CRAFT NOTES HIGHLIGHTS ESSENTIAL LOCAL CRAFTSMEN FOR THEIR CONTRIBUTION TO MINNESOTA CULTURE.
We couldn’t do Craft Notes without Summit Brewing. However, where most of our Craft Notes Series is dedicated to the history of the brewery and exceptionalism in their craft, we’re pretty sure Summit says it better, so instead, we’ll be dedicating this post to how Summit has helped make “MN Craft Beer” a “thing.”
Summit: Original Supporters of Local Craft Beer
Like last week’s Craft Note, moto-i, Summit is the founder of a movement. In their case, it’s local craft beer. They are the innovators, that didn’t follow a trend, they created one, 25 years before it was cool or financially viable. They did it out of a love for craft beer.
With all the great new breweries opening around the state, if you’re wondering who gets the credit, it’s Summit.
(Now, I know you educated beer lovers will actually point to the Surly Bill, and you’d be right too, but let me explain…)
The SURLY BILL indeed made it easy for breweries to start; it dramatically decreased overhead and allowed for more of a bar-type revenue model with less regulation.
When Mark Stutrud started his brewery, he was faced with a VERY challenging climate for his product.
- Very few people knew about “Craft Beer,” making up only 1-2% of the total beer sales at the time.
- Sales had to be at bars/liquor stores… No sales on site.
- Huge regulatory challenges in MN’s liquor licensing (also why we just started to see distilleries opening here, like mentioned in Wander North’s Article, while local brands like 45th Parrallel had to distill in WI).
In fact, when Mark Stutrud was doing his fact finding, he sought advice from the head of the Brewer’s Association (which has since changed it’s tune dramatically).
Summit’s real response has been to support local craft beer across the board, but spending it’s marketing dollars to ensure people are educated about beer ingredients, methods, and become involved in craft beer, growing with a growing consumer base and consumer taste.
They’ve always supported local breweries under the idea that more breweries = more people drinking craft beer. (Also actually committed to being green, giving back to the community, and being all around good people).
SUMMIT BREWING HISTORY RECAPView Handy History Chart
Here is the Summary:
- 1983: Founded on EPA and Porter. Summit, named after Mark’s hometown street, Summit Avenue.
- 1986-1998: Grinding out a few new flavors and expanding production, committed to the craft, Summit brings in copper fermenters from Europe and opens current brewery location in St. Paul.
- 1999: Summit attains 1% of local beer market (craft is about 4%)
- 2006: Summit celebrates 20 years (on Harriet Island) and huge concert with CAKE. – ThriftyHip was there!
- 2007-Now: Summit has grown with the growth and popularity of craft beer
WHEN I FIRST MET SUMMIT’S MARK S…
When I founded ThriftyHipster in 2004, I was a student, and regular attendant of Entrepreneur groups at the UMN. Mark volunteered to speak.
He gave a great presentation, his excitement for his product and brewing techniques were the theme of his presentation.
Afterwards, I asked him about advertising with us. Summit, has been forever dedicated to quality beer.
“We don’t advertise…” Mark told me. Instead, “We brew high quality beer with high quality products. All our marketing is dedicated to educating consumers about the unique ingredients and unique flavors of our beer…”
Here are the beers the brewers and Mark himself recommend:
SUMMIT OATMEAL STOUT *Brewer Recommendation* is 1 of the best stouts around. Only available on Nitro around the Twin Cities so if you see it make sure and get some! It’s smooth as hell and a rare treat to find! (Think Guinness with more flavor same smoothness)
SUMMIT UNION SERIES (Traditional Beer) is for people wanting to know about more traditional beer styles around the world, classic beer styles, or new raw ingredients (like new hop and malt varieties) that we will be sure to see more of!
SUMMIT UNCHAINED SERIES (Craftsmen Select). In Summit’s quest to add more flavor to their product lines, and they give the freedom to their brewers to take charge and make new beers.
Here is a recent video they shot explaining #22.
TRY ANY SUMMIT BEER FOR FREE IN THEIR TAPROOM WITH THE CRAFT NOTES GUIDEBOOK.
14 CRAFT BEERS + 4 CRAFT COCKTAILS.
Summit Brewery & Taproom
SAINT PAUL, MN
910 Montreal Circle | 651-265-7800
Try all of Summit’s Flavors, including the Oatmeal Stout, at their St. Paul Taproom. You can also schedule a tour (to get more free beer:).
Also, if you’re running a charity or trying to raise pledge money for your upcoming race, call them and talk about hosting a party; they are happy to donate beer toward worthy causes.
TRY MN’S 1ST CRAFT BREWERY
Sample a Pint and learn more about Summit with the Craft Notes Guidebook.