly right and we're projecting sales of are buried about 50,000 barrels by the end of 2002 to put things in perspective (00:05:31) again, as compared to what a hundred million for Budweiser wasn't that's correct. Wow, and Jeff llanto. Now, let's get you involved in the conversation. You have taken a look back at the history of brewing in this region. How did these big breweries that we that we knew of in the past? How did they come to be around (00:05:51) here? Well it started. Primarily in the middle 19th century and in the Midwest and particular you had the you know, the the grain farmers and the growing wheat and the various screens are used to make beer and plus he had a lot of German immigrants coming into the Midwest and therefore Minnesota Wisconsin was Major area for the Brewing industry to start up and that was around as I say in the mid-nineteenth century is when it got big in this (00:06:30) region. Hmm and I suppose a lot of German immigrants and and it just kind of they brought maybe the recipes over from the old country and it went down here correct and at its height when was the height of brewing in this area. Do you have any (00:06:46) idea? Well, you know it it I would say the height of brewing in this era would priority area would Believe be after prohibition during the 20th century. Now, of course, he had somewhat of a fluctuation as to you know, when you know, what periods of time that people are drinking a lot of beer but I would put the height of it late 1950s and into the 1960s. That's when the the regional Brewers were at their (00:07:16) biggest any idea. How many people worked in in the industry around here at that point? Well (00:07:24) there, you know, the the breweries in order to operate usually had at least a hundred or so employees at you know, working sometimes three shifts depending on the size of the brewery. (00:07:36) So three four hundred people probably at least some of these big breweries the hams buried Grain Belt Brewery, (00:07:41) right? Yeah hams Greenbelt Schmidt Glick to a smaller extent in this market and then up north, you know, you had fit gers and and Northern you had a whole bunch of Brewers up up there and they yelled at Imports area as well and New Ulm had hauenstein and shells and here you go all over the country. There were Regional Brewers in every area and the local residents tended to be loyal to their local brand names (00:08:15) and where these good jobs that people had (00:08:18) well they were usually paid well, they were usually union jobs, and you could raise a family on them, and it was a good honest industry to be in. (00:08:31) All right. We're talking about the Brewing industry in Minnesota during this hour of midday talking about the past some of the Brand's you may have been familiar with Grain Belt hams Schmidt and about the future what happens next in this industry. If you'd like to join our conversation, give us a call the number to call if you're listening in the Twin Cities is 6512276 thousand. Five one two two seven six thousand outside the Twin Cities. It's a toll-free number 1-800 to four to Twenty Eight. Twenty eight one eight hundred two four two two eight two eight were joined in the studio by Jeff. Llanto. You just heard him talking. He's a local historian who's looked into a brewing in Minneapolis Grain Belt and specifically we're also joined by Mark statute. He's the president of the summit Brewing Company in st. Paul giving us a look at maybe what the future holds for the Brewing industry in this region and marks touch rude. Do you ever see the day when you would have to 300 people working at Summit and you know paying jobs that you know, people could raise families on (00:09:37) well, I would certainly hope so that would have over 100 employees within the next six to seven years. Hmm. We're looking at doubling our business with within about 5 to 6 years from now and it's where we have a very small base. But we have a very loyal base that continues to grow, (00:09:58) you know with these Regional Brewers and and sort of the grain belts the hams did the and this may be a technical question that you can't answer but was the recipe for beer really that different or was it all just pretty much the same product with a different label on it and people for whatever reason had their own (00:10:18) loyalties. Well, certainly a brand name makes the beer tastes better in people's minds and in our brain certainly influence our tongues. So to speak formulations of beer has changed dramatically over the past 150 years and particularly after prohibition was repealed. There was a huge emphasis on the surviving breweries wanted to get as large as possible as fast as possible and there was also a very strong movement of foot from a technical point of view to make sure that beer Very shelf stable and they were looking at techniques additives would have you to extend the shelf life of beer because now we had a situation where they're about 40 surviving breweries in the US that had a