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 theWisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) will be used to renovate the former Leamon Mercantile building on Superior’s North End into the16,000-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 full time-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 brewerTim Nelson and his company, Bev- Craft. Earth Rider Brewing will service theTwin 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 in1916.
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, without standing brewers to match. Earth Rider will brew world-class beer, I guarantee you.”