Surly Brewing Company
The Surly Brewing Company is a Minnesota-based craft brewery with brewing facilities in Minneapolis and Brooklyn Center, noted for well-reviewed beers and primarily canning, rather than bottling. Initially available only in and around the Minneapolis–Saint Paul metropolitan area, it has since begun to expand distribution to include all of Minnesota and several nearby states. Surly has been growing rapidly; it had production of 21,000 barrels in 2012, 28,000 barrels in 2013, and 47,757 barrels in 2015.
Surly's brewing system in Brooklyn Center is a 30 beer barrel (BBL) Sprinkman, one of four identical systems produced by Sprinkman of Wisconsin. The Minneapolis location has a 100 barrel system.
Surly Brewing Co. founder Omar Ansari had been homebrewing since 1994. After apprenticing at New Holland Brewing Company in Michigan and enlisting Todd Haug of Minneapolis's Rock Bottom Brewery, Surly Brewing began brewing in Brooklyn Center.
In February 2011, Surly announced that it intended to open a restaurant and beer garden, which was expected to cost US$20 million. The new facility would also increase its brewing capacity to approximately 100,000 barrels. This type of installation was not in line with Minnesota's liquor laws, however. With the help of the Surly Nation, fans of the brewery's beer, some members of the Minnesota Legislature were convinced to propose changes in order to allow it. Minnesota's three-tier liquor sales system would not allow breweries to distribute their beer for retail sale and sell on the brewery's premises, as a brewpub does. After just a few months, changes to Minnesota's liquor laws that would allow Surly to sell beer for consumption at the proposed BrewPub, were passed in an omnibus liquor bill introduced by Rep. Jenifer Loon (R - Eden Prairie) and Sen. Linda Scheid (DFL - Brooklyn Park). Known as the "Surly Bill", this bill was signed into law by Governor Mark Dayton on May 25, 2011.
Surly purchased an 8.3 acre plot of land in Prospect Park, Minneapolis for its $20 million brewery in April 2013. Surly secured $2 million in environmental mediation grants from Hennepin County to address more than a century's worth of accumulated industrial pollution at the site. Their new brewery and taproom opened in December 2014.
For the first several years Surly was only available in the Minneapolis-St. Paul area due to limited supply. An initial expansion to Chicago was reversed in June 2010 to ensure they could reliably serve the brewery's home market. In November 2013, Surly re-entered the Chicago market, being offered at over one hundred different bars, restaurants, and liquor stores in the Chicago metropolitan area. This expansion included canned and kegged Surly Cynic, Hell, Bender, Overrated, and Coffee Bender, with some Chicago liquor stores carrying select Surly specialities when available. In early 2015 Surly expanded its distribution to include Iowa and is also aiming to include Wisconsin by the end of 2015.
- Surly Brewing to return to Chicago, Chicago Tribune, November 07, 2013, Josh Noel
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