After just a couple of years in business, St. Anthony Park’s Urban Growler, Minnesota’s first womenowned brewery, has hit maximum capacity. The popular brewery and taproom, which also boasts the Twin Cities’ first taproom with a full kitchen, is now in the process of increasing its space.
The expansion comes after a successful fundraising campaign that helped owners and partners Jill Pavlak and Deb Loch get additional room adjacent to the original brewery, and begin the build-out of a new canning line.
“We ran the campaign for two reasons,” said Loch, the master brewer at Urban Growler. “One was to help fund the canning line. It didn’t cover the whole cost, but it definitely helped ease the burden. The other was to raise awareness for the new capabilities.
“We’ve always been a community-based brewery. Our founding members helped raise the funds we needed to get the original bank loan. We’ve had a lot of support.”
The pair recently took the Park Bugle on a tour of the new space, and it is easy to see why it was so badly needed. A hallway that extends past what was the end of the brewery’s space leads to an expansive area that once housed a consignment warehouse. It will soon be home to the new canning facility, which the owners hope will be up and running by summer.
The newest arrivals to the Urban Growler family: giant, shiny tanks, including four 40-barrel fermenters and bright tanks used for storage, have been placed in the there, and the canning line itself should be on its way soon.
“The goal is to increase our capacity,” Loch said with a smile. “In order to can, first we need more beer.”
“We can’t take on anymore outside accounts right now,” Pavlak added. “Clients like golf courses have been asking for cans, and we are so excited to expand what we can do for them and to be able to take on new clients.”
The first brew to run through the new lines will be CowBell Cream Ale.
“It’s our biggest seller by far,” Loch said. The beer will be packaged in four packs of 16-ounce cans and sold to bars and liquor stores. Minnesota state law prohibits sales of cans directly from the brewery, although Urban Growler will begin bottling some of their featured beers in 750-ml bottles, which will be available for sale at the taproom.
Earlier this winter, Urban Growler brought on Jeremy King as its new head brewer and added a second event area, the Barrel Room, for larger events. Things are happening in this corner of the brewing world.
Alex Lodner writes about food and community news regularly in the Park Bugle.