Bryn Mawr Brewing, which just raised $1.2 million to help refurbish the vacant Glenwood water plant in north Minneapolis, has had to change the name of the brewpub that should be open by next spring.
The new name is Utepils Brewing, also the name of the parent company. It’s Norwegian for the first beer enjoyed outdoors in the sunshine after a long, dark winter. The Utepils owners this fall were contacted by lawyers in Oregon who own Bryn Mawr Winery and have the name trademarked.
“We tried to talk to them about various ways of living together … as a brewery in Minnesota and a winery in Oregon, but they didn’t want to talk,” founder Dan Justesen said. “Our lawyers said we had a chance [if we sued them], but we could lose and our lawyers bill by the hour and that’s a lot of money.
“We started out with the name Utepils Brewing before we bought the property in Bryn Mawr. Utepils is not just about a beer, but about the experience and it’s a great, evocative name.”
Justesen, a veteran of the local craft microbrew industry, and CFO Jim Moore said earlier that there’s room for another Twin Cities craft brewery.
The European-style town brewery that expects to tap beer before spring also is a nice inner-city renewal of a picturesque neck of the North Side.
The brewery will emerge from the $3.5 million renovation of the former Glenwood Inglewood bottling plant in Minneapolis, complete with a taproom that looks out on Bassett Creek, near Wirth Park. Several reconstruction projects have occurred along Glenwood in recent years, including marketing firm Knock, which has renovated and connected two abandoned hulks, and the new Washburn Center for Children.
The Twin Cities has tapped many craft brewers of late. But Justesen, formerly of Vine Park Brewing in St. Paul in 1995, and Moore, who was brought in as a consultant and is staying on as chief financial officer, are betting there is room for more.
Local craft beers that command premium prices are the growth engine in a flat overall U.S. beer market.
Nationally, craft brewers accounted for $19.6 billion in sales, or about 17.6 percent of all beer sales in 2014, according to the Brewers Association. Meanwhile, Minnesota’s craft beer market share was less than 10 percent.
“Similar markets to the Twin Cities, such as Denver, Portland and San Diego, approach 30 percent in craft beer sales,” Moore said last month. “Our equipment will be shipped from Germany. The goal is to bottle beer by February.”
Other investors include: Tammy Lee Stanoch, a former executive at hospitality firm Carlson and Northwest Airlines; Eric Olson, co-owner of PedalPub, the “party-bike” company with a fleet of 11 in the Twin Cities; and Jack Uldrich, the futurist and author who once ran the state Planning Department.