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CASTLE MALTING NEWS in partnership with www.e-malt.com
14 April, 2018

Brewing news USA, MN: Boathouse Brothers Brewing Co.’s grand opening to be held on April 20

After years of work, it’s finally time for Prior Lake’s first craft brewery and taproom to open, the SW News Media reported on April 12.

A grand opening for Boathouse Brothers Brewing Co. will be held April 20 on Main Avenue in downtown Prior Lake.

And Prior Lake residents have been patiently (and in some cases not-so-patiently) waiting.

Co-owners Kevin Lethert and Emmett Swartout had tested some of their home brews on the public during Lakefront Days in August 2016. In May 2017, the duo finalized a lease on the downtown location, before completely remodeling the place.

“I’m ecstatic to pour everybody a beer in Prior Lake and the surrounding south metro area,” Lethert said. “We worked hard and long and took a long time to put this together but we’re very proud of it and can’t wait to share it with them.”

Throughout the process, when there was any news on the business, the pair kept the waiting public updated on social media, usually to a chorus of “can’t wait” comments.

“We want to thank everybody for their patience while we were working to get it open and we’re anxious to get a pint in their hand,” Swartout said.

In November 2016, the Facebook page posted that the brewery was hoping to open in early 2017. In June 2017, they posted that it would be a few months minimum with permitting and licensing requirements. In August 2017, the business got federal approval. In September 2017, they were hoping to have a soft opening before the end of the year. In October 2017, the business got the city sale and growler license. In March, they were hoping to open in the beginning of April.

“I’m excited,” Lethert said. “It’s been a long time and we’ve had such good community support and I can’t wait to serve them a beer.”

Now, with all of the permits and necessary licenses acquired and the remodel very nearly finished, Prior Lake residents will get their first official taste of the brews at Boathouse Brothers Brewing Co. at the end of this month.

The brewery will open with two smash brews, a Hefeweizen, a white Indian Pale Ale, a cream lager, an Irish stout, an amber ale and a Belgian Saison. They’re also hoping to have a Mexican lager available as well.

“Our goal is to have enough variety that nobody gets bored,” Swartout said. “People can still come in for the first week and stop in for a pint and not get bored the first week coming in.”

Swartout and Lethert met while Swartout was bartending at the Dockside Bar and Grill in Breezy Point. Lethert’s family had a cabin in the area and he was a customer at the restaurant. The pair became friends and began to seriously look into creating a microbrewery about four years ago.

“I asked Kevin if he was on board with it and he thought about it for half a second and he’s like, ‘Yup, I’m in,’” Swartout has said. “So I was like, ‘Alright, here we go.’”

The location had been home to plenty of businesses in the past, with each owner leaving their mark on the building. Swartout and Lethert tore it down to sheetrock walls, brick walls and wood siding before building out into their nautical aesthetic, keeping with a “boathouse” theme with blue paint, specialized tap handles and a “pontoon lounge.”

“When we’re peeling stuff up or taking out the center bar, we’d pull off the front face and think we’re taking it off, but nope, we’re taking off the log siding,” Swartout said. “Then there was more carpet on the wall and then we’d pull the carpet tiles off the wall and it was more plywood back there and then there was another layer that was just painted over. So it was layers and layers of the past few establishments.”

The pair also added sliding windows to the outside to be able to open the building to the outdoors when it gets nice. The brewery itself will have an ATM, pull tab machine, a touch tune machine, shuffleboard and plenty of board games.

“Our goal is the community vibe,” Swartout said.

The pair is tapping into an exploding market, with craft breweries popping up around the Twin Cities metro, including one in Shakopee that opened last year.

“Our goal here is to brew a little something for everyone,” Swartout said. “I don’t want eight people to have to walk out because one person couldn’t find something they were at least willing to try — a gateway beer for anybody who is not into the craft scene but is still excited to have it nearby and not have to go out of town to try.”

Boathouse Brothers Brewing Co. also has a growler club, where members can receive one to two growler fills a month as well as first dibs on the special brews — though right now, the pre-order for the different levels of the club are out of stock on the company’s website.

And though food won’t be served at the location, food trucks and delivery from local residents will be offered to patrons. It’s all about giving one more reason to bring Prior Lake residents and visitors downtown.

“There’s a lot of local pride in Prior Lake,” Swartout said. “My wife and I moved here almost five years ago and we’ve definitely noticed that Prior Lake loves Prior Lake and we’re definitely glad we moved here too, because it’s a cool, small, big community.”


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