Summit Beer to Bring Big Business to MN

Updated: 11/10/2012 11:25 AM KSTP.com By: Todd Wilson

Right now Summit Beer is in the midst of a $6 million expansion, but times weren't always so good.

"The first three years we were so focused on survival we didn't think to much beyond that," founder Mark Stutrud said.   

Twenty-six years down the line and the brewery is thriving. Stutrud is showed us where the new building would go. The new addition is 7,632 square feet of cellar space.

"We could add another 120,000 barrels a year because we've got more space to add 12 more tankers," Stutrud said.

Stutrud says, he got into making beer in Minnesota when the micro brewery industry was just starting to take off.

Right now the Guild has 39 full brewpub and brewery members in Minnesota. According to the Minnesota Brewers Guild, the Minnesota beer industry is a $1.13 billion industry. Shipping 3.5 million barrels through the state and beyond. 17,554 jobs come directly from beer in Minnesota.

David Vang of the University of St. Thomas says, the jobs can range from the very technical to manual labor.

"Everything from maintenance people to keep the places clean, to people with some kind of technical training for sterilization as well as eventually the master brewer," Vang said.

Plus beer contributes $350 million a year in Minnesota business taxes, and around $150 million in sales taxes. Stutrud says, beer is his way of bring a little joy to those who enjoy a good pint of suds.

"our customers have driven us to this point, this beautiful brewery is a testament to our customers," Sturud said.