Shakopee has landed a microbrewery and taproom, the first payoff from steps it took late last year to open more parts of the city to small breweries, wineries and distilleries.
Badger Hill Brewing said last week it would move from Minnetonka, where it shares facilities with two other small-batch breweries, to its own location near County Road 101 and S. Canterbury Road. The property is a mile from Valleyfair and Canterbury Park and about five miles from Mystic Lake Casino and Hotel. “We feel like we’ll be in the area’s triangle of entertainment,” said Michael Koppelman, Badger Hill’s head brewer and a partner in the business.
The property at 4571 Valley Industrial Blvd. is now vacant. Koppelman said he expects renovations to begin soon on the 13,000-square-foot building that will house the brewhouse and an adjoining 2,500-square-foot building that will be the taproom. Plans also call for a patio, bringing total seating capacity to about 200, he said.
Koppelman said brewing equipment will be ordered soon and can take up to six months to be delivered. He said he hopes the new brewery could be open in early October.
Badger Hill was founded by brothers Broc and Brent Krekelberg in 2011. Koppelman said his business is grateful for the cooperative arrangement it has had with the other brewers, but that the brewery always planned to eventually have a separate facility. Badger Hill’s production capacity is 1,500 barrels a year, but it could double immediately after it moves to the Shakopee site, he said. The long-term plan is to boost production to 20,000 to 30,000 barrels, he said.
The partners had targeted south of the river when they began scouting the market for sites last summer. “We were looking at a spot in Eagan for awhile, but that fell through,” Koppelman said. The group then turned its attention to Shakopee.
The Shakopee property could have been used for production but would not have been able to have a taproom without the zoning changes approved by the city last December. At the time, the city said it sought the changes after getting several inquiries from people interested in sites for microbreweries, taprooms and small wineries and distilleries. Those businesses previously were allowed only in light industrial districts, but the zoning changes recognize that they also function as retail operations.
Economic Development Coordinator Samantha DiMaggio said the city continues to work with other potential small-batch breweries on possible sites. A microbrewery has long been in the city’s wish list of attractions it hopes will attract more visitors — and their dollars — to town.
DiMaggio believes a microbrewery could make Shakopee more appealing to other commercial developers. “When site selectors come to town, I like to be able show them unique things in our city. This will be something else I can add to my list,” she said.
Minnesota’s microbrewery boom has rippled outward from the cities and into suburbia, but has yet to take hold in Scott County. The county was home to six small breweries in the early 1900s, but those businesses had trouble reopening after Prohibition, suffered fires or succumbed to competition from bigger breweries.
Plans are in the works for small-batch breweries in two other Scott County communities. Tim Roets, a home brewing enthusiast from Chaska, continues to work on a “nanobrewery” — a smaller version of a microbrewery — which would operate in part of the historic building that once housed the Jordan Brewery. Barbara Lee, who manages the property, said Roets is hoping to be open this summer.
This summer also could see the opening of a microbrewery in a former creamery building in Blakely, near Belle Plaine. That operation would begin by brewing root beer before progressing to beer, according to Dave Luskey, a Prior Lake resident and partner in the venture.
Luskey previously was part of a group of three area residents who unsuccessfully tried to buy Shakopee’s old downtown fire station from the city to convert it into a microbrewery and taproom. In 2012 the City Council rejected the brewery partners’ purchase price of $100,000 for the building.
Luskey said he didn’t know whether the remaining partners were still looking for other sites. Neither responded to interview requests.