New Trend? Twin Cities Historic Houses Become Craft Breweries

In the Twin Cities it’s not uncommon for a budding new craft brewery to open up in an old warehouse or some other historic spot. With that, it should come as no surprise that the newest round of TC brew spots are looking to classic old homes to serve as their base of operations. It was recently reported by the Business Journal that an old mansion over on 10th Ave in Downtown, which was originally erected in 1911, may have found a buyer in Bloomington’s, Work Zone Breweries, Inc., who they claim had recently filed for a liquor license at that location’s address.

The house once belonged to Twin Cities civic activists and art philanthropists, John Jr. and Sage Cowles. John Cowles Jr. had also been the CEO of Cowles Media Company, one time parent to the local Star Tribune newspaper. Currently, the house is owned by Jeff Arundel (Aster Cafe, Jefe Urban Hacienda), but Arundel has had the property listed for sale for years. The new brewery, tentatively titled Brass Foundry, is located just a few blocks from U.S. Bank Stadium and could serve as a hotspot for pre and post game beer aficionados.

Over on the other side of the river, Waldmann Brewery plans to open up in the old Civil War era, Stone Saloon building. While the Stone Saloon was originally built to be a saloon, it spent decades of use as a St. Paul home. The new owner, Tom Schroeder, wants to turn back time and put the building to use the way it was meant to be.

Taking the name of the original Stone Saloon proprietor, Anthony Waldmann, Schroeder hopes to turn his venture into the Twin Cities oldest new brewery. Schroeder launched a successful crowdfunding campaign last spring which managed to raise over $61,000 to help restore the building. According to the Pioneer Press, the building itself is the cities only surviving pre-Civil War era building and Schroeder’s plans are to return it to its German roots by brewing up beer and serving house made sausages.

Photo: Wikipedia

With the massive growth in Minnesota’s craft beer economy and the loosening up of certain zoning rules, it’s alway interesting to see where the newest place will open and what it will do for the area. Northeast Minneapolis has definitely seen the most expansion in terms of brewery growth, but if certain historic mansions start becoming available for use, they could make for some interesting new small breweries or even distilleries.

A few months ago the city of Minneapolis announced that it was trying to sell the old H. Alden Smith House, located right beside MCTC’s Minneapolis campus on Loring Park, for only $1.00. The building itself requires millions of dollars in renovations to be considered usable, but it’s certainly one of several other Twin Cities properties that could make for a hot new brewery. It also happens to be located in a part of Downtown with a lot of potential retail space, so it could potentially be good for growth in that area, however, it’s hard to predict if zoning would allow for a brewery in that location or if the renovations would push it outside the realm of possibility for most beer-minded entrepreneurs.

Are there any other great historic properties in Minnesota that might make great breweries? If so, let us know which ones you’d most like to pull back a pint at in the comments section below.

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