Duluth’s Lincoln Park Craft District is getting a new alcohol-centered business – but it’s not another brewery or cidery.
The Duluth Beer Exchange is a self-pour taproom slated to open in late December at 1905 W. Superior St. Customers will be able to choose between 40 beers, ciders and wine — a majority of which will be locally made — and can then pour drinks themselves.
Regulated by wristbands that people over 21 years old purchase from a host, people tap their wrists against a tablet located above the tap that will allow it to dispense their desired beverage.
A person can pour up to 32 ounces before they need to return to the host, who determines if a person is in a state to drink more.
It eliminates bar lines and allows customers to determine the amount of drink they want — instead of being stuck with purchasing a whole pint.
Jordan DeCaro, owner of the taproom and local developer, said he doesn't see nearby breweries and cideries as competitors. Instead he views them as partners because the taproom will serve numerous local drinks from local breweries and cideries.
"Our goal is to kind of bring ... cider, beer, wine under one roof," DeCaro said.
DeCaro has owned the building for several years. He initially considered putting a Topper’s Pizza in the storefront, as he owns Topper’s locations in the East Hillside neighborhood and Superior.
He decided against it, instead moving forward with a concept that was new to Duluth and addressed what he sees as a problem with people relocating out of the city.
As DeCaro has grown up in the area, he said he's watched as a majority of his peers moved to larger metropolitan cities. He hopes the new idea helps make Duluth a more desirable community, keeping people in the area.
"(I) love this place .. and I just want to keep doing things here that give customers what they want," he said.
The taproom will use iPourIt, a supplier of self-pour technology, which has the tech in restaurants, bars and taprooms across the U.S.
In a statement, iPourIt's Vice President Darren Nicholson said the business is looking forward to bringing the new concept to Duluth.
"We are continuing to revolutionize the Lincoln Park area and the way patrons enjoy time with family and friends," Nicholson wrote.
The local pours will feature Wild State Cider, Castle Danger, Bent Paddle Brewing, Hoops Brewing, Duluth Cider, Earth Rider Brewery and more, while 15 other taps will serve "standard" beer, like Modelo, he said.
"I don't think that a lot of people ... stick their neck out and do these things," DeCaro said.
Eventually, DeCaro said they hope to hold events and trivia, collaborate with nearby businesses on events, and do giveaways — and hopefully open a second location. For now, however, he simply wants it to be a desirable location where people hang out with friends and family.
With barn wood and tile veneer details, he called the taproom’s atmosphere cozy. Several televisions will also be featured throughout the space, and a bar is available for ordering cocktails.