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The West 7th/Fort Road Federation community group had already acquired other parts of the site, so that left Hendry and Nelson with a vacant modern warehouse and a unique asset, a 1,050-foot well into the Mount Simon aquifer.
It was drilled for a big-volume brewery, and today it’s for walk-up water customers bringing their own jugs to the well house. The Hendry group bills the water as organic, and in 1980 tests found the water to more than 36,000 years old.
Hendry and Kreitzer think a well that reaches a deep aquifer that now has restricted access in the Twin Cities is an asset that will only get more valuable. Meanwhile, its water happens to be perfect for brewing beer.
Hendry said he is grateful to Kreitzer and Gagné for shepherding the Schmidt landmark into the hands of capable owners, one reason he is supporting the Fort Road Brewing brewpub project and discussing with Kreitzer eventually transferring ownership of the real estate on favorable terms. “I really do think it’s the highest and best use” of the warehouse space and well, Hendry said.
But it seems Hendry, too, remains motivated by Schmidt brewing history.
“The ethanol plant was ill-conceived and deserved to die,” Hendry said. “But the brewery wasn’t and shouldn’t have died. And I have always felt bad about that.”
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