Surly narrows list of brewery sites

  • Article by: ERIC ROPER , Star Tribune
  • Updated: June 20, 2012 - 12:11 AM

Options include two Minneapolis locations, one in Brooklyn Center and one mysterious "inner suburban" location.

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Surly Furious Beer cans are filled at the Surly Brewery in Brooklyn Center

Photo: Carlos Gonzalez, Star Tribune

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Surly Brewing Co. has narrowed the possible locations for its "destination brewery" to three cities in the metro area, including two sites in Minneapolis.

The Brooklyn Center-based brewer with a cult following has spent months looking for the perfect place to build a $20 million facility, complete with restaurant, beer garden and event center. It was made possible by a 2011 change in Minnesota state law, known as the "Surly Bill," that allowed brewers to sell pints of their beer on the premises.

Cities across the area have been laying out the red carpet, but the company said Tuesday that only three remain on the short list: Minneapolis, Brooklyn Center and an unnamed "inner suburban" location.

One of the possible sites in Minneapolis is 3171 SE. 5th St., a former food processing plant just east of the University of Minnesota. That location is a stone's throw from the future Central Corridor light-rail line.

Another Minneapolis location in is the Bassett Creek Valley redevelopment area, which is west of Interstate 94 and north of Interstate 394, said Tom Hauschild, Surly's real estate adviser. He said one challenge is that the area is largely zoned residential.

Hauschild said the Brooklyn Center location would involve "multiple properties," which he declined to identify.

The other suburban location remains a mystery. "In the last couple of weeks, Surly has also been approached by another inner suburban location that is substantially larger than the brewery plans, and may change the project scope, but is considered a short list option too," the company said in a statement.

Hauschild said once the company picks a site, it will undergo an extensive review before the company reveals it publicly. He expects that the company will be able to go public with a site by the end of the year.

Bloggers in the beer community took note when Surly owner Omar Ansari said at a recent craft beer conference that the brewer was finalizing the site near the U.

Hauschild dismissed it as wishful thinking from an eager business owner.

"That's ... an optimistic entrepreneur not knowing what all goes into the sausage-making of a commercial real estate transaction," Hauschild said.

Eric Roper • 612-673-1732

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