News & Updates

Lots to report over at Summit

Longtime Summit employee moves on, employee ownership and input, new packaging and more. Lots of news to report in this edition of the Summit newletter….

September 2008

New Horizons for Horace!

Hello good readers.  As most of you know, life never stays static – particularly in the field of brewing.  Horace Cunningham, my brewing school classmate and trusted colleague, has decided to leave Summit Brewing Company and seek new adventures. 

He’s somewhat reticent to disclose what he’s up to.  It may be some consulting.  Or, perhaps he’ll start a small business.  This adventure also coincides with his wife Annette’s decision to finish medical studies to pursue opportunities in the public health field.

Regardless of Horace’s next path, he will exhibit courage and illuminate integrity – talents and characteristics that he brought to Summit during our past decade of growth.  We all thank Horace for his contributions and wish him well on his next adventure.


Wouldn’t it be cool to work for a brewery?  Wouldn’t it be even better to own a brewery?  As Summit employees, we often hear these questions.  And for nearly forty percent of us, we can emphatically answer yes to both questions.

Summit Brewing Company has many long-tenured employees and is extremely fortunate to have little employee turnover.  In fact, the average tenure of Summit’s current work force is six years.  These employees are not only committed to producing and selling a high quality beer, they also have yearned to become owners of the brewery.  The CEO and founder of Summit, Mark Stutrud, listened to their requests and held an interdepartmental forum that made recommendations about their vision of an employee stock purchase plan.  Voilá!  In 2005 the brewery offered employees the ability to purchase stock after reaching three years of full-time employment.  Today the brewery has nineteen employee owners.  These individuals own over twenty-two percent of the outstanding shares of Summit stock.    

So the next time you enjoy a cold Summit, know that there is a more than likely chance that not only a Summit employee, but also an owner of Summit put their heart and soul into the production or sale of that beer for you to enjoy…Cheers!

Kelly Larson,  Chief Financial Officer and Employee Owner

In the summer of 2008, Summit formed a new internal team that facilitates the exchange of new ideas and opinions from the staff to the executive committee.  This new group, The Idea Management Team, will take the ideas and opinions from employees and filter them through more analysis and meaningful discussions.  By taking a proportional representation of the Summit staff, which includes members of administration, sales/marketing, packaging/shipping, and brewing, the team intends to form a thoughtful avenue into which the diverse perspective of each employee’s ideas can be implemented to improve Summit.  Jeff Spaeth, our V.P. of Sales & Marketing that formed the committee, had all too often heard ideas that were brought up, bounced around at length, and then lost in the ether of the ratskeller.  By forming this new team, it will provide a more coherent pathway for our energetic staff to introduce new ideas that might not otherwise come to fruition and once again be lost in an empty beer glass.

Once the Idea Management Team has fully discussed and created an executable plan for the new idea, the team will bring a formal presentation to the executive committee for consideration. Examples of just a few of the ideas presented to the team so far have ranged from analyzing and lowering our carbon footprint, to providing comment cards for tour guests,  to assessing new brands.   After being fully vetted by the Idea Management Team and the executive committee, the ideas will be ready to be put into action.

David Ricker, Bottle House and Idea Conduit

Tony Cayko, Brewery Accountant and Idea Gateway

Summit Brewery Bash Contest   Visit a Blue Plate Restaurant through the beginning of December for your chance to win!   Prizes include a 35 person brewery party, a Summit brewer jacket, 4 club seats for our local pro hockey team, a Sue Mclean Concert package, and a First Ave concert package.  Come fill out a Summit coaster at the Groveland Tap, Highland Grill, Longfellow Grill, Edina Grill, or 3 Squares.  The drawing will be held December 4 at 7pm at the Groveland Tap (need not be present to win).

Winter Sampler   The beloved winter sampler pack is back with a new look!  Look for this 12-pack of Winter Ale, Extra Pale Ale, India Pale Ale, and Extra Special Bitter by the end of October. Now, do you give it as a present or do you keep it for yourself?  The answer is, buy two.