pretty wide ranging Market to take care of that definitely changed the flavor profile of beer and going into the several decades after that and to the 60s and 70s. There was this very strong movement to lighten the flavor of beer. And in other words beer had kind of lost its Heritage and its culture and its Soul. So to speak where in our society we were confronted with one particular style of beer this late American lager, and this is how we've been able to carve our Niche. So to speak of producing more distinctive flavorful old-fashioned or traditional styles of beer (00:11:45) and Jeff want to let me ask you a quick question about that. How did these breweries sort of evolved from you know, the local German? Hence, making you know as probably a fairly small number of barrels to more of the big breweries, you know, employing to 300 people. (00:12:04) Well, he explained it. Well a lot of that happened after prohibition and the breweries wanted to grow quickly and then plus the had the consumers beyond the German immigrants again consumers found that they enjoyed beer as well. It was light. It was palatable not like hard liquor or not like wine. It was a good refreshing beverage and I think it was from the consumer standpoint added to the popularity of it wasn't just a drink for German immigrants. Hmm. Okay, we're going (00:12:41) to get to some listener calls in just a minute. But first we want to talk to Ted Marty who's the president of the August Schell Brewing Company in new all mr. Marty. Thanks for joining us. Thank you. Now you is the deal done. For Shell to start Brewing Grain (00:12:57) Belt. Well, they've accepted our Bid And there's some other issues that have to get finalized and then the deal is done. (00:13:05) Okay. Why were you interested in taking on the Grain Belt label? (00:13:09) Why were we? Yeah. Well, I think there's several reasons one. Obviously. Is there some volume that helps our situation down at the brewery. Another reason is it fits well into our product lines that we currently do and we obviously are very historic and legendary down there and we have a great interest in helping preserve that sort of history in Minnesota. (00:13:42) Is there a certain amount of brand loyalty to that point that comes with that brand? (00:13:47) Oh, absolutely. I think I think that's you know, one of the reasons that they're still grainbelt around is the fact that there are a lot of loyal drinkers that have some pride in their brand and and we hope to you know, continue (00:14:05) that and I don't want to get into any proprietary Secrets or anything, but would you imagine changing the recipe will you make it a (00:14:14) different sort? No, absolutely not. No. We want to make every Effort that we have every intention of keeping the recipes the same on the packaging the same the yeast the same. Yeah, we don't we're not out to change it. (00:14:30) I saw a chart in the paper the other day that I think it was looking at all the Minnesota Brewing Brands, but obviously Grain Belt among them and it it really, you know, a couple years ago. I think they were selling a hundred and thirty thousand barrels and it really took a dive over the past few years. I imagine mostly because they didn't have a lot of money to spend on advertising and things like that What Makes You confident you can you can bring that brand back up to a healthy healthy level of sales. (00:15:01) Um, well, I think you know, we bring some strengths and some stability to the brand we've been around for a hundred forty-two years and and I think we can reassure the consumer that we're not going anywhere for the next hundred forty-two years and You know, I think that's probably the most positive thing. We obviously are going to start marketing the product again that hasn't happened in a while to any great extent. So I think between the two of those, you know, we're gonna give it our best (00:15:41) shot. And how many are you going to have to add any people to do this or is it (00:15:46) we will we will you know, it's a little early to tell we want to see how the, you know, the volume works out and how it fits into our current production and then we'll have to you know, evaluate the you know, the needs that we're going to have we do know what that will need some (00:16:08) if you can get this all ironed out when might we see Grain Belt back on the (00:16:13) Shelf. Well, I think you know, our first priority is to make sure that there continues to be Grain Belt out there and we're working on that as we speak. So I think there's probably be maybe upwards of two weeks before the actual deal. Was finalized but in the interim there, you know, we're going to continue we're going to produce kind of on the temporary basis. That doesn't not on a temporary basis, but we are going to get some production started again. So, (00:16:50) okay. Well, I think so much for being with us again. Appreciate your joining (00:16:53) us. Okay. Well, thank you. (00:16:55) Okay, that's Ted Marty. He's the president