Earth Rider Brewery coming to Superior


Earth_Rider_BreweryTim Nelson and his company Bev-Craft have announced plans to build Earth Rider Brewery in Superior. The new craft brewery will service bars, restaurants and liquor stores throughout the Arrowhead region.

The brewery will reside on the north end of Tower Avenue at 1617 N. Third St., just across Ogden Avenue from Bev-Craft’s offices above the Cedar Lounge. The building being redeveloped for the brewery is the former Leamon Mercantile Co.

Nelson expects redevelopment of the structure to begin in the spring with the first batch of beer brewed in late summer.

Earth Rider’s brewing operations will occupy a 16,300-square-foot facility, with a project budget to exceed $2.5 million in private investment with support from the city of Superior, Superior Choice Credit Union, Wisconsin Business Development, Douglas County Development Association, the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation, Northland Foundation, Northeast Entrepreneur Fund and APEX.

Earth Rider Site Plan

It’s been 50 years since Superior has had a brewery producing beer for distribution in the regional market. Northern Brewing Company shuttered its doors in 1967. Superior’s only existing micro-brew operation, Thirsty Pagan Brewing, is a brewpub that sells its product exclusively on location.

Earth Rider is the second brewery to be announced by Bev-Craft. Hoops Brewing is expected to open in Duluth this summer. Bev-Craft is a brewery-incubator consultancy. Its team includes 22-year industry veteran Nelson along with some of the region’s most decorated brewers, including Frank Kaszuba and Dave Hoops.

The Earth Rider taproom will be the historic Cedar Lounge, which was originally built by Northern Brewing Company as a tied house in 1912. A “tied house” is a tavern that sells only the owning brewery’s beer, as opposed to an independent tavern or “free house.”

Renovations to the Cedar Lounge were completed in August and it is currently operating as a beer-centric tavern. An outdoor beer garden and event space are part of Nelson’s future vision to provide a lively connection between the brewery and the taproom.

Nelson co-founded Minnesota’s fifth craft brewery, Fitger’s Brewhouse, in 1995 and has remained an instrumental figure in the industry. He says the Twin Ports have numerous benefits for brewers including a strong workforce, pristine Lake Superior water and a growing number of craft beer drinkers.


Helmut Flaag

about 7 years ago

A quality handle indeed. Reminds me of that classic lost album Zinc Alloy and the Hidden Riders of Tomorrow. You know, if you can't escape Duluth this time of year and hike in beautiful wide open places like the Brin Mesa, or along the hoodoos of the Dragoons and the Catalina Highway, I recommend drowning your sorrows in a place like the Cedar.  It's far enough away from Duluth to feel like you've been places, and seen some shit. You might even encounter a stranger who confirms the rumors that there's a whole world outside the Twin Ports.

Niff Bimrod

about 7 years ago

Maybe split-boarding in the Wasatch? OK, next week it is ...

Jake Nelson

about 7 years ago

Spoken like a perfectly trained townie/hipster, Helmut! 

A troll by any other name is still a...

The beer will be extraordinary. Hope they have the branding chops to survive a saturated/price-sensitive market.

Unfortunately, branding does matter these days. Far too much. Concerned about what I've seen thus far but best wishes to all involved.

Great people! Great beer! 

@Niff see you at No Name, cara ;).

Niff Bimrod

about 7 years ago

@cara, will be on the ridge for sure

Special K

about 7 years ago

Is it just me, or does Tim Nelson look like Donald Sutherland with less white hair?

Paul Lundgren

about 7 years ago

An update, via a June 27 news release:

Earth Rider Brewery Launches Construction State grant announced to help boost project in downtown Superior Lieutenant Governor Kleefisch: “Superior deserves its own brewery”   SUPERIOR, WI || Earth Rider Brewery officially launched its construction phase while receiving a $109,877 Wis. Economic Development Corporation grant at an event earlier today. The event was held in the future brewery space in the former Leamon Mercantile building.   “Superior doesn’t need its own brewery,” said Lieutenant Governor Rebecca Kleefisch to begin her speech, “but Superior deserves its own brewery.   “This redevelopment project has the potential to be a true catalyst for downtown Superior that should boost other businesses in the area and create jobs and spur additional development. Having a vibrant downtown with amenities like this also will help area employers attract and retain millennials, which is vital to meeting the workforce needs of today and tomorrow.”   The Community Development Investment Grant from the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) will be used to renovate the former Leamon Mercantile building on Superior’s North End into the 16,000-square-foot Earth Rider Brewery.   The redevelopment is the second phase of a plan to create a $2.5 million brewing campus in the North Tower Avenue area that would include the brewery and office/retail space in one building, and a beer tasting room in a second building. Open green space between the two buildings will be used for large events, local food truck operators and other purposes that will boost downtown. The first phase of the project, the restoration of the Cedar Lounge, which will become the tap room, was completed in 2016.   Superior Mayor Jim Paine said, “A working waterfront and a wide array of unique experiences define Superior. We couldn't be more thrilled to welcome Earth Rider Brewing. Live music and craft beer in the beating heart of one of the world's greatest ports is an experience that only Superior can offer. I look forward to toasting their success.”   “I’m thrilled to see Earth Riding Brewery adding to the wave of craft breweries spreading across the state,” said Wis. State Sen. Janet Bewley during her statement. “It’s another reminder of Wisconsin's rich brewing heritage and an important step forward for the city of Superior.”   State Representative Nick Milroy stated: “Tim Nelson was instrumental in transforming the image and culture of Duluth with his entrepreneurship. We are fortunate that he is now investing in Superior. He has already put together a great team at Earth Rider Brewery. This investment will be a catalyst for the continued renaissance of downtown Superior.”   Earth Rider will be Superior's only production brewery, and its first since Northern Brewing Co. closed its doors in 1967.The brewery is adjacent to Superior’s popular restaurants and bars on North Third Street.   Once completed the brewery will create eight to 10 fulltime-equivalent jobs and contribute hundreds of thousands of dollars in wages and benefits to the local economy. Over a million dollars is being invested to make the brewery equipment in Wisconsin using Minnesota and Wisconsin steel.   The project is being developed by well-known craft brewer Tim Nelson and his company, Bev- Craft. Earth Rider Brewing will service the Twin Ports and the South and North Shores of Lake Superior.   Tim Nelson said he chose Superior to build a brewery due to the tremendous amount of support and enthusiasm the project received from city, county and state officials. He also feels a connection to the town, his great grandfather emigrated to Superior from Norway in the 1800s eventually started the Imperial Bakery. His grandfather graduated from Old Central High School in 1916.   He stated that the Twin Ports have numerous benefits for brewers, including a strong workforce, pristine Lake Superior water, and a growing number of craft beer drinkers.   “Superior is at the head of the Great Lakes. The water starts here,” he said. “We have the best brewing water on the planet, with outstanding brewers to match. Earth Rider will brew world-class beer, I guarantee you.”

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