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Brewing Success In Marshall, Minnesota

January 6, 2014, 9:51 PM by Hailey Higgins

Brewing Success In Marshall, Minnesota

A popular Minnesota brewery started by three brothers more than a decade ago is booming in a new town.

Brau Brothers started in Lucan, the first city in southwest Minnesota to house a brewery since the prohibition.

The smell of hops permeates through the brew house at Brau Brothers Brewing, as row after row of tanks prepare 10 varieties of beer.

"It's a lot of fun," co-owner of Brau Brothers Brewing Travis Brau said.  "It's a lot of fun as a brewer to brew different beers and not do the same thing every day."

Up to 2,000 gallons of beer are made daily in this 40,000 square foot facility on Main Street in Marshall.

But it wasn't always this way, said Brau, adding that expansion from a town of 200 people last fall increased their size and profitability.

"For us, it was a little bit of a snowball effect. We started brewing in a really small facility. In fact our brewery was a 10x14 foot room in Lucan, Minnesota, and that's how we started," Brau said.

Fast forward more than a decade, and now more than 600 cases of beer leave Brau Brother's every day.

From brewing to bottling to labeling and shipping, the product is exported to half a dozen states in the upper Midwest from Michigan to Nebraska.

While the product reaches beyond southwest Minnesota, the ingredients don't come far.  In fact, they grow a couple thousand pounds of their own hops and up to five tons of barley every year.

"We use that in specific batches or special estate beers. In the fall, we do a special fresh hop beer using our own hops. That's a lot of fun, kind of proving to ourselves that we can make beer and grow the ingredients right here in the region," Brau said.

The recent expansion to Marshall from Lucan also spurred the local economy, as the company tripled its workforce, hiring 30 employees to work in the brew house and the new tap room and restaurant.

Each year, Brau says the brewery is growing up to 80 to 100 percent annually and the owners make sure not to forget their small-town roots.

"For a home brewer, it's just scaled-up home brewing; same process just on a bigger scale," Brau said.

And while they're still working out the kinks and getting used to their super-sized growth, Brau says the possibilities are endless for a start-up from small-town Minnesota.

"We've truly been adopted as a local brewery," Brau said. "Not just southwest Minnesota but eastern South Dakota, Sioux Falls, Brookings; we see a lot of folks from the area here. The nice thing about having a tap room now is we can finally have people come in and visit us on their own terms and schedules."

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