Surly brewery looks to build near U, seeks help cleaning site

Jill Jensen

By Tyler Gieseke

A recent law passed by Gov. Mark Dayton allowing breweries to sell pints of beer on site prompted Surly Brewing Company to develop plans to build a destination brewery in the Twin Cities.

One of the short-list sites for the brewery is in the Prospect Park neighborhood near University Avenue Southeast, according to the Star Tribune.

The 8.3-acre site was formerly a potato processing plant and has undergone a century of industrial use, according to the Tribune. Surly is requesting grants from the city to aid in cleaning up the mess — a project that a city document estimates would total $2.5 million. The costs of putting up the brewery itself total about $20 million.

The project will feature a brewery and beer hall, as well as recreation space and festival gardens, reported the Star Tribune.

The site was chosen for its large size and proximity to public transit, Surly’s real estate consultant, Tom Hauschild, told the Tribune. Once light rail construction is completed, the “Westgate” station will be down the street from the potential brewery site.

Surly owner Omar Ansari had originally hoped to pick a site and make an agreement for the new brewery in early 2012, according to Minnesota Public Radio. Now, according to the Star Tribune, Surly is waiting to hear whether it will win the clean-up grants, which it expects to find out in January.

“We’d love to be brewing beer there in 2014,” Hauschild told the Star Tribune.

Other sites on the company’s short list include another Minneapolis site west of downtown and a spot in Brooklyn Center, where the company originated, reported the Star Tribune.

Ansari started homebrewing beer in 1994, he told Kare 11. He was inspired to open a brewery after seeing an ad for one in a homebrew catalogue in 2004.