Jim Moore, a veteran financial guy, and Dan Justesen, a veteran of the local craft microbrew industry, say there’s room for another Twin Cities craft brewery.
They expect to complete a $1.55 million equity round this month to help launch Bryn Mawr Brewing.
This is an interesting start-up of a European-style town brewery that expects to tap beer before spring. It also is a nice inner-city reclamation of a dormant building in what is 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 at Bassett Creek, near Wirth Park. There have been several nice reconstruction projects along Glenwood in recent years. Marketing firm Knock, which has renovated and connected two abandoned hulks, is one of them. The new Washburn Center for Children is another.
The Twin Cities has seemed to tap quite a few craft brewers in recent years. But Justesen, a former owner of Vine Park Brewing in St. Paul, and Moore, who was brought in as a consultant and is staying on as chief financial officer of Bryn Mawr, say there is still room for more competition.
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. “Our equipment will be shipped from Germany in December. 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.
Survey finds skepticism of financial institutions
Last week, former Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke, talking about his 600-page memoir, said some financial executives should have gone to jail for their roles in the financial crisis that threatened disaster until the Fed and the Bush administration indemnified the financial system and infused hundreds of billions in taxpayer dollars.
Hank Paulson, the Bush treasury secretary and a one-time CEO of Goldman Sachs, has bemoaned financial industry greed and lax federal regulation that led to the implosion and government bailout in order to spare the economy from economic collapse.
The Obama justice department subsequently passed on prosecutions in favor of civil settlements and billions in shareholder-paid settlements.
The bailout money was subsequently repaid, but that’s not the end of the story.
Today, the financial industry is even more concentrated, brimming with profits. Big-company CEOs score record multimillion-dollar compensation. The economic pie is growing, and a small minority of Americans are claiming a disproportionately large share while wages for working stiffs have stagnated for 30 years.
The public has apparently not forgotten and remains wary.
A recent survey of 2,000 Americans between the ages of 35 and 67 by Allianz Life Insurance of North America found that two-thirds still feel the impact of the 2008-09 recession from devaluation of investments, loss of wages and lost trust. One in five respondents was dubbed a “post-crash skeptic.” Many of them feel that way because of fear or because they had to cash their retirement funds to survive and missed the stock market’s 200 percent-plus run since March 2009.
“It’s important for the financial services industry to recognize this group and consider strategies for helping them move past the barriers and biases resulting from 2008, prompting them to take a more active role in financial planning,” said Katie Libbe, an Allianz vice president.
Few if any financial kingpins in the middle of the mortgage-industry and securitization busts have apologized. A few, forgetting the obligation of the fiduciary to never put customers in inappropriate investments or too much debt, have blamed consumers or customers.
Expanding Seward Co-op meets diversity goals
Seward Community Co-op, the 43-year-old member-owned grocery that has resurrected a block at E. 38th Street and 3rd Avenue S. with a new store, said nearly two-thirds of its initial 62 hires are people of color and more than half the employees live in the neighborhood.
The investment of nearly $15 million in the “Seward Friendship Store” brings good jobs and fresh food to the Bryant and Central neighborhoods that did not have a full-service grocery store. The new store — bankrolled by Seward owners, local banks and tax credit investors — is a looker and sits across 38th Street from venerable Sabathani Community Center.
The late Jim Cook, a Marine wounded in Vietnam and a tireless leader who ran Sabathani for nearly 30 years, I believe, would be proud of this and nearby developments. Seward Co-op worked with neighbors and nonprofit career agencies to meet hiring goals at a store that is expected eventually to top 100 employees.
In August, at a hiring fair for the jobs that begin at $12.82 an hour, nearly 400 residents of the Bryant-Central and surrounding communities inquired about opportunities.
Last year, Seward Co-op, based on E. Franklin Avenue about 3 miles away, established hiring goals of 32 percent minorities overall by 2019. At that time, the co-op had 255 employees, 21 percent of whom were people of color. Most recently, Seward Co-op is approaching 400 employees, 34 percent of whom are minorities.
The Seward investment is the biggest in decades in the historic heart of a diverse South Side commercial district along E. 38th Street. Among housing and other planned projects, there is a small bike center aimed at helping to overcome the racial gap in cycling. The growth spurt lies partly with residents, business owners and nonprofit leaders who identified what would revitalize an area marked by too many vacant storefronts.
Seward Co-op, which posted $32 million in retail sales last year, is bursting at the seams at its flagship store on East Franklin, Seward marketing manager Tom Vogel said in an interview this spring.
“We want to alleviate some pressure on our Franklin store and about 20 percent of our membership of 13,000 households live closer to the [38th Street] store,” he said. “And we expect to gain many new members and customers.”