Minnesota Brewery Expansion On Hold Thanks to Coronavirus
While they'll be able to open their taproom again to outdoor seating in June, a planned expansion of their brewery isn't happening, thanks to the ongoing pandemic.
Liftbridge Brewing Company in Stillwater (a little over an hour and twenty minutes north of Rochester) has been one of the most well-known names in Minnesota's incredible craft beer scene. They first started brewing their beer back in 2008 and opened their current taproom at their brewery in Stillwater in 2011.
Lift Bridge Brewing is currently Minnesota's sixth-largest craft brewery, and they've produced some great beers that are pretty well-known not only in the Twin Cities but here in southeast Minnesota, as well. (I'm pretty fond of their Mango Blonde ale, their Hop Dish IPA and their Juice-Z New England IPA among others.)
And, of course, their limited-release Mini-Donut Beer, which is only available at the Minnesota State Fair (and only at the Ballpark Cafe at the Great Minnesota Get-Together) has been a favorite of mine for several years as well.
So I was excited to hear that Liftbridge was planning a 10-million dollar expansion and move to a new brewery and taproom. They made that announcement back in 2018, with construction set to start in 2019. But according to the Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal, bids came in over budget.
So they rebid the project, which was set to start this year. And then the coronavirus pandemic hit, which forced them to close their taproom and caused a significant loss in revenue (like close to 50% the story said), as sales to other also-closed bars and restaurants and sports venues evaporated.
But, the good news is they're still planning to go ahead with the expansion... but not until 2021. "This has effectively put that (expansion) project on hold, hopefully temporarily, but most likely for a year as we adjust our bearings to our new financial state," Liftbridge cofounder Brad Glynn said in the story.
I'm looking forward to seeing their new brewery and taproom once it's open...hopefully in 2021. In the meantime, I'll hoist a Mango Blonde in their honor over the Memorial Day weekend!
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