Tag: jack pine brewery

Jack Pine Brewery Opens Saturday

Congrats to Jack Pine Brewery – they’re opening this weekend! Should you find yourself in the Brainerd/Baxter area Saturday, stop by their taproom. They’ll be open 1-4.

Tasters $2, Pints $5, New Growlers $15 (refills will be $10) Cash or Credit.

First Look: Jack Pine Brewery

For the out-of-towner, a trip to the Brainerd Lakes area typically means recreation. Cabins, kitsch, Paul Bunyan Land and maybe a trip through the ice on Pelican Lake [not that anyone ever did that in April of 1996].  Not surprisingly, there’s been a great deal of development in the area to support this industry. Now, an Olive Garden and a Costco are not the sort of things that would bring me across the street, much less two hours from home, but these are, two of the newest additions to the Baxter, MN commercial district. Fortunately, those aren’t the only new additions to the scene and the newest one speaks to those who use vacations as excuses to try new beers.

Located in the Baxter Industrial Park, camouflaged in a building that appears to be a townhouse with a loading dock, Patrick Sundberg has been methodically building Jack Pine Brewery.  “Availability”, he replied when asked about the most significant difference between the beer scenes in the Brainerd Lakes area and the Twin Cities metro. “ We just can’t get those special, limited release beers available down there.” That dearth of beer variety, though, has been changing in the past few years. Brainerd Lakes Beer was the most recent to attach the region’s name to craft beer and national crafts have found their places in bars and liquor stores in the area. Soon, Jack Pine will be the first brewery and taproom open in the area, shepherding a new era of craft beer availability in the region.
“I’m really into building things and planning” – a colossal understatement by Patrick Sundberg

Though he juggles work, parenting and brewing, few people apart from Patrick would have been as well-prepared to open the region’s first brewery and taproom completely under their own direction. This left-brained brewer started out by studying math, physics and homebrewing in college; one of which was prohibited on campus.  Once he transitioned into honest employment, and non-clandestine homebrewing, he became a certified beer judge, and in 2007 started the Blue Ox Brewers’ Society to bring together homebrewers from around the region.

Planning the business of opening a brewery was not a difficult leap to make.  The structure involved, the regulation…it’s all logical, so this played to Patrick’s strengths.  His nine-to-five work in the field of engineering precision hardware is highly scrutinized, tested and documented, so he was already prepared for scrutiny, paperwork and repetition when seeking federal, state and local approvals.

Clearly having the know-how but needing some wherewithal, he turned to Kickstarter to raise funds and build enthusiasm. So, after (no surprise) researching and planning exactly how much startup capital he’d need and his likelihood of successful funding, he launched his project in June. After thirty days he was funded, throwing the plans into high-gear.  To that point, everything about the business (the website, the marketing, the logo, and all the planning, not to mention the brewing) had been orchestrated by Patrick himself.  After the Kickstarter campaign he had the attention of his backers and the community.  A mention in the Brainerd Dispatch quickly made him a person of interest in the area; strangers would approach him and ask how the brewery was coming along. Patiently and with precision, Patrick guided himself through zoning and permitting and had the help of friends, family and contractors doing their part to make his plan a reality.

“80 gallons of beer really doesn’t go that far.” – Patrick on marketing a small volume

With construction nearly finished and approvals obtained, Jack Pine Brewing is almost ready to serve beer. Currently, plans are to be open by the new year.  His goals, in the short term, are modest: develop draft accounts and run the taproom and help give the region an identity when it comes to craft beer.  There may come a time when he can package the beer, but that decision will be based on his initial successes.  Three year-round offerings (Dead Branch Cream Ale, Fenceline Pale Ale and Duck Pond Nut Brown Ale) will be available from the start as well as seasonals to come. All are recipes he named long ago and fine-tuned over years as a homebrewer.

Look for Jack Pine on tap around the Brainerd Lakes area or just stop by and grab a growler to take to the lake, cabin, shanty, trail, your friends’ wedding, the racetrack – whatever fits your fancy. You can take pride knowing that the beer served in the taproom, from brew kettle to keg, to tap, is some of the shortest-travelled in the state…literally, you’ll see what I mean when you get there. Merchandise and growler gift certificates are available via website’s online store. Check there and on Facebook for the latest about availability and hours.

And for Pete’s sake, watch yourself on the ice.

Jack Pine Brewery
7942 College Road
Baxter, MN







Kickstarting Breweries: The New Trend?

