Sep 14, 2022 - Business

Minnesota breweries are on the rebound

Minnesota's largest craft breweries
Credit: Data: Brewers Association; Table: Thomas Oide/Axios

Several Minnesota breweries rebounded in 2021 from pandemic-related taproom and restaurant shutdowns.

State of play: Of the 10 largest breweries in the state, seven increased production in 2021 compared to 2020, according to data from the Brewers Association.

Yes, but: Few Minnesota breweries have returned to their pre-pandemic sales volumes.

  • Of the top 10, only Castle Danger, Third Street Brewhouse, Indeed and Fair State surpassed their 2019 numbers in 2021.
  • Surly produced 25,000 fewer barrels in 2021 than in 2019, but it didn't re-open its massive taproom until June.

Of note: Third Street, based in Cold Spring, is a contract brewer, making beer for other brands, as well as some of its own, including Minnesota Gold Lager.

What's next: The association's Bart Watson, who compiled the data, says 2022 is producing mixed results and growth projected near 4-5%.

  • Inflation on the cost of raw goods, particularly grain, is hurting the industry. So is competition from other alcohol products, such as canned cocktails and seltzers.

Between the lines: Many breweries may never return to the good old days of 2019 because competition keeps growing despite a slowdown in the explosion of craft beer consumption.

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