On Friday, craft beer pioneers Summit Brewing Company celebrated the official completion of a multi-year expansion project that includes space for its canning line, administrative and sales offices, and an industry training room for wholesaler and retail partners.
St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman was on hand to help with the ribbon cutting and spoke about how much Summit means to the city and the impact the company has had both on craft brewing in general and his own personal tastes.
“Summit helps brand St. Paul,” Coleman said. “They’re the backbone of the craft brewing industry here, in my mind. [Summit Founder] Mark [Stutrud] was there at the beginning of all this. I still remember drinking Summit for the first time and thinking, ‘Wait, this is beer?'”
Stutrud said they’ve invested more capital in the company over the past two years of construction ($18 million) than during the original build-out of the brewery in 1998 ($12 million).
“We’ve got a bit of a hangover from the past 24 months of construction,” Stutrud joked.
In 2013, Summit purchased the 40,000 square foot building and 3.5 acres of land formerly occupied by Twin City Tile and Marble Company directly to the east of the brewery. The company first set its sights on installing a canning line in the new space, which pumped out Summit’s first cans in spring of 2014. In addition to the canning line, the building houses Summit’s packaging and inventory.
The new building is connected to the brewery’s cellar–a $7 million expansion that was completed in September 2013–via an elevated pipeline capable of transferring 40 gallons of beer per minute to brite tanks that feed the canning line.
To help educate Summit’s wholesale and retail partners about its beers, the company created an industry training room complete with A/V and a 26-foot bar made of reclaimed wood by Minneapolis-based Wood from the Hood.