Invictus Brewing Co. plans to break ground next month on Blaine’s first brewery after the company received a long-awaited loan from the U.S. Small Business Administration.
The 8,200-square-foot space will be built at 2025 105th Ave. NE, just north of the National Sports Center. The brewery will include two patios and a kitchen leased to a local restaurateur.
Previn Solberg is a co-owner of Invictus Brewing and a head of an investor group along with nine other families. He said the company is working with the city on final permit details but is aiming to break ground simultaneously with a separate renovation project for the stretch of 105th Avenue near the brewery in August.
The brewery will include two patios — one large seating area for the public and a smaller one, connected to a meeting room by a garage door, that the brewery will rent out for customers along with the meeting room. The meeting room and small patio can also act as overflow space when the brewery is busy, Solberg said.
The kitchen space will be leased out to the Tipsy Steer, whose food Solberg classified as “quality American food that pairs well with beer.” He said the chef is bringing in a brick oven for pizzas, and they’re both working on creating a menu.
Solberg said he always wanted to get into making craft beer but was too intimidated to start. He finally took the plunge about three years ago and started making his own beer with a couple of friends. He said they kicked around the idea of starting a brewery, and he put together a business plan for it … behind his wife’s back.
Eventually, he said, he had to come clean.
“I got to a point where I either needed to do this or just stop dreaming about it,” Solberg said. “[My wife] said, ‘Let’s make it work; let’s do it,’ so it just kind of snowballed from there.”
He said he’s had more support from Blaine residents than he ever could have imagined. Locals have wanted “something that they can be a bigger part of” and something more immediately accessible than the brewery scene in northeast Minneapolis.
“I think that’s what craft beer is really all about,” he said. “There’s a larger sense of purpose. … It’s the community, it’s buying local. There’s just so many more values that come with craft beer, and I think Blaine’s ready for it.”
Blaine Mayor Tom Ryan said he anticipates that all the changes will lead to more out-of-towners coming to visit Blaine, and he’s excited for the city to get in on the craft brewery scene since it’s so popular throughout the Twin Cities metro area.
“We’re usually pretty up to the norm, and we were kind of behind on this one,” he said. “I think people are going to enjoy it.”