of shell Brewing down in New Orleans and they have apparently cleared the way to buy the Grain Belt name and we'll start brewing that beer again. We're talking about brewing in Minnesota a lot of big changes over the past 15-20 years and a lot of changes may be yet to come and I did give out the phone numbers before and a lot of people have called. So let's go right to the telephones and get some listeners involved here. Tom is on the line for Minneapolis tag. Thanks for (00:17:27) calling. Thank you. Good morning. I kind of got a question on a comment for you. Okay. I have like my favorite. It was James page kind of their amber beer, and I guess that's my comment that I really like it and it seems to be in quite a few places. You can get it seemingly everywhere around town anyway, and I know it's in Northeast Brewery. I'm not sure where Northeast I live kind of Northeast. But I wonder if you tell us a little bit about the brewery itself and how big it is and what his chances of survival are in the in the heated market and that's my question. Thanks (00:17:59) guys. Okay, we don't have anybody from James page here Mark statute is as James page a (00:18:04) competitor of yours. Well, we certainly compete in the same category and James page Brewing Company started about a year after we did. So in a lot of ways were Brethren and in the point of view that were offering consumers additional choices other than light beers. They're they're located on Quincy Avenue Northeast just off from north of Broadway and just off from Central Avenue and there are about their sales are about 100. Under one fifth of our size. Okay, so not not quite (00:18:36) as robust as Summit is doing and I know that they had tried to sell some stock a while ago when I don't know how that worked out. (00:18:44) I think that they were able to sell some stock to some private investors and then continue to move forward. (00:18:51) All right, let's take another caller. Uh, Sarah is on the line from st. Paul Sarah. Go ahead, (00:18:56) please. Thank you. Good morning. I have a question for both Mark and Ted. I'd like to understand why Grain Belt failed and how moving it to shells how it can be made (00:19:08) successful. Okay, we had to let Ted go he was going to probably go out and Brew some Grain Belt Mark you were at least I saw an article where you were maybe a little bit interested in Grain (00:19:21) Belt, but we were certainly interested in the brand. Our disadvantage is at our particular Brewery was the fact that we do not do any canning or any returnable bottles, which is about 40 percent of the sales of the Grain Belt label. Secondly, we are a purist I guess a very traditional in our approach to brewing and we do not use any adjuncts such as corn rice or dextrose syrup is a part of our formulations. All of our beers are 100% malt and we would have stayed true to our philosophy and had we acquired the label we would have changed the formulation to fit the way that we practice our own Brewing choices now to go back to the caller's question in this stage of the game. When we look at Regional brands or craft Brands, whatever we want to call them. But let's just say Regional Brands the size of the facility has to match the market. It is just not profitable to take a large Brewery such as the old Schmidt Brewing Company and operated at about 15% of its production capacity and management has to be very careful with that kind of scenario. And so it goes back to in order to be profitable in this industry. You really have to identify the market and have your operations match that scale of sale. (00:20:45) And so I there would never be a day when Summit at least in the near term or in the foreseeable future when Summit brewing for example would would look at a facility like the Schmidt Brewery on 7th street and say, you know, maybe we could we could work out a deal to move in there. That's just not the the scale you (00:21:02) operate. It's not a part of the planet all that particular Brewery at its height was able to produce two million barrels of beer. Our capacity today is 75,000 and we can expand our plant in our side area up to about 275 thousand barrels of beer a year. Then we would be forced to look at another facility or a new one but to move into a brewery that has a lot of capacity and a lot of age on it can be very precarious thing and Ted Marty down at August. All is very well adapt and equipped to produce the beer and Ted's a good friend and he's a smart operator and he knows how to match his sails to the scale of his Brewery. (00:21:46) So it looks like a pretty good fit. You (00:21:48) think I think so, in fact of anybody in this state to be Brewing that brand I think it should be shells (00:21:54) Jeff. Llanto. What do you (00:21:55) think? Well as far as going back to the the caller's question, I think she said something along the lines of why did Greenbelt fail green build itself didn't fail the parent company failed and there's a whole host of reasons for that and you