Savor Summit at Mackenzies! Come on down to Mackenzies on Tuesday, September 23 from 6-8pm for a sampling of many fine brews by Summit.  On hand for the evening will also be a cask conditioned pin of our signature Extra Pale Ale.  It will be your only chance for this unique drinking experience!  Chat with folks from Summit and pick up some Summit gear giveaways.  And of course, enjoy discounted pints of our beers all night.
Amazing Case   The game is afoot!  The annual Amazing Case beer scavenger hunt extravaganza is Saturday, October 25 from 12-7pm.  Be sure to register early before it gets all filled up.  This year it takes place in downtown Minneapolis, starting at the Lyon’s Pub.  Lots of fun for everyone, but only 32 teams can register, so hop to it!
Beer Dinners   Mark your calenders for the Edina Grill Summit Beer Dinner on October 7 at 6:30pm.  Let Summit founder Mark Stutrud guide you through a five-course meal lovingly paired with five Summit beers.  Call 612-202-7703 for reservations.

Le Bistro in Superior, WI will also be hosting a Summit beer dinner on October 20.  Visit our website in upcoming weeks for details on this event.

Gift Shop News   Fall has brought some new items to the Summit Gift Shop!  We have new tees designed by FloraFauna, we have glassware in fancy new shapes and even more coming in November, and some great sale items to scoop up.  Stop by soon or visit us online.

Special Tappings  Stop by the cask ale fest at the Groveland Tap in St. Paul on September 20, from 2pm until the casks run dry.  You’ll find Summit and others showing off some cask-conditioned ales just waiting to delight your palate.  We will be featuring a firkin of EPA dry-hopped with Amarillo hops from Oregon for our most intense, hopped-up style to date!

Oktoberfest is at the Black Forest Inn…Raise your mug and make a toast! Check out fun festivities happening at the Black Forest Inn September 26-October 5.  Make doubly sure you stop down on October 1 at 6pm for a special Summit Night.  Meet your friends from Summit Brewery, enjoy a mug of our delicious Oktoberfest, and enter to win a private Summit Brewery Tour!  Drawing will be held at 9pm.  Also that night, you will be rewarded for making a “Prost!”:   stand up and toast your friends, and the Black Forest will supply the beer! 

Beer Festivals  Fall is the perfect season for sampling brews, so stop by our booth and say hi at the Big Lake Brewfest on September 20 in Superior, WI or the Autumn Brew Review on September 27 in Minneapolis.


Summit is a proud sponsor of the production of Deer Camp in downtown St. Paul at the Lowry Theater from September 26 to November 30.  Drink a Summit beer while laughing at the shenanigans of these four “hunters”.

Come aboard an Oktoberfest Boat Cruise along the Mississippi River.  Enjoy the fall colors, the sunshine, crisp autumn air, and Summit Oktoberfest beer!   Festive German polka music and Helga the Hamburg Wench set the scene for this party.  Experience a rousing game of Hammerschlagen and feast on a lunch of German favorites.  Cruises set sail on Saturdays in September and October on the Padelford Boat & Packet Co. at Harriet Island in St. Paul.

The Happy Gnome’s Oktoberfest on September 19 & 20 features live music, food, and lots of Oktoberfest beer-cheers to that!

Not ready to give up on summer?   Head over to Stella’s in Uptown where you can still enjoy the beautiful outdoors on their heated canopied upper deck.  For the month of October, enjoy $3 pints of Summit Extra Pale Ale and Oktoberfest…ALL DAY, EVERY DAY!

Plan ahead…a delicious Summit Beer Dinner is also in the makings at Stella’s Fish Cafe.  Mark your calendar for Thursday, November 6.  Visit our website for more details in the near future.

The Taste of Minnesota Made is a showcase of food and beverage products made only in Minnesota, and features all available styles of Summit beer.  The event takes place on September 25 from 7-10pm at Mulligan’s Event Center in Sartell, MN.  Call 320-656-9000 for information.

Our beer will be available for sampling at A Taste of Como on Friday, September 26 at the Holy Childhood Parish parking lot at Midway Parkway and Pascal Ave in St Paul from 5 to 9pm.

