Badger Hill Brewing looks south of the river
How did you first get involved in the alternating proprietorship?
We met Jon and Eric through an equipment vendor a few years ago. We were both in the planning stages, but Lucid was further along. Eric told us about how [it] worked and we thought it was a great way to get started and invest in better equipment. We are really lucky to have found them. Both companies have a great mutual respect for one another and we help each other out and have created not only a cool business relationship but a friendship.
What are some of the biggest hurdles in finding a new location?
Probably time. [Then] finding the right location, size, etc. Plus understanding the city's government and ordinances.
What are you planning for a taproom when you move?
I'm not sure yet. We definitely want it to be a place that is welcoming to all levels of beer drinkers: a place to hang out with your friends, share a beer, play a game, maybe listen to some live music.
The local brewing scene has really taken off since the taproom bill passed. What has struck you the most about the changing beer culture in Minnesota?
I think it's awesome to see taprooms popping up in neighborhoods, and I love how the neighborhoods support the brewery. The awareness is incredible; more and more people want to try new beers and learn about them. Also, organizations like Minnesota Beer Activists, Better Beer Society, and Barley's Angels have driven awareness across our state.
Photo courtesy of Badger Hill Badger Hill's Cherry Double Dunkel bottles
How would you compare it to your experience (as beer drinkers) in Colorado?
It's funny. I think Minnesota today is where Colorado was in the late '90s. New Belgium was where Surly is, O'Dells could be compared to Fulton or Lift Bridge. Even the ubiquitous yellow can of Coors Original was the "everyman's" beer, just like Grain Belt is today.
What is the biggest challenge currently facing new Minnesota breweries?
There is not just one challenge. There is still so much room and opportunity, but with so many new entrants, you have to figure out how to be relevant to people. It's probably not hard to have short-term relevancy but, how do you sustain that into the future? That's the challenge.
Badger Hill is preparing the release of a new Cherry Double Dunkel for Thanksgiving. Beer enthusiasts can find it on tap at Bryant Lake Bowl, Stout's Pub, and Longfellow Grill and in 750 ml bottles before the holiday.