know, a lot of internal struggles and whatnot. It is my belief that with the Greenbelt label. There's a potential Goldmine there. You have to put out a good product and you have to promote it properly and if shells successfully does both things, I think green belts can last for many decades to come it's so it's a good traditional brand and during the 90s when Minnesota Brewing was Making at they were able to get younger drinkers into it interested in it. And in addition to the old loyalists after it has gone downhill under G hilum and Brewing Company in the 70s and 80s. And once again, it comes down to marketing. But you also have to put out a good tasting product as (00:22:56) well. Yeah, I saw one article that actually in the early 90s. I think it was that their sales for Grain Belt increased dramatically. Yeah, (00:23:04) especially while they won the 1994 gold medal award at the Great American Beer Festival in Denver for premium. Anyway, did Greenville premium and that was you know, a lot of extra publicity for them more restaurants and bars started carrying the brand more people started asking for it. And you know, plus there's that neon sign and Downtown Minneapolis from the 1940s at still they're displaying a giant green belt logo and that Keeps people reminded of the brand and its Heritage and there's been a lot of publicity with the old green bell pepper in Northeast Minneapolis at the renovation there at the snow the the headquarters of RSP Architects, but they've been doing some cross promotions and you know, that's been good publicity just for the Greenbelt name and itself and you put all that together and I think there is a lot of Romanticism behind that name and a lot of history and a lot of lore and and that appeals to people you just have to know how to Market Market it properly (00:24:11) Jeff. Llanto is with us today. He's a historian who's looked at the history of Minneapolis Brewing also with us marks touch rude president of the summit Brewing Company in st. Paul. We're talking about the Brewing industry in Minnesota during this hour and we'll have more in just a minute. It's Lynn row set of Casper this week on The Splendid Table. We're taking a look at the food culture of Apes we Sighs Yuppie eating with humorous Joe queenan and then Michael Stern Lynn, we want you to eat the kitchen sink at the edge of the California desert. Be sure to join us that The Splendid Table a show about life's appetites Saturday at 1 and Sunday at 3:00 on Minnesota Public (00:24:49) Radio. (00:24:55) Minnesota Public Radio relies on listeners to help pay for programming and operating costs to become a member click and join at Minnesota Public Radio dot-org. Thanks. It's 11:31. Now, let's check in with Greta Cunningham for an update of the latest news Greta. Thanks Mike. Good morning House and Senate negotiators have reached a compromise deal on a plan to crack down on corporate fraud that word comes from a republican official. No details are available on just what Provisions will be included in the measure its move quickly through Congress ever since Worldcom announced that it had erroneously accounted for nearly four billion dollars in expenses after an initial move lower. The stock market Stone has improved the Dow has been up as many as 200 points the NASDAQ and S&P 500 are also in positive territory in midday trading Europe's key markets were down sharply ahead of the opening bell on Wall Street. They have also recovered from their worst levels house lawmakers decide tonight whether James traficant should be booted out of Congress the Ohio Democrat will have at least 30 minutes. To defend himself and he promises he won't go quietly traficant has been convicted of bribery racketeering and evading taxes firefighters in California are worried. That wins my push a forty eight Thousand Acre Blaze closer to the Groves of ancient giant trees in Sequoia National Forest. Meantime authorities are looking for a woman who had allegedly claimed that her abandoned camp fire sparked the blaze in Regional news and Minnesota Health Department says, it has found two cases of West Nile virus in the state. The virus was found in two dead crows in Hennepin and relax counties State epidemiologist. Harry Hull says, the virus is transmitted by mosquitoes that feed on other animals. He says there is only a small risk that humans will contract the virus, but he says people should still take steps to prevent mosquito bites the forecast for Minnesota calls for showers and thunderstorms likely in central Minnesota today with a chance of thunderstorms in the north and south high temperatures today will range from 70 in the north east to near 88 in the southwest right now in Willmar still report US Light rain at 66 degrees. It's partly cloudy and warm the tenant 70 skies are fair in Rochester and 67. It's cloudy and Duluth and 68 and in the Twin Cities overcast Skies with a temperature of 68 Mike. That's a look at the latest news. Thanks Greta. You're listening to midday on