Excelsior Brewing completes remodel, plans grand opening this weekend

Categories: Beer, Q&A

Photo courtesy of Excelsior Brewing

Excelsior Brewing Co., located in the city of same name just west of Minneapolis, has recently expanded, tripling in square footage and increasing production capacity remarkably. The new digs include a larger taproom, a new 12-ounce bottling line, and room to grow. Previously the company was pushing its limits on production, squeezing a cozy taproom into a tight space -- up close and personal with the brewing equipment. The new taproom has increased from a capacity of 75 to 200, and the brewery is planning a new beer garden come summer.

Hot Dish spoke with Jennifer T. Johnson, senior brand manager at the brewery, to see where Excelsior is going now there is so much more capacity for production. They will be celebrating a grand opening of the new taproom on Saturday, May 24 with bands and, of course, plenty of beer.

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Hot Dish: What is in the works for your grand opening?

Jennifer T. Johnson: We are going to be featuring a new, one-time beer, celebrating the taproom opening and hopefully (weather pending!) utilizing the beer garden space we have. We will also have bands in a tent throughout the day and the 318 Food Truck.

How open is the new taproom in relation to the production area? In the old one, you were right up close. Do you still have that atmosphere?

You can pretty much see the entire brewery from the taproom area. We won't let people into the production area for safety reasons, but they can still tour it with a tour guide and see the area from the taproom space.

The company is very tied to the Excelsior community. How do you view the overall brand identity of Excelsior Brewing?

The Excelsior and surrounding community has supported us from day one. We are so fortunate to be located here, [and] have loyal locals and businesses that have really made us proud to be located in Excelsior, Minnesota. As we expand, go into six-packs and such, we have every intention of serving our current accounts first to the best of our ability and then expanding the brand from there. We are growing and becoming more recognizable in the metro and areas outside of our local area, which is exciting for us.

Is the brand more a reflection of the community or of the ownership?

I'd say a mix of both, but we definitely represent the lake community of Excelsior. Our beers typically have a lake theme (Bridge Jumper, XLCR for the nautical flags, and Big Island Blond), the taproom has a very hometown feel (garage doors open, water skis and other water sport gear around, etc.). The ownership are all local guys, so of course it's a mix.

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