Jägerfest 2008 at Clubhouse Jäger features great live music in their beer garden PLUS you get a free Summit Oktoberfest with the $5 admission.   Join the fun on September 27!

Also on September 27 is the Great Mississippi River Wine & Dine Rendezvous on Raspberry Island in downtown St. Paul.  Savor over 175 wines, beer, and fine food, including yours truly.

Minnesota Thursdays at Famous Dave’s in Uptown!   Get yourself a $2 pint of delicious EPA or Oktoberfest.  Every Thursday from 10pm to close.  Get there even earlier and check out their new Happy Hour:  $2 taps featuring Summit EPA and Summit Seasonal from 4-7pm everyday! 

Summit Extra Pale Ale is the September Beer of the Month at Champps:  Minnetonka, Eden Prairie, and Richfield.  Stop by for $2 pints or $3 22-ouncers!  

For our Rochester friends, come by Whistle Binky’s on Sundays in September and October for $2 Summits!

Oktoberfest is the September Beer of the Month at CC Club in Minneapolis and Bunny’s in St. Louis Park. 

Visit Jimmy’s Food & Drink in Vadnais Heights on October 3 & 4 for their Oktoberfest party.

Westside Liquor is having its annual tasting extravaganza at their Willmar and Waite Park locations in October.   The Westside Willmar event is Thursday, October 16 from 5 to 7:30pm and the Waite Park event is Thursday, October 23 from 5 to 8pm. 

Come enjoy Summit beer at Quivey’s Grove Beer Fest in Madison on Saturday, September 17. Enjoy great brews with some stellar live music!
Enjoy Summit beer on tap at The Library in Madison before all Badger Football games.  Located just north of Camp Randall Stadium, The Library has great food and is pouring some tasty Summit beer all football season long! 

Drink Summit beer and support a great cause!   Come to the Bay Area Humane Society Brew Fest on October 24 at the KI Convention Center in downtown Green Bay. 

by Damian McConn

Minnesota’s Finest

At 1pm on Saturday, September 27, over 2,500 beer fans will commence sampling in the largest celebration of beer in the state of Minnesota. Yes, it’s that time of year folks. The Autumn Brew Review will return for its eighth outing, just as last year located on the warehouse lot of the historic Grain Belt Brewery complex in N.E. Minneapolis.

The Review has grown significantly since its first inception back in 2001. Organized by a small group of dedicated individuals from the recently formed Minnesota Craft Brewer’s Guild, the Review camped out on the steps of Peavey Plaza in downtown Minneapolis. The overall goal of the Guild was, and continues to be, the enhancement and promotion of Minnesota breweries and their beers, and the Review provides a terrific showcase for the quality and innovation of Minnesota’s breweries.

Back in ’01 both the number of participating brewers and supporting patrons was greatly less than the masses you can expect to see in a couple of weeks. The ABR however was successful enough to assist the Guild in its fledgling efforts to improve and educate the public on the quality and variety of Minnesota-made beer. In addition to the smaller and more intimate Winterfest, proceeds from the Review are used by the Guild to provide marketing and advertising material for the Guild’s members as a whole, assist in legislative efforts to update and broaden the availability and choice of beers for the Minnesota public, and spread the message of encouraging and supporting Minnesota’s locally-owned breweries. 

ABR ’08 will feature virtually all of your favourite Minnesota breweries, plus some other fine brewers from across the Midwest, with unlimited sampling of over 150 beers. A commemorative tasting glass, programme, free live music and access to some great food vendors will all add up to another celebration of great beer. As with other local breweries, we here at Summit will be providing some special beers just for the day, including a wet-hopped cask of Extra Pale Ale, an Oatmeal Stout conditioned with Brettanomyces, and a cask of Great Northern Porter primed with black treacle.

Although now sold out, we hope to see many old friends and hopefully make some new ones at an event that continues to grow and evolve. Be sure to check out your local brewers regularly and often, as their beer line-up may change throughout the day. Above all, we sincerely hope that you come to further appreciate Minnesota’s many great breweries and beers.