Ownership Changes at Fitger’s Brewhouse

Looks like Tim Nelson and Dave Hoops are leaving. What will they do next?

The Growler: Major ownership, brewer changes at Fitger’s Brewhouse



about 9 years ago

I personally am saddened by this.  Now Rod Raymond, a man notorious for sexually harassing a significant number of young women at UMD, will be the majority owner of Fitger’s Brewhouse, Tycoon’s Alehouse, Burrito Union, Redstar Lounge, and Endion Station. 

According to a 2012 DNT article about a 2012 investigation into his sexual harassment, which followed a 2009 investigation into his sexual harassment and intimidation of young students ...

"In the wake of news of the new investigation, a former vice chancellor at the school says he was removed from his position in 2009 after he recommended firing Raymond.

Randy Hyman had ordered the investigation three years ago that took two months and resulted in himself and the director of the Office of Equal Opportunity recommending that Raymond be fired.
'The evidence from the investigation clearly indicated that he had been sexually harassing a number of young women,' Hyman said the News Tribune. 'Because of that, the university has the obligation to take appropriate action. In that case, I felt termination was the most appropriate.'"

Star Tribune: UMD fitness director faces new sex harassment charges

Rod Raymond was fired in part as a result of the 2012 allegations.

Another DNT articles reported on Rod Raymond's intimidation of student who filed sexual harassment charges...

"Records also show that UMD agreed to pay a student and her attorney $30,000 in April after the Minnesota Department of Human Rights found probable cause that she was sexually harassed in 2009 by Rod Raymond, a fitness instructor at the university. The records also show that UMD discriminated against the student when Raymond allegedly retaliated against her after she reported the claimed harassment."

MnLabor: UMD probes two new complaints against Raymond

There have been two PDD threads discussing some of this at length ...

Regarding Rod Raymond
Rod Raymond – Part II

Knowing this, what does it mean when we patronize his restaurants and line his pockets with our cash?

Special K

about 9 years ago

I've reconciled my trips to those establishments over the years by considering the fact that Raymond was only one of three principals, not to mention the staff.  Since he was at least being taken to task for his actions elsewhere (although UMD's handling of that is arguable), I would support Hoops and Nelson, because the beer was great  and what they were doing had a lot of merit with the local beer/entertainment scene as the article mentions.

Now with Bent Paddle, Lake Superior Brewing's taproom, Castle Danger, Thirsty Pagan, CPB, Blacklist, and Vikre, along with whatever Hoops and Nelson decide to do, there are plenty of alternatives for local beer, some of which didn't even exist back in 2009-2012.

As primary/sole owner, Raymond is going to have to come out and satisfactorily address these issues and/or make amends if he wants to avoid a major hit to his business, at least among those who are aware of the situation.  In the meantime I'll be at Bent Paddle.


about 9 years ago

Special K, That is an understandable position. Hoops made some darn good beer. And now that there are so many other good options, there is even less reason to visit a Rod Raymond establishment. Bent Paddle is my fav. But I have not yet had a Blacklist beer. It looks like I have more Duluth beer to try!

Paul Lundgren

about 9 years ago

Tim Nelson and Dave Hoops

Here is the Duluth News Tribune story: Former Brewhouse owner moves on

A few key points from the article:
  • The buyout includes Just Take Action Inc., the parent company that owns and operates Fitger's Brewhouse and its retail store,  Burrito Union, the Red Star Lounge, Tycoons Alehouse & Eatery and the Endion Station Public House. It also includes Old City Hall LLC, the limited liability company that owns the Tycoons, Burrito Union and Endion Station properties, along with the old Carlson bookstore building.
  • Nelson said he's eager to start a new venture related to craft beer and it will likely happen in the Twin Ports.
  • Nelson's brother, Brad, the company's marketing director, is also leaving. He plans to start his own marketing and events company.
  • Dave Hoops, the Brewhouse's master brewer, is leaving after 17 years. Head brewer Frank Kaszuba will take over as master brewer with Hoops staying on until the end of the month to ensure a smooth transition.
  • Raymond said a handful of silent investors helped him buy out Nelson, but he remains the principal owner.
  • Larry Kerns, an experienced hospitality industry administrator from Kentucky, was hired as director of operations.
  • Burrito Union is being remodeled and its menu expanded. The Burrito Union name will get a tagline: "the neighborhood cantina."
  • Tycoons is settling into a niche of being an old time, 1950s-style supper club with a new menu that includes more fresh fish. It no longer gets beef from the company's cattle ranch after complaints that the steaks were too tough, Raymond said. The downtown restaurant now closes at 11 p.m.. But after that, people in the know can still get into the basement Rathskeller speakeasy from its "secret" Michigan Street entrance.
  • Endion Station has expanded its menu beyond hot dogs and sliders to salads, chips and salsas.
  • Red Star Lounge will be revamped, moving from a martini bar to a bourbon and wine bar with food. Along with it will come a name change, yet to be determined.

Paul Lundgren

about 9 years ago

Mike and Dave Hoops

And here is a MinnPost story on how the Brewhouse is finally able to serve beer at the Minnesota State Fair: The Minnesota State Fair's unlikely booze evolution

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