BringMeTheBrews: More taprooms, breweries set for Twin Cities

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The craft beer industry continues to boom in Minnesota – and there are no signs of it slowing down anytime soon.

Taprooms and breweries continue to pop up throughout the state. Here's a look at the latest planned for the Twin Cities:

Surly taproom gets final approval

The Minneapolis City Council officially approved Surly Brewing's taproom set for Prospect Park Friday.

The brewery, which hopes to become a destination brewery by the end of the year, broke ground on the Minneapolis location last year and recently closed its Brooklyn Center taproom.

The new facility is expected to include a beer production and packaging area, beer hall, event hall and private dining room, as well as an outdoor beer garden.

Surly Brewing's Bender beer was also recently ranked one of the best 100 beers in the world by Men's Journal.

Surly paved the way for other breweries and taprooms to get licenses when the "Surly Bill" was passed in May 2011, which allowed cities to decide if breweries could sell beer onsite.

Northeast's new brewery

NorthGate Brewing Company's former Northeast Minneapolis location will be home to a new brewery. 56 Brewing bought some of NorthGate's equipment and signed a lease for the space last month, the Minneapolis-St. Paul Business Journal says.

56 Brewing intends to produce its craft beer through community involvement, according to its website. Which means beer drinkers could buy a subscription from the company and pick the beer up at the brewery – 56 Brewing is also looking into delivering growlers to Northeast subscribers via bicycle.

The brewery will likely begin producing in February or March after licenses are approved, the Business Journal notes.

Robbinsdale's first microbrewery

The city of Robbinsdale has purchased a former TCF Bank building in the downtown district and has signed an agreement to open a microbrewery in the space, City Pages says.

OC Mechanical, which has helped several brewers find locations in the Twin Cities, is planning to open a state-of-the-art microbrewery, taproom and boutique at the site, Finance & Commerce reports. It will be named Worried Wort, reports say.

The partners are still exploring financing and also need to find a brewer, but they told Finance & Commerce they aren't worried about finding a quality brewer because of OC Mechanical's connections to the craft beer industry.

The city, however, also needs to approve updates to its zoning code to allow microbreweries and taprooms, which it's expected to discuss later this month, Twelve News says.

If all goes according to plan, the partners hope to open the brewery next summer.

Grain Belt sign

New Ulm-based August Schell Brewing Company plans to buy the Grain Belt Beer bottle cap sign on Nicollet Island with the hopes of refurbishing and preserving it, according to a news release.

The sign has been dark for nearly two decades, but the brewery plans to work with preservationists to relight the sign, which was built in 1941, MPR News reports.

August Schell Brewing Company bought Grain Belt in 2002.

Craft beer sales strong

Craft beer sales in America have been quickly climbing in recent years – despite overall beer sales actually trending downward, according to data from the Brewers Association.

In 2013, the association – an advocate for craft brewers – says total beer sales fell 1.9 percent compared to the year prior, but craft sales shot up 17.2 percent.

The Wall Street Journal pulled out more data from the association, looking at craft beer’s overall market share. It found that in 1998, craft beer made up 2.4 percent of all beer sales, with non-craft taking up 89 percent. By 2013, the craft sales had jumped up to 8 percent, with non-craft falling to 78 percent. (Imports made up the remaining purchases.)

According to Statista, there are 2,768 craft breweries operating in the U.S., with retail sales in the country reaching $14.3 billion in 2013 – up from $10.3 billion in 2012, and $8.7 billion in 2011.

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