Entrepreneur aims to open taproom, homebrew store in Lincoln Park
Chris LaMere just closed Grainy Days, his homebrew store in Denver, in what its website describes as a relocation.
It doesn’t say to where. It’s Duluth’s Lincoln Park.
Drawn to the area’s mountain biking and other outdoor activities as well as the city’s growing prominence as a craft beer center, LaMere and his fiancee plan to move to Duluth, where she attended college. The 30-something couple also like the effort being made to keep young people in Duluth.
LaMere wants to open Grainy Days Brewery and Supply, a combination microbrewery/taproom/brew supply store at 1931 W. Superior St., which formerly housed Lorenzi’s Boxing. Plans call for a 45-seat taproom that serves a dozen beers, most of which are made on-site with grains, hops and other ingredients and supplies available for purchase there.
“It’s a business concept we’ve seen develop around the country in homebrew supply stores,” LaMere said. “It’s a more extensive backroom experience, focusing on education.”
He’s leasing the building’s 2,500-square-foot corner storefront, while he tries to come up with the financing to buy the building. If successful, he hopes to open in the late fall.
“He hasn’t done anything to the space yet,” said building owner Brian Augustine. “He has some real nice plans and has hired an architect and designer.”
LaMere is working with the Entrepreneur Fund to help make that happen. He notes the building is older — county records show it was built in 1896 — and will need some rehabilitation to fit it to their needs.
“I would totally transform the space,” LaMere said. “We would like to reface the building and put in some roll-up doors to allow for some cross air. We will work with the city to see what they will allow us to do.”
With Bent Paddle Brewing Co. one block away and Lake Superior Brewing Co. seven blocks away — and both with taprooms — LaMere said people taking a neighborhood beer tour could also stop at Grainy Days.
“We are going to be on a much smaller scale,” he said. “We will focus on the classics. We’re bringing the educational element to the consumer so they can understand it and appreciate it better. We’re helping to create a more intelligent consumer.”
However, LaMere’s plans concern Deni Mehle, owner of Serenity Tax & Bookkeeping Services in the building’s other storefront. She fears LaMere will want her 1,500-square-foot space as well. She’s been there since September 2013 with her lease not expiring until 2019.
“I don’t want to move,” she said.
LaMere said she doesn’t have to.
“We’re not trying to displace anybody,” he said. “We’re able to adapt with their business there. If they want to relocate, we can certainly assist them.”