Posted at: 05/09/2013 9:52 PM
Updated at: 05/09/2013 10:26 PM
By: Maarja Anderson
From D-Town to Brew-Town, that was the topic Thursday for a group of young entrepreneurs talking about the revitalization of Duluth at a new brewery.
FUSE Duluth is a program under the Duluth Area Chamber of Commerce specifically to help connect young professionals with the community. Thursday, their "Topics on Tap" conversation was held at Bent Paddle Brewing Co., a brewery opening next week.
The group was among the first to taste Bent Paddle's new brew and tour the facility before sitting down for a panel discussing Duluth- where the city has been, where it's going, and visions for the future.
The Tonnis' and Mullen's are the married couples behind Bent Paddle. It's a 30-barrel production craft brewery and taproom located on West Michigan Street.
Co-founder and Director of Brewery Operations, Bryon Tonnis, said breweries help revitalize communities because they add to the quality of life.
"It gives people places for people to come down, socialize, and enjoy each other's company," said Tonnis.
Part of the discussion Thursday centered around keeping young entrepreneurs in Duluth.
"What can we do to keep people here?" asked FUSE Director, Kellie Cloutire. "There has to be something about Duluth. It's our adventurous spirit and the many things we have to do here. Brewing and breweries are apart of that."
While breweries give locals a place to meet, Tonnis said craft brew also draws in another crowd: tourists. Tonnis said Duluth is a growing brewery destination.
"We hope people will come in, try our beer and have a great time in Duluth and then leave thinking, 'Wow, that was such a great experience,'" said Tonnis.
Soon Bent Paddle hopes to have their brew on shelves across the region, not just exporting their brew, but exporting the experience of Duluth.
"When they see our beers on the shelves they are hopefully going to think of their great experience in Duluth and think about coming back," Tonnis said.
Bent Paddle is located at 1912 W. Michigan Street. Their taproom opens to the public Thursday, May 16th.