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Earth Rider Brewery coming to Superior

Fitger's Brewhouse co-founder Tim Nelson is starting a regional production brewery in Superior set to start pouring late this summer. Courtesy Earth Rider Brewery

Brooks Johnson

Forum News Service

Local craft brewing pioneer Tim Nelson is building a $2.5 million brewery in Superior.

Earth Rider Brewery will set up its fermenters in the Leamon Mercantile Co. building at 1617 N. Third St. this spring, and it will focus on beer drinkers “around the corner of the lake.”

“We’re going to service our community, that’s our number one thing, and we’re aiming for 2,000 barrels in the first year,” Nelson said Thursday. To compare, he said Bent Paddle produces about 25,000 barrels a year.

Nelson said he expects the first draft to be poured late this summer.

The 16,000-square-foot brewery will be just across Ogden Avenue from Nelson’s Cedar Lounge, where renovations wrapped up in August. The Cedar will act as the taproom for Earth Rider, and the two businesses are separated by a lengthy lawn.

“That gives us all the green space that’s there to use as a beer garden — it’s bigger than a beer garden,” Nelson said.

The brewery is the second to be incubated by Bev-Craft, a regional consultancy started by Nelson, Paul Christensen, Brad Nelson and Dave Hoops last year. The first business born of Bev-Craft, Hoops Brewing, is set to open this spring in Canal Park.

Earth Rider will start out with a 20-barrel system and eventually add cans; it plans to distribute between Ashland and Two Harbors.

“We’re going to start slow,” Nelson said.

Fitger’s Brewhouse in Duluth was just the fifth craft brewery in the state when it was founded by Nelson and others in 1995; today the Twin Ports alone are home to more than that. Nelson sold his share of Fitger’s in late 2015.

Earth Rider will be the first regional production brewery in Superior since Northern Brewing Co. closed in 1967, according to a press release. (Thirsty Pagan Brewing at 1623 Broadway brews only for on-site consumption.)

Learn more about the upcoming brewery at