Archive for February, 2011

Call to Action!

Tuesday, February 15th, 2011


Surly Nation:

What a week! The news that we are planning to build a new destination brewery has had an amazing response. The ranks of the Surly Nation have grown and we are humbled by all of your encouragement. THANK YOU.

But as you know, not quite everybody is in favor of what we want to do.  The bill has not yet been introduced but already there is stiff opposition, with some people telling us we should go to another state and build. We don’t see that as an option right now so we need YOUR help!

Surly Brewing is calling on YOU to make sure state legislators know there is public support behind Surly’s effort to allow Minnesota brewers to apply for a license to SELL GLASSES OF THEIR OWN BEER at the brewery.

We are asking you to contact your state Representative and state Senator to let them know you support the Surly expansion– and the law change that’s needed to make it happen. Here’s how you can help:

Click this link and enter your address to find your state Representative and state Senator:

Email/Call your state Representative and state Senator (contact only YOUR district’s legislators)

Tell them you’re a Surly fan and you support the proposal to allow Surly to sell glasses of THEIR beer at THEIR brewery. Ask your legislators to join you in support of Surly and Minnesota’s other craft breweries.

If you call, it’s likely you’ll get voicemail or be asked to leave a message with your legislator’s assistant, which is just fine. And it’s ok to be passionate but remember to mind your manners. We’re trying to win these folks over to the Surly cause. 

Tell your family and friends to support the proposal and contact their state legislators too!


Since we announced our plans for the Surly Destination Brewery project last week, there’s been a lot of interest and excitement. But, there’s also been a lot of misinformation so we wanted to clarify what we are working toward and formally ask for your help.

WE ARE A SMALL BUSINESS WITH A BIG IDEA:  We want to build a brewery that includes a restaurant, bar, beer garden, and event center, which will make it a destination for craft beer fans in Minnesota and across the country. The destination brewery will be another Twin Cities amenity.

WE ARE NOT LOOKING TO TEAR DOWN THE “THREE-TIER SYSTEM”: Right now we self-distribute our beer, but with the new brewery we are going to give that up and will therefore hire a Minnesota distributor.

WE ONLY WANT TO SELL OUR GLASSES OF BEER AND ONLY AT THE BREWERY: We don’t want to sell liquor, wine, or another brewery’s beer. And we aren’t looking to have multiple locations – just one location, at the brewery.

WE DON’T WANT TO SELL OUR PACKAGED BEERS: We don’t want to sell growlers, cans, or bottles at the new brewery.

WE ARE A PROUD MINNESOTA COMPANY: Some in the opposition have suggested that we build our destination brewery in another state, where the laws are more accommodating. While it’s true that we could get this brewery built in many other states, we don’t see that as an option right now. We want to build it in Minnesota—we are a Minnesota company and would like to keep it that way. Some of the country’s hottest craft beer brands have breweries in their states similar to the one we are proposing.

WE ARE WORKING TO FIND A SOLUTION: This a whole new world for us and it has proven to be an uphill climb to update the law so we can continue to grow our business the way we want to.  But we DO want to meet with the opposition to find a resolution. Our destination brewery will benefit Minnesota in many ways.

MINNESOTA IS A BEER STATE: Other states, such as Colorado, Wisconsin, California, and Oregon are seen as notable beer states and have breweries like the one we are proposing. They attract tourists, which helps other local businesses, including hotels, bars/restaurants and transportation. Beer tourism is becoming more and more popular. In fact, Surly founder Omar Ansari and his wife came up with the concept of Surly on a four-day beer trip to Oregon. And, the New York Times recently featured a beer trip one of its writers took to Northern Minnesota, which further confirms that these trips and craft beer are more popular than ever.

Thanks for your continued support. Now’s the time to connect with your friends, family and co-workers to help keep our proposal moving forward. Keep following us on Twitter ( and Facebook ( for more news and ways you can help.


Omar Ansari

Founder of Surly Brewing

An Update

Friday, February 11th, 2011

I wanted to post to let Surly Nation (and others) know what we are proposing:

-Surly would like to sell glasses of beer at our new facility. Only our beer, not liquor, not wine, not other brewery’s beer.

-We are not asking to sell growlers, cans or bottles at the facility and have never asked.

-We would produce over 25,000 bbls of beer in a year if we build the new brewery so we would give up our ability to self-distribute. In other words, we are making a business decision to use more distributors.

-Contacting MLBA to voice your frustration is counterproductive. They have the right to disagree.

-We will let you know how to help next week.


Monday, February 7th, 2011

Thanks to you, our Surly fans, we’re celebrating five years of Surly Brewing. We’ve expanded our Brooklyn Center brewery as much as we can and brewed almost three million pints of beer in 2010, but you’re still thirsty, and we can’t keep up. So, we’re excited to announce our plans for a new brewery. But this ain’t just any brewery, it will be a destination brewery, worthy of our fans.

The new $20 million destination brewery will be a two-story, 60,000 square-foot building, complete with a roof deck beer garden, a 250-seat restaurant with mouth-watering view of our brewery, and a 30-foot bar.

The brewery is good for us, and great for Surly fans, but it’ll also benefit our state by creating as many as 85 construction jobs to build it over nine months and 150 permanent Minnesota jobs, and offer a complete event center, for concerts, parties, business events, weddings, and more. Now there’s a reason to renew your vows.

It’s a big idea but it’s not a done deal yet. We can’t be licensed as a brewpub because we brew too much beer so Minnesota law currently says we can’t sell beer in the new brewery. We are working with legislators right now in hopes of getting the law changed because a restaurant, bar and beer garden have to be a part of the new brewery. We may need your help soon, please keep checking our web page and our Twitter and Facebook pages for updates.

With the support of our fans and the great state of Minnesota, we can build this destination brewery and start cranking out 100,000 more barrels of Surly beer every year—more than 850 percent more beer brewed than last year. Getting thirsty yet? Hell yeah you are!

Let’s get more Surly!

Media contacts:

One Simple Plan

514 N. 3rd Street

Suite 103

Minneapolis, MN 55401

Phone: (612) 767-2403