Rocky Coast Brewing coming to Lake County
Choosing the North Shore to conduct its business, Rocky Coast Brewing is expected to open in the fall of this year. It's owner says the new endeavor will be located in an old logging building across from Lax Lake in Silver Bay.
The brewer, Jon Klinkenberg, has been making beer at home for twenty years and plans to offer his handcrafted beverages to folks on the Iron Range and North Shore. He says he chose the North Shore mainly because "the people are still Minnesota nice", but also because of a personal love of its natural beauty.
"My older brother exposed our family to the wonders of the North Shore at an early age. I always enjoy camping and the connection you get with nature while staying up there," Klinkenberg said.
When asked about his business plans and vision, Klinkenberg explained his history in the field and experiences that have added to his confidence in opening a new business.
"Having worked in both engineering and business fields across so many different types of industries has given me the confidence to know I can operate a small brewery in the woods," he said.
Klinkenberg recently completed the Intensive Brewing Science and Engineering program at the American Brewers Guild, giving him a chance to operate a larger system. He also built a 15- gallon brewing system in his own garage. These experiences and more have helped him get closer to his goal of running his own operation..
"I always wanted to run a bar, so that part has always been in the mix," he said. "I started home brewing in 1992, joined a local home- brew club for a while, toured Summit when they were a little brewery on University Avenue, toured James Page Brewery when they were still open. Five years ago I came up with either a brew-farm concept or a brew-camp concept, and the camp won out."
Klinkenberg said he plans to brew year-round, expecting that the brewery will see as much business in the summer months as in winter. He's found, however, that it's a challenge to explain his concept to people in the Northland because most think of summer as being the busier season. Klinkenberg says he doesn't see it that way.
"With snowmobilers, skiers, fishing and hunting, we plan to have warm spot to enjoy a cold beer year-round," he said.
Regarding the production of the beer itself, Jon Klinkenberg said he wants to source local ingredients as often as possible.
"We will be looking for the best ingredients as close to home as possible. Quality malt can be purchased in Minnesota and Wisconsin. Our goal is to become as localvore or localtarian as possible, starting with in-house solutions." He said he also plans to grow some of his own ingredients and work with other regional growers.
"I also want to work with the UMD program running the Victus Farms operation in the Silver Bay Eco-Industrial Park, because we have some similar ideas and approaches that we can fine-tune together. That park is one of the things I really like about Silver Bay," Klinkenberg said.
Initially, Klinkenberg intends to employ just one to two people, but this number is expected to grow over time as business picks up.
"Once we start up in spring, we could be looking at 10-15 people between kitchen and service staff, as well as staff to keep up with the seasonal changes in our themes," Klinkenberg said. He also added that the number should further increase when they begin supplying festivals in the region on a regular basis.
Additional information about Rocky Coast Brewing can be found on the company's Facebook page or on its website, http://www.rockycoastbrewing.com/.