Minnesota Public Radio. I'm Mike Mulcahy sitting in for Gary eichten today coming up at noon. We'll hear from journalist and author Mark Bowden. He's the author of Black Hawk Down and he was a was in Minneapolis recently talking about his new book called The Killing Pablo and we'll hear that at noon right now. We're talking about brewing in Minnesota the history of the Brewing industry in the state and what the future might hold for Brewing. We're joined by two guests in the studio Mark statute is president of the summit Brewing Company in st. Paul. Also, Jeff llanto. He's a local historian has written a book called legend of the brewery a brief history of the Minneapolis Brewing Heritage. And as always we welcome your calls and questions if you're listening in the Twin Cities the number two, All is six-five 12276 thousand 6512276 thousand outside the Twin Cities. It's a toll-free number 1-800 to four to Twenty Eight. Twenty eight one eight hundred two, four two two eight two eight and let's go right back to the phones. Andy is on the line for Minneapolis Andy. Thanks for hanging on with us. Go ahead. (00:28:17) Oh, thank you. I'm interested in your guests comments on the impact of the increasing popularity. And the number of flavored Malt Beverages coming from the hard liquor companies. (00:28:28) Okay flavored Malt Beverages. What Mark statute? What are those? (00:28:32) Well, a brewer would describe them as an alkyl pop. They tend to be a with they would describe any way as a malt based beverage and I say that with a qualification because usually these beverages only have about about 40% malt in them and then they use other sugars that are fermentable so they have something that might be considered beer. Then they run it through reverse osmosis and a lot of filtration. So you have this clear liquid that can be spiked with different flavors. Certainly. This is kind of grab the attention of some of the younger adult Drinkers and a certain part of our population and the packaging obviously speaks for itself where the it's not really positioned as beer but is something other than beer (00:29:22) and so it said like the Zima stuff (00:29:24) Zima. There are several Brewers and distillers that have been working together anywhere from Anheuser-Busch and Bacardi to Miller Brewing Company in and other distillers say with tequila manufacturers. (00:29:37) Are they trying to find new customers younger customers? Well, let's see. What's the average Beer Drinker? What is there a profile of the average Beer (00:29:45) Drinker? Well for us that particular Beer Drinker is really changing and moving constantly, but this is basically another segmentation. Of the industry where Brewers are looking for new products that would grab the attention of particularly the younger drinkers. It's on the lines of a wine cooler and some of us who had experience with those particular products, maybe 15 years ago kind of saw which way it went. (00:30:16) Alright, let's take another call here. David is on the line for Minneapolis David. Go ahead. (00:30:22) Yes. I have a question for Mark. I'm wondering about the possibility of summit perhaps Brewing an oatmeal stout or bringing back. I believe they had a sparkling ale few years ago. Well at this point in time, we do not have any new products on the drawing board. So to speak you're not the only person that's asked us whether or not we're going to do a stout or an oatmeal stout. Maybe sometime in the future is things move ahead. We did introduce two new beers last year our summit Grand Bohemian style pills. Her and then we also released an Oktoberfest. You're also not the only person that's brought up the sparkly nail which we produce for about three years. It was a nice seasonal summer product and we elected to replace that with our hey weizen, which is a Bavarian style wheat beer, but in I'm never going to say never and we may bring that beer sometime back in the future as well. (00:31:18) All right, I guess we'll have to see about that getting a little more specific here than than I am have much knowledge of let's see if I can from st. Paul has something to say. Hi Ken. (00:31:29) I would never have like the national beers thought they tasted rather insipid was wondering if back in the old days if they tasted better or if they had more more taste to them than they seem to these days. (00:31:42) Yes. You want to try that one. (00:31:44) Well, I think over the decades there has been a lot of reformulation as what was said earlier the trend went more toward lighter. Years, especially in the 1970s and 80s and back in the back in the 19th century beers were much more heavier and stronger a lot. Like the craft Brews of today are crafter. Is it today? I want to take after a lot of those original recipes. I think that well the trend toward later bureaus at started probably in the 1950s and the post-war generation people moving out to the suburbs. It kind of coincided with that and over the years things got a lot more light and insipid and