Oakhold Farmhouse Brewery “will not become a reality”

A planned brewery in Midway Township outside Duluth will apparently not come to fruition. Equipment from a disreputable manufacturer could be partially to blame, but there has been no official statement from the owners regarding what ultimately brought the project to a halt.

Perfect Duluth Day first reported about Oakhold Farmhouse Brewery in October 2016. Co-founders Caleb Levar and Levi Loesch were in the process of building a brewery that would specialize in mixed fermentation, a method of brewing sour beers. They planned to open in early 2017, but never did.

Loesch posted on his Facebook page last week the project “will not become a reality.” Social media pages for Oakhold have been deleted, though the website at oakholdbrewery.com remained in operation this week. Loesch did not respond to a request for an interview with PDD. Levar declined to comment.

“The worst part of it all is having to share the disappointment with everyone who has wished us well and provided advice, emotional support and helping hands along the way,” Loesch wrote on Facebook. “Though it’s not the outcome anyone hoped for, having the opportunity to learn so much and the fortune to meet many awesome people makes it hurt a little less. Things get a little better every day.”

A comment on the post asked, “Didn’t you guys get raked over the coals by one of those fly-by-night equipment companies?”

“Almost,” Loesch replied. “We were probably one of the last people to get what we ordered from SysTech, though we had to fight with them for several months. The shitty thing is that even though there’s nothing wrong with the brew system, there probably aren’t many people who want to buy a brewery built by a company being investigated by the FBI.”

SysTech Stainless Works was a Canton, Ohio-based manufacturer of stainless steel brewing equipment. It went out of business in September. In January the FBI took over an investigation of the company, which is accused of defrauding craft breweries across the country — demanding large deposits and providing defective equipment or not delivering it at all.

Minnesota’s monthly craft-culture magazine The Growler featured a four-part “series of journal entries” in which Loesch and Levar wrote about “the trials and tribulations of starting their mixed-fermentation brewery.” Titled “Building a Brewery,” the series halted in June with an article titled “For the Love of Microbes.”

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