Brau Brothers reveal new brewery details
A few weeks back, we chatted with Brau Brothers Brewing Company just as the announcement of its relocation from Lucan to Marshall was made official. While the last talk focused on its beer and its history, The Hot Dish wanted to hear about the new brewery location as well. Uprooting a brewery--one previously identified with its dot-on-the-map home in Lucan--is no easy task, but it's a task that promises a big future. More space, more beers, and more amenities for the beer tourists are just a few of the topics that CEO and head brewer Dustin Brau has in mind as they move from 5,000 square feet to nearly 37,000 and break ground on the first brewery in Lyon County history.
Work has begun on pilot beers for the new opening and plans are underway for Braufest in Lucan this June.
Hot Dish: You're the first brewery in the history of Lyon County. Does it feel historic?
Dustin Brau: Now it does. I wasn't aware of that, but a quick check in Doug Hoverson's book [Land of Amber Waters, the History of Brewing in Minnesota] confirms it. We're very excited about the location. I can't tell you how supportive the folks in Marshall as well as Lyon County have been. From the city to the business community, we feel very fortunate with the allies we'll have in Marshall.
HD: Along with the new space and increased capacity, you'll also be adding jobs. Any expectations on how many/how soon?
Brau: Yes, we will add several in the taproom right off the bat. We will also increase the capacity of the brewery itself, so anticipate additional brewers, cellar people, and bottling help.
HD: What went into picking the specific location: highway accessibility, amenities, or what were you looking for?
Brau: All of the above. With the new taproom law, you can't simply drop a brewery in an industrial location. You have to take a look at accessibility and visibility. Zoning, utilities, square footage, floors, ceilings, existing layout, and neighbors all come into play. You never find a perfect location, it's a matter of finding compromises you can live with.
HD: How large is the new facility?
Brau: We'll be going from 5,000 sq/ft to just over 37,000 sq/ft. The brewhouse area alone will be over 6,000 sq/ft. and the bottling area will be over 7,000 sq/ft.
We've also made plans for about 4,000 sq/ft. of barrel-aging room, split into two rooms for sach aging and sour/wild beer aging.
HD: What are some changes besides more brewing capacity? Will there be more of your already available beers, or more beers or year-round offerings as well?
Brau: Additional barrel aging capacity/space will allow us to dabble a bit more in unique, small batch beers. The additional overall capacity will definitely assist us in getting seasonals out there on a more regular basis. That's one area we look forward to improving on. Also, if you look at the property itself, it has very good potential for beer festivals and outdoor events.
HD: What are you planning for the taproom?
Brau: We're working on incorporating a 7 days per week taproom with a small kitchen that will allow us to better accommodate people traveling to see us. If you've ever been on a tour of the brewery in Lucan, you'll understand the limitations we have on scheduling, moving around, hearing, and staying out of the way. A taproom with proper view allows anyone to "tour" a brewery on their own time and schedule.
Brau: [We're] not quite sure. The hop yard will be maintained and harvested this year. We will have to rotate in something other than barley in the barley patch this year to maintain the field's integrity. I think it would make an awesome hop oast or floor malting facility. All we need is more time, energy, manpower, and money...
HD: You sold the original brewpub some time ago. Do you still owe any stake in it/is it affected by the move other than the fact that the beer will have to travel a little further now?
Brau: The BrauHaus has been separate of the brewery since 2008. They've been terrific, a sort of proxy taproom for us. Good food still drives their business, and I believe it will going into the future. Lucan will always be the birthplace of the brewery, and the first brewing town in Southwest Minnesota. I anticipate the BrauHaus to continue to grow. It's a great beer geek hangout.
Brau: First, hit the other great restaurants and pubs in town. The only way we can build a craft beer hotspot is to support all the businesses that promote local, craft beer. In addition, you can visit the Red Baron museum the small shops along downtown Main Street, hit the miles of bike trails (which will eventually go right past the brewery), golf at one of eight golf courses within 30 miles, tour Memorial Park, and camp at Camden State Park. This is just a very small fraction of the things to do and sights to see.
HD: Anything you want to add?
Brau: A very grateful thank you to the folks who worked so hard to help us grow and expand. We're incredibly fortunate to have friends and supporters who have been with us since the late '90s promoting craft beer in Southwest Minnesota.