I agree as far as I don't like corporate bruised either and I tried to avoid any Miller Anheuser-Busch products as much as possible personally (00:32:41) Mark what really is the difference between say Summit pale ale and Budweiser when it comes to the recipe and what you actually put in the (00:32:52) beer well, Nationally a brewer would use for ingredients to produce beer you have water malt, which is either produced from wheat or barley. We use Hops and yeast now with the emphasis on shelf stability and shelf life of beer because beer is really a perishable food product. There's no question about it and there has been such a demand of the customer for consistency and lightness to certain extent in the beer that Brewers have been using adjuncts increasing amounts to where typically a Budweiser a Miller maybe somewhere around 40 to 50% malt and the rest would be it would be either corn rice or simply dextro syrup. (00:33:42) And and when you say an adjunct that's just a something else to get that fermentation going (00:33:46) exactly. It's a it's a substitute for The Malt something that provides fermentable very neutral fermentable sugars that Is not have the baggage of protein along with it because Protein that's a part of the barley malt is also the the the piece that can create instability for the beer, you know, the analogy of beer and bread is very common in the one that I like to use to compare our products with with the national Brewers is and Garrison Keillor actually is as a lot of credit to this between his differentiation between st. Paul and Minneapolis, but and eyes are Bush and Miller are the Wonder Breads of the world, it's the most stable foodstuff known to mankind. We on the other hand or the producers of the Pumpernickel and the Rye and the Caraway and the 7-grain bread that you'd buy locally take it home and slice it and there's absolutely when it comes to flavor freshness complexity character. There's no difference between the two products. (00:34:48) All right, let's take another call Jim is on the line from Wilmer Jim. Go (00:34:54) ahead. Morning, say I got to say that Summit pale ale your Maybach and your Porter or just something else. They LL reminds me of tremendous amount of the old ballantine's a love the date bygone days. They I've been following some of the smaller breweries like a Cold Spring Brewery Hoover down in Monroe, Wisconsin and even shells as they produce these I guess you might call them, you know contract bruised. My understanding is even Sam Adams beer as a contract Brew. Can you comment a little bit about that and how that helps a brand survive (00:35:33) contract brewing (00:35:35) a contract Brewing was away for a brewery to become more efficient and profitable within their facility by utilizing capacity that had been dormant so to speak so if a brewery is able to do contract Brewing, it can be a pretty good partnership going back to Sam Adams Sam. Adams when they first started out they were certainly a contract Brew. They were more of a marketing organization than a brewing organization because they had used for large National breweries that were spread across the u.s. To produce their products. It's been about six years ago that they did buy a brewery in Cincinnati and about 40% of their production comes out of that facility in about 60 percent comes from another National Brewer at this point in (00:36:23) time so that it's not a Massachusetts. Let us (00:36:27) sort of brewing company did a lot of contract Brewing as well. That was one of the things that kept them going for the decade that they were around probably more so than the ethanol (00:36:37) plant. Is there. Is there any among the beer beer purest. Is there any problem with that? I mean if they were using the same recipe to make a say a Summit beer somewhere and I don't know st. Louis or somewhere if they use the same recipe, but they just made it in. Anheuser-Busch Barrel, would that make any (00:36:58) difference? It really doesn't make any difference in terms of the quality and the can the care of that that's a result with a beer the issue that consumers take with contract Brewing is how its represented because sometimes a contract Brew or contract beer is presented to the consumer as if it's really from a cozy little cottage industry some place in the countryside. So in that regard some consumers feel fooled, you know by that (00:37:30) Brewer. Okay. Let's take another call Pamela is on the line from Edina. Hello Pamela. (00:37:37) Hi many many years ago. My husband's family owned jorg Spear and st. Paul and I'm wondering if your guest knows anything about that or might be able to give me more details. Oh yards was the first Brewery that's set up in Minnesota. They started in Eight, which was one year before the founding of many Minnesota territory and it started in st. Paul and it managed to survive prohibition, but it finally went on business I believe is about 1952. So they've been around for a hundred and four years, but you can still