Now Open (or Damn Close) finds Gull Dam Brewing, in the heart of northern Minnesota’s vacationland.
By Brian Kaufenberg
Photos courtesy Gull Dam Brewing
Mark Anderson, private pilot, entrepreneur, and Minnesota State House Representative, has added “brewery owner” to his resume. Mark and his wife Barb are ready to open Gull Dam Brewing, a process that has taken them two years.
Now, he jokes, his job description reads, “Flying jets, making beer, and making laws.”
Representative Anderson’s inspiration to start a brewery came from the same firmly held belief that led him to run for public office: “The only way to get something done is to get in there,” stated Anderson in a phone conversation with The Growler.
He is a self-proclaimed supporter of the craft beer industry in Minnesota, and has backed and authored multiple bills to advance the industry, but now Anderson hopes to build the industry from the inside by creating new jobs at his Nisswa, MN, brewery. Where many new breweries in the state were started by brewers looking to take their skills professional, Gull Dam’s founders are more in the business of expanding craft in Northern Minnesota by offering opportunities for other prospective brewers.
“[Barb and I] will help out where we can,” explained Rep. Anderson, “but we’re going to be hiring people.” The first hire was head brewer Luke Steadman, who was working at Sprague Farm and Brew Works in Pennsylvania and who studied at the Siebel Institute. Steadman will be in charge of brewing a number of styles including a summer wheat ale, IPA, amber ale, and Scotch ale.
Gull Dam Brewing is located in the ten-year-old water wheel building in Nisswa, Minnesota, on Gull Lake. The building is a massive 14,000 square foot complex composed of a 4,800 square foot warehouse—which houses the 20 bbl brewhouse, two 20 bbl and two 40 bbl fermenters—an event center, and a 2,400 square foot loft that will be occasionally rented out to the lake’s lodges and resorts.
Anderson plans to add a canning line to the brewery for off-premise sales at liquor stores. Side note: Representative Anderson would like to see Sunday Beer Sales. For now the beer will be sold in the brewery taproom, as well as at some of the 59 restaurants and bars along the route from the Twin Cities to the Gull Lake area that expressed interest in carrying Gull Dam beers before they were even open.
No need to be offended—Gull Dam Brewing is named after the dam on Gull Lake where the brewery is located. But Anderson’s tongue was firmly planted in cheek when he quipped, “Who wouldn’t want a Gull Dam beer?”
Brewer: Luke Steadman
Beer: Summer Wheat Ale, IPA, Amber Ale, Scotch Ale, and rotating selection
Visit: 23836 Smiley Road, Nisswa, MN 56468
Hours: TBD, dependent on customer demand during the summer and offseason.