After 23 years of serving the Duluth beer community, Fitger’s Brewhouse will be distributing their beers throughout Minnesota.
In order to work around Minnesota’s liquor laws, which prohibit brewpubs from distributing beer to retailers and caps annual production at 3,500 barrels, Rod Raymond, owner of Fitger’s Brewhouse, is handing over the rights of his beer recipes over to his son Beau Raymond, who has created a totally separate company with a production brewing license called Bold Brewing and will brew Fitger’s classic beers under the brand name, Duluth Brewhouse.
“With all the marketing done by Duluth Trading Co. and Duluth Pack, we felt that it was a great opportunity to continue promoting the city,” Beau says regarding the brand name. “Also, we’re ‘Duluth’s Original Brewpub,’ so it’s only fitting. We felt that Duluth is becoming a powerful household name in today’s market—synonymous for fresh, clean, cold, adventurous, and healthy.”
Duluth Brewhouse entered into a contract brewing partnership with Barley John’s Brewing Company in New Richmond, Wisconsin, where it will produce, can, and keg some of the standout beers found at Fitger’s.
Barley John’s used a similar tactic as a workaround to Minnesota’s liquor laws limiting production limits and distribution for brewpubs. John Moore, founder of Barley John’s Brew Pub in New Brighton, opened his production brewery, Barley John’s Brewing Company, in 2015, which allowed him to package and sell his beer to retailers. Since Minnesota brewpub owners are not allowed ownership in another brewery, the two businesses are separate legal entities with different ownership. The brewpub is now owned solely by Laura Subak, Moore’s wife, while the production brewery is owned by Moore.
Likewise, Fitger’s Brewhouse will continue to be owned by Rod Raymond, while Bold Brewing (and the Duluth Brewhouse brand) is owned by Beau.
The first two beers on the docket for Duluth Brewhouse will be Apricot Wheat Ale and Superior Trail IPA, both launching June 1.
“I’m so excited for the next chapter of Duluth Brewhouse beer,” Rod said in a press release. “To think that my son would be the one leading the charge just embodies the strong family values and culture we promote at the brewpub.”
Later this year, more Duluth Brewhouse beers will hit liquor stores throughout the state, including Starfire Pale Ale, Big Boat Oatmeal Stout, and El Niño IPA.
“I’m so grateful for this opportunity to promote such a high-quality product and well-respected beer brand,” says Beau. “In a beer market saturated by constant new entries and crazy beer styles, we will be the old guy on the block finally joining the party. It’s going to be insanely fun and we have such a strong community.”