The newest brewery in Lincoln Park will feature a patio, a pizza oven and a plan to create adventurous, small-batch beer in a former cracker factory.
Ursa Minor Brewing announced this week it will open a five-barrel brewing operation, tap room and offices at 2415 W. Superior St. Brothers and co-founders Ben and Mark Hugus said they hope to begin serving thirsty customers by mid-summer.
The brewery announcement comes after a three-year search for a business location.
“We’ve got a pretty big area so we’re excited about all the things we can do with it,” said Operations Chief Ben Hugus, 26. “We want it to be a family friendly space … an all inclusive environment where people can come and relax and have fun.”
Ursa Minor will feature a 1,500-square-foot patio on the west side of its building. The patio will host music, games and food. The brewery space includes a wood-fired pizza oven and plans to work with a local chef serving Neapolitan-style pizzas.
But Hugus said the biggest attraction will be beer.
Head Brewer Mark Hugus, 25, said he has been homebrewing beer since he was old enough to legally drink. He said Ursa Minor will feature 12 beer taps and four non-alcoholic taps. The small-scale brewing operation will allow for experimentation, variety and high-quality beer.
“That’s how it is with homebrewing. We’ll always be making new stuff,” he said. “There will always be a nice variety of beers available to choose from.”
Duluth native Andrew Scrignoli, 28, will serve as Ursa Minor general manager.
Ben and Mark Hugus grew up in Wausau, Wis. and moved to Duluth after their wives landed jobs in the area. The two brothers can trace family back generations in Duluth and regularly visited the city as children.
Ben Hugus said the Lincoln Park Craft District was a natural landing spot for Ursa Minor.
“This is building number three,” he said. “We’ve looked at a lot of locations but we always wanted to be in Lincoln Park. The craft district and the vibe they’ve got going down … it really matched with what we wanted to do and we feel like we fit in here right from the very beginning.”
The brewery will lease and remodel about 4,500-square-feet of the 103-year-old building owned by David Marshall of Marshall Construction Services. Marshall bought the 11,500-square-foot property in the fall of 2014. The building originally housed a whole rye cracker factory, he said. It was also used by a church as a community center and most recently Horseshoe Bar and Billiards.
Marshall said he was looking for a tenant and was thrilled to connect with Ursa Minor Brewing.
“It’s perfect for the neighborhood,” he said. “This is going to be a destination kind of place. I think Lincoln Park has that ‘Power of 10’ thing going on now. If you’ve got 10 cool and interesting places you’re going to get more people trolling the neighborhood, going back and forth from place to place.”
Marshall will continue to run his construction business on the east side of the building. But he said he hopes Ursa Minor Brewing will eventually push him out.
“These guys are going to get bigger and bigger and will need more room,” he said. “We’re setting it up for them to take this building over. I can go somewhere else with my business. I don’t need the visibility. I don’t need to be on Superior.”
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