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Beer Battle Brewing: Mpls., St. Paul Fight For Surly

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(credit: CBS) John Lauritsen
John Lauritsen is a reporter from Montevideo, Minn. He joined WCCO-...
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MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — The battle of the beer has begun between Minneapolis and St. Paul.

Both cities are trying to put themselves in position to attract Surly Brewing Company.

Surly is currently based in Brooklyn Center, but is looking to build a $20 million destination brewery.

The “Surly Bill” passed this legislative session, allows cities to grant licenses to businesses that want to add a restaurant and bar to a brewery.

“Surly is another successful Twin Cities story and certainly St. Paul would be proud to be a part of that,” said St. Paul communications director, Richard Carlbom.

But across the river, another city sees the attraction.

“In Minneapolis, we think this is a positive and we have a good way of handling this,” said Minneapolis councilmember, Elizabeth Glidden.

In the race to tap into Surly, St. Paul has moved quickly. As soon as the Surly Bill passed at the Capitol, they passed an ordinance allowing breweries to sell tap beer and food.

“Right now they can serve the alcohol if they give it away, now they can have events and sell it on site. That’s a big advantage,” said Carlbom.

Minneapolis will hold a public hearing on Aug. 8 to discuss passing a similar ordinance.

“It’s very rare to have change in liquor laws in the state of Minnesota. This was something major that happened,” said Glidden.

Surly’s destination brewery would create 150 full-time jobs for whatever city it ends up in. And thanks to the Surly Bill, Surly won’t be the only brewery to benefit.

Summit Brewing Company in St. Paul can now sell beer and food on-site if they choose. And Minneapolis officials say Fulton Beer and Harriet Brewing are two companies looking to expand in their city — if an ordinance passes.

“We know that’s substantial and we are excited about the opportunity to bring them here,” said Glidden.

In St. Paul, business opportunities are already brewing.

“Whether it’s Surly or one of our home grown breweries in St. Paul, we are excited that St. Paul is ready to do business with them,” said Carlbom.

Surly said a decision about where they will build the brewery will come sooner than later.

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