Surly Recruits Local Advisors to Select Brewery Site

Surly Brewing Company has hired Minneapolis-based real estate advisory firm Tegra Group-which was involved in several iconic local projects, including the Walker Art Center and Target Field-to help move forward with its $20 million "destination brewery."

Yet another of the many steps involved in building a $20 million brewery has been taken.

Brooklyn Center-based Surly Brewing Company on Monday announced that it has hired the Tegra Group-a Minneapolis-based real estate advisory firm-to assist in selecting a location for its planned brewpub.

Standing before a crowded bar in downtown Minneapolis, Surly founder and President Omar Ansari announced the partnership through a bullhorn, saying, “Now it begins-things are really going to happen.”

The Tegra Group-which was involved in several high-profile local projects, including the Walker Art Center and Target Field-will help Surly select a site for the brewery, finalize financing for the project, and choose architectural, engineering, and construction companies.

Surly, which has been struggling to meet demand for its popular beers, in February announced ambitious plans to build a new $20 million “destination brewery” featuring a beer garden, bar, restaurant, rooftop deck, and event center. The company has said that the project would help create as many as 150 permanent jobs and up to 85 construction jobs.

Ansari and his team spearheaded a change in a longstanding liquor law to create a new type of type of license called a taproom license, which now allows breweries to sell pints of beer directly from their breweries.

St. Paul recently passed a city ordinance to allow its breweries to sell pints on their premises, and Minneapolis followed suit last week. Ansari was present when Mayor R.T. Rybak signed the ordinance-prompting speculation that Surly was honing in on a Minneapolis site.

Ansari's Monday announcement took place at the recently opened Republic Bar & Grill in downtown Minneapolis, as the brewery celebrated the launch of Surly Five-a beer commemorating Surly's fifth anniversary.

Following his speech, Ansari told Twin Cities Business that he has spoken with local construction companies, including M.A. Mortenson Company and Ryan Companies, but the process has taught him that his expertise lies in beer-and properly executing his plan will require experienced professionals like the Tegra Group.

“We're looking forward to building on the momentum established by Surly Brewing Company's many supporters and help navigate the real estate and development process, starting with site selection,” Tom Hauschild, Tegra Group cofounder and partner, said in a statement. “Surly will be considering a variety of raw land, redevelopment, and existing building locations in the coming months.”

“There is one site I like in Minneapolis,” Ansari told Twin Cities Business, although he didn't disclose its location. He said the Tegra Group will conduct due diligence on several sites, and they hope to have narrowed the options to three or four within the next month, and have a final site selected within about four or five months.

Once the site is purchased, Ansari predicts the construction will take between two and three years-although that timeframe could vary based on the type of property selected. For example, revamping a historic site might require more time, he said.

Ansari didn't specify whether Surly is actively examining a site outside of Minneapolis or St. Paul, but said discussions with nearby municipalities indicate that many would be willing to quickly adopt the new ordinance in order to allow the brewery to be built.

Ansari also said that while his project will require time to build, he's heard from other local brewers who are excited to take advantage of the new liquor laws. For example, Fulton Brewery is looking to open a location in downtown Minneapolis this fall.

Surly and the Tegra Group both said that they are encouraging input from the public as they move forward with the new brewery. Surly said that details about how to submit ideas will be explained on its Facebook page.