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Brewery to open in former Last Place on Earth building

A variety of beers that is offered by Blacklist Brewery in Duluth. The brewery specializes in Belgian style ales. (2014 file photo / Clint Austin / caustin@duluthnews.com) 1 / 2
Blacklist Artisan Ales announced that it will open a brewery and taproom at 120 E. Superior St., the building formerly occupied by the Last Place on Earth. (Steve Kuchera / skuchera@duluthnews.com)2 / 2

A downtown Duluth property infamous for its connection to the synthetic drug trade is being renovated and will see a new tenant this summer.

Blacklist Artisan Ales announced that it will open a brewery and taproom at 120 E. Superior St., the building formerly occupied by the head shop Last Place on Earth.

“This move allows us to expand production while continuing to experiment with new ales, in a setting that leaves us more accessible and better connected to our customers,” said Brian Schanzenbach, founding partner and head brewer, in a statement. Brewery officials said they expect to be fully moved into the 5,700-square-foot space by this summer, with a grand opening date to be announced.

The brewery, which emerged from a Kickstarter campaign in 2012, currently operates at 211 E. 2nd St. in Duluth. The company styles itself as a “gypsy” brewery, creating specialty beers in a rented space.

“We make beers with grapefruit, green tea, lemongrass, Kaffir limes, local honey and even spruce tips that we hand-picked ourselves,” Schanzenbach told the News Tribune in 2014. “And when harvest time comes, we’ll go out to Bayfield and pick our own fruit.” Schanzenbach owns the brewery along with partners T.J. Estabrook and Jon Loss.

At its new location, Blacklist will stand among a multitude of breweries, restaurants and entertainment venues in a stretch of East Superior and East Michigan streets officially designated by the Duluth City Council last September as the Historic Arts and Theater District.

“We couldn’t be more proud to welcome Blacklist to this revitalized part of our vibrant downtown,” Duluth Mayor Emily Larson said in a news release from the brewery. “Blacklist embodies the spirit of Duluth’s craft culture. Whether we’re talking about better beers or better neighborhoods, we come together to make things better.”

The building was constructed as the Delray Hotel in 1908, according to the news release. Last Place on Earth owner Jim Carlson moved his store to the building in 1996 and operated there until the store was shut down by authorities in July 2013. The building was forfeited in 2014 after Carlson was sentenced to 17½ years in prison for the sale of synthetic drugs.

Duluth-based Titanium Partners LLC purchased the building from the federal government in August 2015 for a sale price of $70,000, according to a transaction listing from St. Louis County. Titanium Partners has “invested heavily in returning the building to its former glory, salvaging and showcasing the building’s unique and historic architectural features,” according to the news release.

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