6.5-million Bottles of Beer on the Wall: A tally of annual craft brew production in the Duluth area

Schlemiel Schlimazel

The Arrowhead region of northeastern Minnesota and northwest Wisconsin boasts 15 craft breweries and brewpubs, producing nearly 20,000 barrels of convivial suds annually. For perspective, that’s about 600,000 gallons or 40,000 kegs or 5 million pints or 6.5 million 12-ounce bottles and cans.

When it comes to craft beer, of course, it’s a game of quality over quantity. So although the list below is stacked by order of the largest producers, obviously it is taste that matters most (though the latter is clearly subjective and difficult to rank). Some of the production numbers below are fairly precise, while others are estimates and subject to caveats, so our 6.5-million bottles/cans figure is the result of a lot of rounding off.

It should also be noted that while the 2014 production figures might seem impressive, it is a far cry from the amount of beer produced in this neck of the woods back in the good old days. In the 1940s, for example, the old Fitger’s Brewing Company was producing about 100,000 barrels all by itself — and it was far from the only brewery in the region. (Zenith City Online notes numerous defunct Duluth breweries in its feature “Commercial Beer Brewing in Duluth (1850s–1970s).”) With that perspective stated, here is Perfect Duluth Day’s list of craft breweries/brewpubs and their stats.

Bent Paddle BrewingBent Paddle Brewing
30-barrel microbrewery and tap room, founded in 2013
1912 W. Michigan St., Duluth
Karen Tonnis, vice president of operations; Laura Mullen, vice president of outreach and events; Bryon Tonnis and Colin Mullen, co-brewers (all four are owners)
2014 production: 7,800 barrels 

Fitger's BrewhouseFitger’s Brewhouse
10-barrel facility supplying five pubs and a retail store, founded in 1995
600 E. Superior St., Duluth
Tim Nelson and Rod Raymond, owners; Dave Hoops, master brewer
2014 production: 2,300 barrels (estimate) 

LSBC1Lake Superior Brewing
15-barrel microbrewery and tap room, founded in 1994
2711 W. Superior St., Duluth
Don and Jo Hoag, John Judd III and Karen Olesen, owners; Dale Kleinschmidt, head brewer and operations manager
2014 production: 2,100 barrels 

Castle-Danger-BreweryCastle Danger Brewery
30-barrel microbrewery and tap room; microbrewery founded in 2011, tap room opened in 2014
17 Seventh St., Two Harbors
Jamie and Clint MacFarlane, owners; Mason Williams, head brewer
2014 production: 1,500 barrels 

ssblogoSouth Shore Brewery
10-barrel microbrewery, founded in 1995
808 W. Main St., Ashland
Bo Bélanger, owner and head brewer
2014 production: 1,384 barrels 

CBBC1Canal Park Brewing Co.
15-barrel brewpub, founded in 2012
300 Canal Park Drive, Duluth
Rockie Kavajecz, owner; Jonathan Portinga, interim head brewer
2014 production: 1,160 barrels 

VoyageurVoyageur Brewing Co.
20-barrel microbrewery, founded in 2015
233 W. Highway 61, Grand Marais
Mike Prom, Cara Sporn and Bruce Walters, owners; Jason Baumgarth, brewer
2015 production estimate: 1,000 barrels 

AngryMinnow1Angry Minnow Brewing
10-barrel (kettle system) brewpub
10440 Florida Ave., Hayward
Will Rasmussen, general manager; Jason Rasmussen, brewer (both are owners)
2014 production: 900 barrels 

ThirstyPagan1Thirsty Pagan Brewing
2-barrel brewpub, founded as Twin Ports Brewing in 1996
1623 Broadway St., Superior
Steve Knauss, owner; Allyson Rolph, brewmaster
2014 production: 612 barrels 

BoatHouse Brewpub & RestaurantBoatHouse Brewpub & Restaurant
3.5-barrel brewpub and restaurant, founded in 2008
47 E. Sheridan St., Ely
Mark Bruzek, owner; Joseph Tome, general manager
2014 production: 270 barrels 

BLBBlacklist Brewing
3.5-barrel brewpub, founded in 2012
211 E. Second St., Duluth
Brian Schanzenbach, co-owner and head brewer; Jon Loss, co-owner and marketing director
2014 production: 14 barrels (fire and plumbing problems severely affected production; estimate 300+ barrels in 2015

Carmody_goodCarmody Irish Pub & Brewing
2.5-barrel basement facility supplying upstairs brewpub; bar founded in 2006 with brew production starting in 2009
308 E. Superior St., Duluth
Liz Gleeson, brewery owner; Rick Sauer, brewmaster (Ed Gleeson owns the bar upstairs; Rick Boo owns the Two Harbors location, Carmody 61)
2014 production: 109 barrels 

DubhLinn1Dubh Linn Irish Brew Pub
2.5-barrel (kettle system) brewpub; bar opened in 2006 with brew production starting in 2011
109 W. Superior St., Duluth
Mike Maxim Sr. and Mike Maxim Jr., owners; Seth Maxim, head brewer
2014 production: 51 barrels 

Gunflint2.0Gunflint Tavern & Brewpub
5-barrel brewpub, restaurant founded in 1998 with beer production starting in late 2014
111 W. Wisconsin St., Grand Marais
Jeff and Susan Gecas, owners; Paul Gecas, head brewer
2014 production: 26 barrels (Nov/Dec only) 

Borealis2Borealis Fermentary
6-8-barrel microbrewery, founded in 2012
P.O. Box 130, Knife River
Ken Thiemann, head brewer and owner
2014 production: 26 barrels 


Cory Fechner

about 9 years ago

Voyageur Brewing Menu

voyageur brewing menu grand marais

Cory Fechner

about 9 years ago

Gunflint Tavern Microbrew Selection (12/18/14)

gunflint tavern brewing menu grand marais

gunflint tavern brewing menu grand marais


about 9 years ago

I think CPB has a different brewer now.

Paul Lundgren

about 9 years ago

We have updated the post to note Jonathan Portinga is the interim head brewer at CPB. Thanks for the heads up, John.


about 9 years ago

The first brewpub in the area that offers a Schlemiel Schlimazel beer with a hasenpfeffer stew gets my money.  And undying admiration.

Paul Lundgren

about 8 years ago

Paddle Break Blonde

Paddle Break Blonde is back and now available at Bent Paddle's tap room. It hits liquor store shelves in Duluth/Superior next week and all other areas the following week.

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