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CASTLE MALTING NEWS in partnership with Italian
06 December, 2022

Brewing news USA, MN: Gambit Brewing Co. on tap for former 12welve Eyes Brewing space in St. Paul's Lowertown neighborhood

A new brewery is on tap for the former 12welve Eyes Brewing space in St. Paul's Lowertown neighborhood, The Business Journals reported on December 5.

Owner and head brewer Josh Secaur hopes to launch Gambit Brewing Co. in mid-January on the lower level of the historic Pioneer Endicott building, located at 141 Fourth St. E. in St. Paul, whose the turnkey taproom and brewery spaces have sat vacant since 12welve Eyes closed in June 2019.

Gambit is already brewing beer and plans to offer a wide variety, then dial in the tap list once it has a better sense of what guests want. Annual production will be quite small, at least to start – Secaur estimates around 700 barrels in the first year – with some off-premise sales from the taproom and limited distribution.

Secaur got his start as a home brewer more than 20 years ago and helmed Bobtown Brewery in Roberts, Wis., as its head brewer for about three years. Bobtown's owner, Mike Christianson, lives in Minneapolis and will serve as general manager of Gambit.

Another bar-centric business, Alley Cat Cocktail Lounge, planned to open within the Pioneer Endicott building, but Secaur said it's not moving forward due to a licensing issue. Terry John Zila, the chef/baker/caterer behind Hepcat Coffee, told the Business Journal that he's currently running his Alley Cat concept as a cocktail pop-up in the Osborn370 building and he's hopeful that he'll eventually find a permanent home for it.

The craft beer scene in greater downtown St. Paul has suffered some significant losses in recent years, including Tin Whiskers Brewing Co. in May and Stacked Deck Brewing Co. last October. But they've gradually been offset by new additions, with their own brews and focuses.

MetroNOME Brewery recently replaced Birch’s Lowertown Taproom & Barrelhouse, which closed in October 2020, across from CHS Field. Its mission is to help support musical education in the Twin Cities.

Further south, in St. Paul's Highland Park neighborhood, Wandering Leaf Brewing Co. is shooting for a March opening where Champp’s once operated a restaurant in the Sibley Plaza strip mall.

Gambit intends to be community-focused and hopes to serve as a gathering space for the people who live in Pioneer Endicott building, as well as St. Paul as a whole.

"St. Paul got hit pretty hard by Covid, and they're really pushing hard to bring it back, so we're excited to be a part of that resurgence of downtown," Secaur said.

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