Tim 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.
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.
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