Northern Brewer alums opening Arbeiter Brewing in South Minneapolis

Arbeiter Brewing rough plans and sketches // Photo by Joe Alton, The Growler

Arbeiter Brewing rough plans and sketches // Photo by Joe Alton, The Growler

Three Northern Brewer veterans and a brewer from Town Hall are working to bring a new brewery to life in South Minneapolis’ Longfellow neighborhood. This fall, Arbeiter Brewing (German for “worker”) will open in the former Harriet Brewing space on Minnehaha Avenue.

Though they’re in the earliest stages of building out the 15-barrel brewery and 200-seat taproom, co-founders Juno Choi, Garth Blomberg, and Josh Voeltz are adamant that they want the neighborhood to define the brewery, not the other way around.

“I’m just excited for the doors to open, and to be able to have a canvas to paint the portrait we want to paint rather than going into something preexisting,” says Blomberg, who’s in charge of graphic design and marketing for the brewery.

This community-first ethos will also be reflected in the beer that head brewer Aaron Herman will be brewing. “We’re definitely very cognizant of [the fact that] we’re a brewery in the community, so we want to make sure that our beers are probably going to be somewhat fluid in terms of the styles that we tend to brew, based on what our community wants,” says Choi. “I think that’s really important for us, versus us dictating what they should be drinking.”

Herman, who currently is brewing at Town Hall under Mike Hoops, will be paying homage to traditional German beer styles, while leaving some room for healthy experimentation. “We’re very happy that he decided to come on board with us,” says Choi. “We’re very confident in his ability, because we love the beer that he’s producing already at Town Hall, but also we’re really excited to watch him blossom as his own head brewer.”

Garth Blomberg, right, and Juno Choi, left, stand in one of the old Harriet Brewing Company rooms, part of Choi and Blomberg's newly acquired building which they hope to build a brewery in // Photo by Joe Alton, The Growler

Arbeiter Brewing co-founders Garth Blomberg, left, and Juno Choi, right. Not pictured: co-founder Josh Voeltz and head brewer Aaron Herman // Photo by Joe Alton, The Growler

While the team has the collective knowledge and experience to jump right into production, Choi and Blomberg are both looking forward to starting small. “We’d rather let the growth come a little bit organically and see where it takes us. A part of us, all coming from larger companies, kind of want to make sure that we take time to be present, and enjoy what we’re doing instead of rushing to be in the top spot.”

A big part of the brewery will focus on community engagement, which Blomberg says he learned working at Northern Brewer.

“We really enjoyed that aspect of that company, so we really wanted to bring that to this,” he says. “It’s easier to get that done in a neighborhood taproom-focused brewery, to really be a part of the community, and interact with your surrounding businesses and neighbors.”

“Just interacting with people, interacting with the community, and really being on a level where we can engage people face-to-face,” Choi adds.

The exterior of 3036 Minnehaha Avenue // Photo by Joe Alton, The Growler

Arbeiter Brewing will be located at 3036 Minnehaha Avenue, the former home of Harriet Brewing // Photo by Joe Alton, The Growler

Now that the location has been locked down, they’re aiming to open Arbeiter by early fall. By working on events with neighboring businesses like The Hub Bike Co-op, Moon Palace Books, and The Hook and Ladder Theater, Blomberg and Choi are most excited to weave themselves into Longfellow community as a friendly place for people to grab a pint.

“I’m in no rush to become a huge production brewery,” Choi says. “There are a lot of advantages from doing that, but we’ll take that when the time comes. I’d rather enjoy shootin’ the shit with Garth and Josh and Aaron for some time as we grow.”