Duluth brewpub owners looking at Minneapolis expansionThe owners of Fitger's Brewhouse are focusing on the former Trocaderos event center for a potential Minneapolis brewpub.
By: Candace Renalls, Duluth News Tribune
The owners of Fitger’s Brewhouse in Duluth hope to expand to the Twin Cities with the opening of a brewpub near the downtown Minneapolis warehouse district.
Just Take Action Inc., a hospitality business owned by Tim Nelson and Rod Raymond, is considering several locations, but is focusing on the former Trocaderos event center at 107 Third Ave. N. in Minneapolis. With its 1,500-capacity music venue, it would be larger than JTA’s current pubs and restaurants in Duluth, which include Tycoons Alehouse, Burrito Union and the Red Star Lounge.
“It feels like a ton of potential and is in the area we want to be in,” said Brad Nelson, Tim Nelson’s brother and JTC’s marketing director.
There’s more than a few hurdles to clear first, however. JTA doesn’t own the building yet. Financing hasn’t been worked out. And they have no timeline established.
Like most of its Duluth locations, the potential site is an old historic building, which they prefer.
“We’re just looking at the building very intensely,” Brad Nelson said. “We hope to purchase it in the fall, renovate it and put a brewpub in. We want to put a nice brewery in the middle of the floor with tables around it.”
Fitger’s Brewhouse has built a reputation for its craft beers and food during its 17 years at Fitger’s Brewery Complex in Duluth. It has become a “must stop” for many visitors to Duluth, some of whom leave with growlers to take back home.
“We already have that respect down there,” Nelson said of Minneapolis. “We know we have one of the highest regarded breweries in the state.”
The new brewpub doesn’t have a name yet, but it won’t be called Fitger’s Brewhouse, said Nelson, adding that the Fitger’s name is reserved for Duluth.
JTA had been considering branching into the Twin Cities area for about two years.
“We feel we have the capacity, the respect, and we have the opportunity in this growing industry,” Nelson said. “And we think it’ll be fun to go down and be part of that craft brewery scene down there.”
In December, the company opened Tycoons Alehouse in the historic former Duluth City Hall at 132 E. Superior St. Its opening came after several years of planning, renovations and a $2.4 million investment.
So what impact will this new Minneapolis venture have on what was to be JTA’s next project: refurbishing the former Carlson bookstore building at 206 E. Superior St. into an arts and entertainment draw? Reduced to an eyesore, many have been looking forward to the planned renovations.
“I don’t know the impact on the Carlson’s bookstore building,” Nelson said. “Certainly we will do something with it. I just don’t know how it will affect that.”