Bad Weather’s Joe Giambruno reflects on first year of taproom

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Bad Weather Brewing is marking the the first anniversary of their taproom on Saturday, Oct. 29 // Photo by Aaron Davidson

Bad Weather Brewing Company will celebrate the first anniversary of their West Seventh Street taproom this Saturday. Co-owner Joe Giambruno, who spends much of his time in the taproom, doesn’t hesitate when asked what it’s meant for the brewery.

“Obviously, it’s the greatest thing in the world,” he says, “but that doesn’t take away from what we were doing before.”

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L to R: Brewer Andy Ruhland and founders Zac Carpenter and Joe Giambruno // Photo by Aaron Davidson

Bad Weather spent its first two-plus years brewing as an alternating proprietor at the Minnetonka brewing facility that also housed then-Lucid Brewing and Badger Hill Brewing. Bad Weather poured its first pints of beer in March of 2013 at the now-shuttered Republic in Uptown. Giambruno credits the work they put in building their brand in those first two years and the help they received from their distributor, Hohenstein’s, for allowing them to build the taproom they’d envisioned from the start.

“By getting the beer in the market, we were able to bring in some good investors and be more attractive to banks to actually build in this location and have the size of the space that we really wanted,” he said. “Without that it would have been much more difficult. We would have had to go a different route, maybe the nanobrewery route, which isn’t something we necessarily wanted to do.”

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Bad Weather Brewing’s taproom // Photo by Aaron Davidson

And since opening the taproom, Bad Weather’s brand awareness and the demand for their beer have grown even faster.

“People are now a lot more familiar with us. Whenever we go liquor store tastings or beer fests we used to get, even after two years, ‘Who are you guys? When did you open?’ Now it’s, ‘Hey, I love your taproom.'”

Since launching cans this spring, Bad Weather has been unable to keep up with demand for their beer, which is why starting next week they’ll begin installing new fermenters that will double their brewing capacity and allow them to better supply their distribution footprint (mostly the Metro and a little bit into St. Cloud and outstate Minnesota).

See more before and after pictures of Bad Weather’s taproom here

The expanded capacity means more tank space for Bad Weather’s brewers to flex their creative muscles, something they’ve already been doing since moving into their 20-barrel brewery and will now be able to do even more of in the areas of barrel-aged beers, sours, and lagers.

Over the past year, Bad Weather has brewed around 30 new beers outside of their core lineup—a pace of more than two per month. Several of those beers will be released this Saturday at their taproom anniversary party. The tap list includes Calamity Russian Imperial Stout, Hibernation Chocolate Blackberry Brown Ale, Bourbon Barrel-Aged Cauld Weather Wee Heavy, Baril De Pluie (a Belgian tripel aged on oak with cranberries), several new casks and infusions, mulled cider, and the beer Giambruno is most looking forward to: Omnious All Funked Up, a barrel-aged version of their double brown ale with Brettanomyces that’s been in barrels since January. The anniversary event will also include raffles every hour, brewery tours, and more.

Looking ahead to year two, Giambruno said they’re most excited about the prospect of new beer styles, better-supplying their distribution footprint, and having a full Wild hockey season now that fans are more familiar with them.

 
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Keith Grauman About Keith Grauman

Keith Grauman is the web editor at The Growler. When he's not drinking beer at work, he can be found homebrewing, reading comics or playing with his kids in the front yard of his south Minneapolis home.