Thanks to new contributor Danika Peterson for this one. Catch her on Twitter at @Danika_Peterson

Update: Blacklist Brewing Co. just completed a successful Kickstarter project a few days before deadline. Congrats guys.

Lucid Brewing was the first brewery in Minnesota to run a successful Kickstarter campaign.  Last November, Lucid was able to raise $10,590 toward the expansion of the brewery and a community brewing space.  Since then, two other breweries in Minnesota have run successful Kickstarter campaign: Bemidji Brewing, and Jack Pine Brewery.

It hasn’t always been that easy to raise money.  As recently as last May, Steel Toe Brewing attempted an ambitious $35,000 Kickstarter fundraising drive.  Their drive did not succeed.  This means even though they took in $10,783 in pledges, they got nothing out of the fundraising, because Kickstarter is an all or nothing deal.  Either you raise the money or you don’t.  There is no in between.  All pledges they received were refunded.

Lucid owner, Jon Messier poses with one of their Kickstarter rewards.

Lucid owner, Jon Messier poses with one of their Kickstarter rewards.

Lucid admits to taking a strategic position on fundraising by reviewing all of the successful brewery fundraising drives on the books, and taking ideas and points from each of them.  Lucid Owner Jon Messier also says that at least one other Minnesota brewery seeking Kickstarter funds contacted him.  Patrick from Jack Pine Brewery came to their Minnetonka brewery for a tour and a conversation while Jack Pine was still in the homebrew stage.  Lucid says they were more than happy to share their knowledge and experience with an up-and-coming brewery.

Lucid already had a brewery and a business plan, so their Kickstarter fundraising was all about building a community brewing space where future breweries or the next great homebrewer could flourish.


Currently Badger Hill brews their beers under Lucid’s roof, but Messier says that he hopes they can encourage and mentor dozens more breweries in the future.  “The goal of our Kickstarter was to build creative community around the brewing industry.”

“Our goal is to have three, four, five breweries in the building, and kind of create a creative atmosphere for brewers,” said Messier as he described their goal for their community space.

Lucid's pilot brewery

Lucid’s pilot brewery

As a part of their community brewing vision, Lucid, Northern Brewer and others, is a part of the Iron Brewer Competition that is underway right now.  Homebrewers and aspiring breweries have the chance to have their brews brewed by Lucid.  Until August 9, go-getting brewers can fill out an application at www.ironbrewermn.com.  And then by August 10, up to 24 potential brewers will be chosen for the competition.  The winner of the entire competition will have 60 kegs of their beers distributed to local bars and restaurants, but perhaps more importantly be distinguished as “The Iron Brewer Minnesota.”

Even though Lucid broke incredible ground by being the first brewery in the state to be funded in such a way, they say that the money doesn’t go nearly as far as someone may think.  They raised just over $10,000, but ended up spending about $4,000 on the printing and shipping or the rewards for their donors.  Their rewards included t-shirts, pint glasses, stickers, the naming rights to one of their fermenters, the first run of growlers and more.

Lucid’s electrical system.  $10,000 buys and installs about four of these nodes.

Lucid’s electrical system. $10,000 buys and installs about four of these nodes.

Even if rewards were not an issue, money in a brewery doesn’t go too far.  This (photo on left) is Lucid’s upgraded electrical system.  Jon pointed to about four of these one-inch squares when asked how far $10,000 really goes.  Those electronics run just one tank.  Based on the high costs of running a brewery, Messier doesn’t think that anyone will ever be able to raise enough money to completely fund a brewery.  “You’d be hard pressed to raise $100,000 on Kickstarter for a brewery.”

But, even more than the money, Messier thinks that the greatest benefit to a successful Kickstarter driver is incredible community interest.  “It’s great to build a loyal fan base, and some loyal customers.” But, Messier admits creating a business off of donations may be difficult,  “I wouldn’t start a business based on results of Kickstarter.”

Right now, Blacklist Brewing is just days away for the conclusion of their Kickstarter drive.  Their drive ends on August 10.  What makes their fundraising drive different is not only the merger of brewing and art, but that once you reach a certain donation level, you can receive a minimum of six unique 22-ounce bottles, which are planned to come out of their brewery monthly.  These beers may not be available in stores, allowing you to have a very rare beer in a very rare bottle.

As for right now, Kickstarter appears to have a moderate interest from breweries in the state, even if it may be for smaller projects.  So, even if Kickstarter may not be fully funding anyone’s business model anytime soon, they can still provide both the brewer and the donor a significant benefit.