One of the smaller Twin Ports breweries, Blacklist Artisan Ales, is earning big media attention this week after its announced expansion into the building that previously housed the infamous Last Place on Earth head shop.
Federal authorities seized the building at 120 E. Superior St. in 2013 when Last Place owner Jim Carlson received a prison sentence of more than 17 years for selling synthetic drugs. The structure was built in 1908 as a hotel and had fallen into disrepair in recent years. Titanium Partners, a Duluth-based commercial real estate investment firm led by Brian Forcier, bought it at federal auction in August for $70,000.
Titanium has invested in extensive renovations and Blacklist has plans to move into the historic building this summer as the flagship tenant. The move represents a big expansion for the brewery.
Blacklist began in 2012, launched by a Kickstarter project where backers got a new beer and related piece of art each month. The business later expanded to the former Dubrue brewery space at 211 E. Second St.
Blacklist specializes in Belgian-style beers. Its champagne-style 750 ML bottles can be found in many area liquor stores and restaurants. The company also has tap beer accounts around Duluth, but the new space allows for a production upgrade from a 5 to a 20-barrel system. A taproom is also in the works.
“This move allows us to expand production while continuing to experiment with new ales, in a setting that leaves us more accessible and better connected to our customers,” said Brian Schanzenbach, founding partner and head brewer.
Once a blight on the block avoided by passersby, the restored space that will house the taproom is in a prime downtown location in the middle of Duluth’s recently designated Historic Arts & Theater District.
We couldn’t be more proud to welcome Blacklist to this revitalized part of our vibrant downtown,” Duluth Mayor Emily Larson said in a news release from the brewery. “Blacklist embodies the spirit of Duluth’s craft culture. Whether we’re talking about better beers or better neighborhoods, we come together to make things better.”
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