Things were going to be different for Dave Hoops as he set out to start his own brewery after years of concocting beers over at Fitger’s Brewhouse and a year on his own as a consultant. His approach was different from many of his peers. His dream brewery was one that started small and would continue to grow only as he saw fit. Two years later he has few regrets, and is set to celebrate a second anniversary with an event called HoopLa 2 on Saturday, June 29th.
The brewery exists in Canal Park and has a reputation with locals as a place where they can bring their families and check out a hockey game, or as a place to relax after a hard day of work. “We’ve been happy with our beers and the heavy community support. Pop ups are huge right now and were some of the first to do that up here in Duluth. There’s been very little turnover here and we’ve received so much support from this community” Hoops says.
The first two years didn’t come without challenges though. “Limited distribution has been tough. I’ve turned down so many opportunities because we just don’t have the beer. We’re the only independent brewery left in the north and growing slow is a challenge” he says. But slowly he plans to increase their distribution footprint and possibly make their way into 12 oz. cans. Plans for a barrel program are in place, and you may even see some “true” sours coming out of the brewhouse.
Dave had been brewing at Fitger’s Brewhouse for nearly 17 years when decided it was time to leave back in 2015. He knew that there was a big risk in opening his own brewery, especially all the responsibility that comes with it. “The difference is that the brewing part is fun, but owning a brewery consists of putting out fires, stress, bills, and drama. On the plus side, every day is different and I don’t have a boss. My talents are now being used in the front of the house too” he states. Trendy beers are not something he gets excited about despite the rapid growth and popularity of breweries in the northland and across Minnesota. “I don’t like being ridiculed for not making a pop tart sour beer. Let’s make beer that we’re proud of. I think it’s important to support each other” he says.
The Duluth scene has grown quite a bit and Hoops attributes much of this to the community and the fantastic beer festival coming up in late July called All Pints North. He calls it the “center point” of our summer. “It rivals Madison and it’s the most beautiful beer fest in Minnesota. I love hosting all the breweries when they come into town” he says. Just call him what he is, the ambassador for quality beer here in the Land of 10,000 Lakes.
If you’d like to check either or both of these events. The details can be found below.
Free on Saturday, June 29th starting at noon.
Featuring live music from Father Hennepin , food from New Scenic Cafe, games, prizes, raffles, and beer specials throughout the day.
All Pints North
$45 on Saturday, July 27th from 3 pm until 7 pm.
Featuring 2 oz. pours of Minnesota beer, live music, food trucks, and a beautiful view of the water from Bayfront Park. Grab tickets here: https://www.tempotickets.com/AllPintsNorth2019