Carlos Creek Winery to open brewery
Attention, beer lovers: You will soon have another brewery to visit in the Alexandria Lakes Area.
The owners of Carlos Creek Winery announced last Thursday their plans to open a brewery — named 22 Northmen Brewing Company — in June 2019.
According to Carlos Creek Winery owner Tami Bredeson, it will be only the second winery/brewery in Minnesota. The other one is Scram Winery and Brewery in Waconia.
Bredeson called the concept of having both a winery and a brewery on the same site an "adult beverage playground" and said they are excited about the prospects of being able to offer both wine and beer to their customers.
The 22 Northmen Brewing Company name came from one of the winery's winemakers, Brett Murphy. Bredeson said after tossing around name ideas, Murphy came up with "22 Northmen" because of Alexandria's folklore that Vikings explored this area, based on the Kensington Runestone, and also how the name relates to the Bredeson family's Norwegian heritage.
The Viking-influenced "22 Northmen" name came from the first line of the Kensington Runestone, she said. It reads: "Eight Geats (Swedes) and 22 Northmen (Norwegians) on this acquisition journey from Vinland far to the west..."
When announcing the addition of a brewery on the company website, the Bredesons wrote, "These 22 Northmen sound like an adventurous (and thirsty bunch) and we thought it fitting to name our brewery after them. In honor of the Northmen and their thirst for voyaging, the brewery will create beers with influences from around the world. Our tasty brews will be beerventurous, like the Vikings they will be named for."
Bredeson said they will be "doing a big search" for a head brewer. They will be looking for someone with lots of experience and someone who can brew great craft beers as well as a really good pilsner, which she said is one of the most difficult beers to brew.
On heels of Copper Trail
What about Copper Trail Brewing Company? Bredeson said this is a question they have been asked numerous times since making the announcement. Copper Trail, the first brewery in Alexandria in more than 70 years, opened in December 2016.
When the decision was made to open a brewery, Bredeson said she contacted the owners of the brewery, Adam Graf and Dave Gibbons.
"We told them first," she said. "We wanted them to know about it right away. They were very appreciative and on board with us. We will have lots of questions for them and they love to talk shop. I am sure we will have some awesome events together."
When contacted by the Echo Press, Graf spoke on behalf of himself and Gibbons in welcoming another brewery into the market.
"We have always said that another brewery in Alexandria would be a great thing," Graf said. "At one point in Alexandria's history, there were three breweries in operation at the same time. The addition of 22 Northmen not only gives a craft beer drinker more options, it will push us to continue to create new and exciting brews."
Graf and Gibbons said they believe that adding another brewery solidifies Alexandria as a destination location, with many options for everyone to enjoy.
When the winery made its announcement to open the brewery, the owners also announced they were seeking to raise $25,000 through a Kickstarter campaign to help in the cost of opening the 22 Northmen brewery.
The idea for the campaign, Bredeson said, came from her son and daughter-in-law, Tyler and Michelle. Kickstarter campaigns are seen more often in urban areas, she said, and many people may not be familiar with them.
"It is a way for us to harness interest," said Bredeson. "By giving money now, people will get something later. It is letting us know that people believe in this project. And it is giving them some ownership."
According to the 22 Northmen website, every dollar pledged to the project will go into making the 22 Northmen beer hall and taproom. As an already established business, Bredeson said they have already committed to providing funds for the main construction and brewing equipment, but the public's support will help in creating the Viking-worthy tap room.
Bredeson also shared another opportunity with the opening of the 22 Northmen Brewing Company, which is the 22 Northmen Club.
Open to 22 people, the club allows everyone to create and name a beer, design a shield to hang in the brewery, receive free beer for life and much more.
Bredeson said one of the 22 has already been spoken for, as the winery gave one to the United Way. And as of Friday, nine of the 21 remaining spots have been sold.
To learn more about becoming one of the 22 Northmen, visit the brewery's website at https://www.22northmen.com.