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New 'experience' showcases Superior manufacturing

(Jed Carlson /jcarlson@superiortelegram.com) Food sits on cutting boards at Epicurean in Superior.

The Duluth Experience, a locally owned and operated tour and events company, is heading over the bridge to create a fun and educational experience in Superior in December.

The new experience highlights Superior manufacturers Epicurean and Earth Rider Brewery.

Epicurean, a kitchen tool manufacturer, got its start in 2003 with to repurpose scrap materials from the construction of skateboard parks, a vision led by co-founders Greg Benson, Dave Benson and Tony Ciardelli.

What started as the skate park company TrueRide, has since blossomed into the U.S.A.-made, sustainability-focused manufacturer that supplies a worldwide market with an average of 116,000 cutting boards and kitchen tools per month from its facility on Connors Point in Superior.

In December, Epicurean will open the doors at its new facility and welcome tour groups led by the Duluth Experience.

"We think we have a unique opportunity to share what USA-made manufacturing looks like to us," said Epicurean co-owner and chief financial officer Dave Benson. "Now that our office, manufacturing and shipping operations are consolidated within our new headquarters on Connors Point, we can show guests the process of turning raw material into the serving trays they see at their local Starbucks."

A few miles from Epicurean, in Superior's North End, another big idea brewing.

Inspired by his great-grandfather, Nicolai Nelson, who owned a bakery here in the 1880s, craft beer trailblazer Tim Nelson and his brewing team recently launched Earth Rider Brewing, the newest addition to the Twin Ports craft beer scene.

Earth Rider's 20-barrel brewhouse is the first production brewery to call Superior home since Northern Brewing Company ceased operation in 1967. With Earth Rider beer flowing, Nelson is excited to join the Duluth Experience's new Superior-focused manufacturing tour and immerse guests in the process of craft beer production.

"This truly is one of the best brewing locations in the world," said Nelson. "Lake Superior holds ten percent of the world's freshwater, and it's cold, clear and ideal for brewing beer. Our state-of- the-art brewhouse was designed to our specifications and manufactured right here in Wisconsin with U.S.A.-made steel. We look forward to sharing our brewery with the Duluth Experience guests."

The Duluth Experience launches the new Superior Makers Experience this December with tours planned for Friday and Dec. 15. Guests will experience exclusive, behind-the-scenes tours at the two facilities where they'll learn the stories behind the companies and sample a few delicious Earth Rider beers along the way.

For information, or to sign up for the tour, go to www.TheDuluthExperience.com/Superior-Makers-Experience.

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