Surly breaks ground on brewery nearly three years in the making

Categories: Beer
Yesterday's groundbreaking.
When Surly Brewing started construction on a $20 million beer paradise yesterday morning, it was a groundbreaking nearly three years and a state law in the making.

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Surly first announced plans for a "destination" brewery -- complete with a bar, restaurant, and beer garden -- back in February 2011. There was one problem: The dream was illegal under Minnesota law. Not to be deterred, over the next three months, Surly worked to help pass the "Surly bill," the measure that allowed brewers to start selling their own beer.

By September 2012, Surly had found the perfect location: a former potato processing plant on eight acres near the U of M, and close to a future light rail stop. But before Surly could start planning, it had to get the Met Council, the state, and the county to agree to pick up over $2 million in cleanup costs from the site's industrial past.

After nearly three years, construction crews finally got started yesterday. To celebrate, Surly tapped its first keg on the site, and toasted the groundbreaking. Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak joined in raising a glass:

Surly aims to complete the brewery in late 2014. Once it's done, the 50,000-square foot space will look something like this:
HGA Architects
The view from the beer garden, looking up to the beer deck and restaurant balcony, with the brew house behind it.
The new location will allow Surly to increase production by almost four times, and start churning out 100,000 barrels of beer a year, up from the nearly 20,000 that the brewery produced in 2012 at its Brooklyn Center location.

Not to mention, the space will offer a lot more breathing room for release parties and Darkness Day.

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