When Wayzata put out a call for more destination-focused businesses, entrepreneur Robert Klick heard the call loud and clear. His answer: open a brewery.
First, Klick visited an old dairy building, one that is now being replaced by condos. Then, he turned his attention closer to Lake Minnetonka, to the Boatworks Building. It’s prime real estate—home to upscale restaurant 6Smith and banking and law offices—and perfect for the space Klick envisioned for his modest brewery: essentially, a relaxing garage-type environment, something low-key and accessible, not unlike his brother, John’s, Excelsior Brewing, located across the lake.
“I went from this little tiny 1,000-square-foot garage to 5,000-square-feet,” Klick says. “It kept getting more expensive and bigger.” They added a lake-facing window, offering impressive views of Lake Minnetonka, which is just 35 feet from the brewery. Private docks occupy the space directly in front of the building, but public docks are nearby, and Wayzata is in the process of developing boardwalk plans to further integrate the brewery into its surrounding community.The inside of Wayzata Brew Works matches its lakeside location while drawing on the history of the Wayzata Boatworks Building. A one-time boat manufacturing facility, the Boatworks Building is where the ferryboats Klick’s grandfather once rode in the 1920s were manufactured. Later, military boats for World War II were made here. To connect with that history, Klick has focused the taproom’s aesthetics around a 1940s concept that includes decorative woodwork and original fixtures from the building’s former restaurant tenant, NorthCoast.
The old fashion woodwork merges with a looking-glass theme: the wall-sized lake-facing windows, glass walls surrounding the brewhouse in one room and, next door, a 50-liter still that Klick plans to use for making gin, vodka, and “whiskey—if I can wait.” With a sea blue floor in the brewhouse, and the still resembling something out of “20,000 Leagues Under the Sea,” the brewery boasts a distinct seafaring theme throughout.While it’s all come together nicely, Klick says opening a brewery was never really in the plan for him. “It started after helping John build his place,” he says. “I had no desire to get into the beer business at all. I was more interested in distilling.” That changed after the time he spent on Excelsior Brewing. Klick, who trained at KOVAL Distillery, in Chicago, says having that buildout on his resume, combined with Wayzata’s interest in a brewery, made him realize that distilling and brewing didn’t have to be separate. And with that, a new dream to become the state’s second brewery-distillery was born.
“I want it to be a showcase brewery, very visual,” Klick says. He also wants Wayzata Brew Works to reflect the city for which it’s named—both the community as well as its designation as a destination spot. It’s for the people of the town, he says, and making it feel special was important to him.
Keeping its setting in mind, Wayzata Brew Works will focus on gateway craft beers, suited for enjoyment on and around the lake. “It’s that light beer for the summertime,” Klick says of the beer that will lead the offerings—though he enjoys more experimental beers and plans to make other styles as well. Production will begin in-house, with plans to expand and distribute kegs later on. They’ll start with just beer, and focus on getting the distillery operational at a later date. While they will not have a cocktail room (state law allows for either a taproom or cocktail room, but not both), Klick plans to partner with 6Smith on custom cocktails.
Head Brewer: Adam Schill
Distiller: Robert Klick
Beer: Kolsch-style, Chocolate stout, IPA, English bitter, American wheat, Mexican lager
Visit: 294 Grove Lane, Ste. 150, Wayzata, Minnesota 55391
Hours: Wed–Thurs 4–10pm; Friday 4–11pm; Saturday 12–11pm; Sunday 12–6pm