New owners take the helm at Lake Superior Brewing

Lake Superior Brewing Company, established in 1994, has new owners // Photos by Brian Kaufenberg

Lake Superior Brewing Company, established in 1994, has new owners // Photos by Brian Kaufenberg

Duluth’s oldest craft brewery, Lake Superior Brewing, officially has new owners.

Lars Kuehnow and Lisa Blade are taking over Lake Superior Brewing (LSB), as former owners Don and Jo Hoag, John Judd III, Karen Olesen, and Dale Kleinschmidt step aside from owning the brewing business.

“We look forward to watching the next phase for LSB,” says Don Hoag of the 23-year-old brewery. “Lars, Lisa, and the whole Lake Superior Brewing team are a tremendous resource and will only strengthen the rock solid base of beer knowledge and experience LSB already brings to the table.”

Kuehnow and Blade plan to maintain the brewery’s English- and German-style beer varieties, and taproom offerings, but hope to inject new life into the brand. “Lake Superior Brewing produces Lars’ all-time favorite beer, Kayak Kölsch, so it had a built-in ‘save the beer’ energy for Lars,” says Lisa Blade. “The opportunity to continue a Minnesota legacy was important,” she adds, “and having the team to do it, well, made it irresistible.”

Dale Kleinschmidt will stay on as head brewer, educating the next generation for Lake Superior Brewing in Charlie Fuller, the brewery’s operations manager. “I am working toward my brewmaster emeritus status, where I consult on and am available to the brew team,” Kleinschmidt says. “As to the front of house transition, it is great. The energy with [the] new team has been something we’ve hoped for a while.”

With this transition, fans of Lake Superior Brewing can expect more tap takeovers, tastings, expanded taproom hours, and “new thoughts on beer” heading into the future.

“Growth is anticipated,” says Dale, “and we are relishing the roll.”

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