Minnesotan wants to open $1M craft brewery in the land of Leinenkugel's


The craft beer craze sweeping the Midwest continues to gallop along, with a man from Minnesota planning to open a $1 million brewery in Wisconsin.

Savage resident James Stirn has submitted an application to the city of Chippewa Falls to open a new distillery and brewery off of West River Street that will feature a "glass atrium, so people can watch the brewing process occur," the Pioneer Press reports.

Chippewa Falls is well-known for being the home of popular regional beer-maker Leinenkugel's, but Stirn's plans are not solely focused on getting into the craft beer market.

In a request sent to the city, he says his intention is to create a facility designed to "manufacture and sell high-end spirits and craft beer."

He intends the brewery to be operated round-the-clock, saying it will produce 600 gallons a day and include a tasting room that will offer tours, memorabilia and the sale of on-site and off-site alcohol.

The plans will be discussed at a meeting of the city's Plan Commission on Monday, but the initial reaction has been positive from the city, even if it is unlikely to be a match for Leinenkugel's, according to WQOW.

City planner Jayson Smith told the station: "Anytime you've got an entrepreneur and a business and a couple people that want to invest $1 million into the community and add a business like this it's great ... it's wonderful."

Market boom continues

It's not surprising that a Minnesotan is looking to get involved in the craft brewing industry, given the boom in the market – the number of brewers has more than doubled in recent years.

Last month, popular Twin Cities brewers Surly opened the state's first "destination brewery," a $34 million brewing and taproom facility in northeast Minneapolis.

Twin Cities Business says the craft beer industry was worth an estimated $742 million to the Minnesota economy in 2013, and it is now one of the top 10 craft beer producing states in the country.

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