|Stagecoach's soon-to-change packaging|
Taprooms in the Twin Cities have been getting a lot of attention in the past few years, but Minnesota's brewing industry has much deeper roots. Breweries large and small are tucked away in areas that haven't captivated yet the metro's interests -- despite decades spent in the brewing business.
Mantorville Brewing, located in the small town of the same name (population 1,197) and just over an hour plus south of St. Paul, is one such brewery. Started in 1996, the brewery shares its name with the town's historic brewery that closed in 1939. Mantorville has three flagship beers -- an amber, a porter, and a golden -- and both the amber and the smoked porter were the first of their style to be brewed in Minnesota in the 1990s.
Current owner and brewer Tod Fyten has been in the industry since the 1980s. Before running his own brewery, he ran a brewing trade journal and worked with Leinenkugel's, James Page, and more industry stalwarts. He currently owns three microbreweries (St. Croix, Fytenburg, and Mantorville) and, behind the scenes, he's had a hand in most of the brewing industry's legislative victories in the past twenty years. He is currently at work on new packaging for all his six-packs, expected this summer on liquor store shelves.
The Hot Dish sat down at Fyten's St. Paul office to discuss his breweries, why Mantorville Brewing is often called Stagecoach Brewing, and his brewing experience in the '80s and '90s. Below is part one of the interview, focused on Mantorville Brewing. Stay tuned for part two, looking back on the 1990s brew boom and bust.
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