Surly Brewing Company – FIVE year Anniversary and EXPANSION plans!

This is a post I did for a national beer blog that I'm writing for now, I thought I'd share it on the Dank Blog as well!  It's a little bit more formal then I usually get, and i typically just write about my own brewing and shit, but I'm hoping to get some free beers out of this new venture! Cheers! Nick

Surly Brewing Company is a local Minnesota brewery which sent the Minnesota beer scene into a frickin frenzy 5 years ago and they’re still shakin things up to this day.  Minnesota in 2006 at the time Surly began brewing, had only a few big breweries that were putting out very traditional beers.  Summit (Ales) and Schell’s(Lagers) were the only real players in the Region.  Surly had a unique situation in Minnesota, they didn’t strive to put out traditional beers that people wanted, they strove to put out beers that people didn’t realize they wanted.   Five years ago you couldn’t find a 100 IBU IPA on the shelves in Minnesota until Surly’s Furious hit the shelves and freaked everyone’s palates out.   Thus the beer revolution of Minnesota began! 

Now, Five years later this month and Surly is putting on parties all across the Twin Cities area at Pubs and Restaurants that were early adopters of their bold products.   Not only do they have casks of their normal line up, but they are also releasing my favorite Surly beer to date, Pentagram, a 100% Brett Barrel aged beer that reminds me of a slightly less sour Flanders Red Ale.   It’s a fantastic beer by Surly and a direction that I hope they continue in.   It’s obvious to me that the new direction the craft beer is heading is towards Sour/Funky beers.   Surly’s first foray into this territory is extremely successful and ended up pulling in a first place “The Great Snow Shoe Award” at the Minnesota Brewer’s Guild – Winterfest earlier this month!

In addition to all the hoopla about Surly’s five year anniversary, Surly also announced this month that they are planning a $20 million dollar brewery expansion project that includes a new huge brewery connected to a brewpub, outdoor patio, and event center.  They are calling it a “Destination Brewery”.  The only issue is, Minnesota state legislation currently won’t allow them to sell beer on site.   Surly is getting Surly once again and looking to change the local laws and regulations.   All they want to do is sell beer, that they produce, on site at their own brewery.  Nothing more, nothing less.   I hope that Surly is allowed to build this destination brewery as it would be a huge boost to our local economy with a projected 150 new jobs created.

A $20 million dollar brewery expansion, after only 5 years of being in business!  Now that’s a success story!   A success story that tells you that not only do you need a great product, but you also need great marketing, communication, and vision in this industry!
If you’ve never had a Surly beer before, hopefully this expansion happens and they are able to manage greater distribution while maintaining their high quality.

Breaking NEWS….If you are a homebrewer, good news, Todd Haug (Surly’s Brewer) recently put out a Pro-series of beers with local St. Paul homebrew store Northern Brewer where you can re-create most of the Surly line of beers including Furious, Cynic, Bender, Smoke, and Bitter Brewer!


  1. I hate to do this but there has been a rumor that Surly may be looking in Nordeast for this thing as well, but I don't like spreading rumors so I have to disclaimer this one. As far as I know Surly isn't even trying to get growler sales back, so the opposition is confusing me quite a bit.

    Also, haven't tried Petagram yet, and I will. But, it isn't a style I am a big fan of, I keep trying though.

  2. how awesome would that brewery/pub/restaurant be in NE MPLS! Crazy. I really don't think there is a whole lot of opposition now that they are only talking about selling there beer at the brew pub. I was hoping that they were trying to go big...selling 4 packs and bottles out of the store. Maintaining self distribution...I guess they weren't as Surly as everyone thought they were! Cheers man!

    Pentagram isn't for everyone. I don't always like Brett beers either, but this was more fruity, and less those other Brett descriptors, ie, Sweaty horse blanket, barnyard, band-aid, leather, etc. All things that don't seem to fit into my ideal beer.

  3. They could fight the self distro and three tier system later if they want, but I am guessing they are less worried about that part of it.


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