find like at the collectors shows and places like that. You can still occasionally find some pieces of your words memorabilia. Although it's very valuable and find the old: tap cans or some signage or cardboard signs and and that kind of thing it's valuable stuff. But yeah, they're historic in the sense that they were Minnesota's first Brewery. Hmm, (00:38:36) and I imagine prohibition must have been a terrible time for (00:38:41) breweries. Well what the breweries did to stay in business as they made other products. Well Grain Belt Minneapolis Brewing Company made soft drinks and near beer and ointments and things like that and Pabst Made cheese and shells made Kandi. I think it was or malted milk and these breweries would blast made Kandi and I saw an ad from the 20s for Blatz chewing gum and that's how a lot of them stayed in business and a lot of the Brewers figuring prohibition wouldn't last as long as it did and some of them ended up folding because they couldn't compete in the market without that product. But the ones that did survive prohibition, I mean once again, they wanted to get as big as possible and try to become more vigorous and really push their products (00:39:35) interesting. All right, let's take some more calls here. Tom is on the line from st. Paul Tom. Hello. Welcome to midday. (00:39:42) Thank you. I have a question. I actually have two questions one is could somebody speak to how long basically raw product to the to a bottle of beer in the liquor store happens for either a The brewery versus Summit Brewery say and number two. Could you speak to the how distribution Works in terms of especially for smaller Brewery like Summit how the distribution would work if they want to expand their Market either out of state or out into the out State areas of Minnesota. (00:40:14) Okay, two good (00:40:15) questions. Okay. First of all, when it comes from Robert raw materials to the consumer a brewing cycle within the facility is roughly 21 days for most beers some special beers, maybe a little bit longer and some males may be a little bit shorter. But if we look at about a three week cycle and then typically what we have in our inventories at the brewery is about two weeks in our wholesalers have about two weeks Supply. So what we shoot for as we like to get our beers to our customers within a month to 45 days the shelf life of our products are anywhere from ninety to a hundred. In 20 days and really the national Brands aspire to hit the same type of deadlines because as I said before beer does change in its flavor and it is perishable distribution distribution the second question. It's a very important one as the Brewing industry is Consolidated on the supply side and as breweries of closed and there are fewer breweries around there's been a lot of consolidation within the distribution level as well as a brewer. We're a manufacturer and then we ship our beer to a beer distributor or a beer wholesaler and they in turn sell that beer to a retail account whether or not it's a liquor store or a restaurant or a nightclub and it's very important for us to have access to a new market. We do need to identify and find a particular wholesaler who is interested in our products and Now there are fewer and fewer choices. For example, since Summit brewing company has been around in the past 16 years. I think there are somewhere around 30% less beer distributors in the state of Minnesota. So there are fewer opportunities and fewer companies to deal with and then secondly along with the consolidation that's happened on the wholesale side the large National Brewers with their clout with their Deep Pockets. They do whatever they can to control. So to speak the wholesalers that they work with which adds a little bit more of a more of a competitive challenge for (00:42:30) us. So it sounds like it's kind of a Cutthroat (00:42:34) business. It can be a very Cutthroat business and that's where sound management and good products and staying with the customers or (00:42:42) key and you just have to rely a lot on sort of Word of Mouth people will come into an establishment and say hey, do you have Summit? Why not? And can you get it? (00:42:50) Well Word of Mouth recommendations from fram'd friends or waitstaff. You can now put a value on that. That's the most powerful type of advertising you can get is when a friend would sit down with you and say I want to share a beer with you but we certainly have our own sales staff. We have six people on our sales force and in our success, we would not have enjoyed the success that we have today without our own internal sales staff. (00:43:17) All right, let's get some more callers on Yale from st. Paul. Hello. (00:43:22) My question is have you ever considered making your beer kosher certified? I know that korres does that with the regular bands and their kilograms of beer and also Red Hook also does and I think there's like one or two other microbreweries. I mean just maybe a way that I don't think it cost a lot and