Minneapolis Cashes in on the “Surly Bill”

Get ready to add 612Brew to the list of taprooms to open in Minnesota since the passage of the “Surly Bill” in May of 2011.

The bill allows for beer to be sold directly to customers at the brewery, as opposed to going from brewery to distributor to retailer. In the two years since the passage, taproom and openings have exploded in Minnesota from new and existing breweries like Dangerous Man, Summit, Lift Bridge, Indeed, Fulton, and Excelsior. Ironically, Minnesota still waits for the bill’s namesake, Surly, to open their own ambitious taproom.

The bill has had an obvious effect on the beer landscape, allowing smaller players into the game. Many of them are taking a hobbyist’s obsession and turning it into their dream business. The team at 612Brew is no exception. The group of friends come from multiple careers and backgrounds—one grew up working in his family’s restaurant, Tandoor; another tends bar at Chino Latino; and the head brewer comes from a business and computer background. Each admits to holding onto their current jobs—for now.

Tucked into the corner of Central and Broadway in Northeast Minneapolis and difficult to spot from the road, the brewery sits beneath street level, giving it a hidden urban oasis feel. Shining stainless steal tanks line the spacious brewery with large bay doors opening into a sunken outdoor patio. Urban developer Peter Remes, who recently had his hands in the Icehouse transformation, plans for a coffee roaster, yoga studio, and other businesses to fill the still developing site.

Opening this Wednesday at 4 p.m., 612Brew will offer an IPA and Winter IPA, and an American Pale Ale and Black Ale. These highly drinkable and delicious brews will be a welcome addition to the brewing community. Look for a rotating schedule of food trucks, starting with Simply Steves, Melch’s Meat Wagon, and Natedogs, as well as offerings from Tandoor restaurant.

The success of the “Surly Bill” makes one wonder: might any other archaic laws related to alcohol sales (maybe on Sundays), be ready for a change?

945 Broadway St. NE, Mpls.
612-217-0437, 612brew.com