Beer: Top food trend of 2013

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It's like buzzkill in reverse. Minnesota's craft beer production bubbled up big time in 2013, so much so that the Business Journal named the small-batch brewing movement as the source of the state's top food stories for the year.

The story notes that although craft beer production kicked into gear a few years ago, this year--with multiple brewery expansions, the addition of numerous taprooms and greater brewing capacity across the board--was the year when progress made the biggest impact.

Surly's October groundbreaking on its $20 million destination brewery, to include a beer garden and restaurant in the Prospect Park neighborhood was high on the list of notable developments.

Fulton Brewing Co. in Northeast Minneapolis signed a lease on more brewery space to generate more suds for its North Loop taproom. Indeed Brewing Co. ramped up production from its Northeast taproom and Boom Island Brewing Co. moved into a larger building in North Minneapolis. Boutique brewers in Duluth also showed growth in 2013.

St. Paul's Summit Brewing Co. added a $7 million expansion and purchased property adjacent to the site that will be used for canning. A story on MPR News last month had a story that looked at Summit's history. The St. Paul company was at the head of the trend and last year Summit logged over $25 million in sales. Throughout its 20-year history, it has consistently produced more beer than any other craft brewer in the state.

Mark Stutrud, longtime Summit President and one of the original founders, reminded enthusiasts that although the growth of small local beer producers is impressive, craft brews make up a mere 6.5 percent of total national beer sales.

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