might get an additional business. We have looked at that we did look at that at our old facility and then we decided to move into our new Brewery, which is about three and a half years ago before we revisit that issue. And it's something we were certainly (00:43:57) considering. All right, let's take another caller Paul from st. Paul. Hello (00:44:02) Paul. Yeah. Hello. I'm sorry I missed said Marty but maybe just can note the status of the Grain Belt billboard on Nicola Thailand right at Hennepin Avenue in Minneapolis. Well wonder what's going to happen to that now that the there's taken over by new company. Well the company that was making Green Belt did not own that that property that's owned by some private property owners. The neon on its was originally shut off when the original Greenville Brewery closed in the in the mid 70s and there was turned back on again because some investors were able to put some money into an hilum and had a hand in it in the summer of 1989 and then after a while that over over time there were some arguments as to who was responsible for maintaining it and paying The electric bill so they ended up shutting it off again and there's been a lot of talk about raising the money to restore it and get it turn it back on. We're still awaiting that but as far as I'm aware, there are no plans to tear it (00:45:10) down. Hmm. Okay. Chris is calling from st. Paul Chris. Go ahead, please. (00:45:17) Hi. I've got a question about some of the kind of strange Minnesota laws that seemed to discourage small craft breweries from even existing. I mean, for example in Minnesota farm wineries have a pretty good deal. They can have a little tasting room. They can offer samples of the products and even sell you a bottle over the counter, but you could never open a very small even you know, Homebrew scale or slightly larger Craft brewery under those arrangements and even over across the border in Wisconsin You've Got The Growler laws where someone can go in and get the beer made it a brew pub and take it off off-site and that's something that the best of my knowledge is not available in the state of Minnesota, and I'm just wondering what the historical reason might be for that and Any prospects for ever having any of these laws (00:45:57) changed? Okay, we're gonna have to be a little bit quick (00:46:00) because your well, I'm short on time. I think that particular issue is going to come to the political Forefront more and more in the future and I think over time retailers and wholesalers will understand that it's not that much competition for a small Brewery to do some retail business. So I'm I'm quite positive that changes will happen in the future on (00:46:23) that. Would that be something you might push for at the legislature? (00:46:27) There is a there is a group of small Brewers Consortium of Brewers in the state that are moving in that direction. There's no question and they in particular the brewpubs would like to be able to have some off sale retail sales. (00:46:42) All right, we have just about a minute and a half left here. So maybe I can ask both of you to quickly comment on this but Mark will start with you. What do you think? The future of beer brewing is in Minnesota? (00:46:54) Well, it's going To continue to be very competitive and it's very important for us is small Brewers to make sure that the consumers know that there are more choices out there and will continue to brew very distinctive and flavorful beers. That's our growth (00:47:09) and Jeff llanto any thoughts on what might happen in the next few (00:47:12) years. Well, I hope that there will be success for the Greenbelt label as I have a certain affection for that label myself. I hope that well, the industry is of course cyclical beers can be popular for a while and then they're not so popular, you know depends on what's in fashion. But you know, I hope the smaller Brewers do what they can to compete well against the big Nationals and and yes, let consumers know that there is other stuff out there. (00:47:44) All right. Well, thanks so much to both of you for an interesting hour today. Jeff. Llanto is a local historian. He's written a book called legend of the brewery a brief history of the Minneapolis Brewing heritage. And marks touch rude was with us. He's a president of the summit Brewing Company in st. Paul. We also talked to Ted Marty from the shell buried down in New Orleans. Thanks all for being with us. And thank you. Thanks to the callers as well. It was an interesting our so dance underground. Mine has been breaking new ground for over a hundred years. I'm Rachel riebe join us for a special Main Street broadcast from Minnesota's oldest mine. We'll look at Sudan's Rich mining past and explore the futuristic experiments going on today a half-mile underground physicists from around the world have set up a (00:48:31) laboratory in this historic (00:48:32) mine to discover clues about the origin of the universe (00:48:36) Friday at 11 on Minnesota Public Radio.