SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — If you have a taste for local beer, you’re in luck. Craft breweries in South Dakota have bubbled up from five in 2011 to 36 in 2019 according to the Brewing Assocation and the South Dakota Department of Revenue.
While some beer-makers are getting ready to open up new tap rooms, others are expanding on what they currently have.
It takes a lot of blood, sweat and tears to make your own beers and no one knows that better than the owners of Severance Brewing Company.
“We’ve been doing a lot of the work ourselves. Finishing up a little bit of tile around the doorway in the bathroom. Then we’ve got some grout to finish in there and then those are all said and done,” Scott Heckel said.
From all that to framing, painting and more, Heckel and Mark Stavenger are “all in” on their mission to bring a cascade of brews to Sioux Falls. The two first met through their wives who’ve been best friends since childhood.
“It’s nice to have, kind of your heart and soul in it. You know where every screw is, where every bolt is. It just gives you more pride and ownership,” Stavenger said.
Located across from the Levitt Shell in the Cascade at the Falls complex on Phillips Ave, Severance will be a highly visible brewer when the first keg is tapped for consumption. It’s a bit of pressure for two guys new to the game.
“You know the location, the investment into it, there’s always that pressure but it’s a good pressure. It’s fun. It’s exciting. Excited to show people what we can do and what we’re all about,” Stavenger said.
I’m standing where the bar will be located. It has a great view of the upper falls. Right behind me here is where the taps will be. When this place opens in mid-July, you’ll be able to experience nearly a dozen beers from Severance Brewing Company.
“It’s going to be a bit surreal to tell you the truth. This is something that I’ve been dreaming about since 2011,” Heckel said.
Heckel brews the beer. The former IT employee at a local bank got a Mr. Beer kit from his wife in 2008 and the rest is history.
“The feedback we’ve gotten has all been good. I’m pretty confident in my schooling and the R & D that I’ve done over the course of the last ten years that we’ll have some good product out there,” Heckel said.
Stavenger believes in the beer. The former Augustana assistant women’s basketball coach is trading in the court for the keg.
“It’s right around the corner and we’ve got a lot of work to do but we’re excited,” Stavenger said.
“The potential. There’s so much potential in this area and it’s such a massive space,” Remedy Brewing’s CEO and co-owner Matthew Hastad said.
About a mile to the west near the Denny Sanford PREMIER Center, another craft brewer is making progress on lofty goals.
“So we’re actually putting in a production facility out here, a large production plant, to expand our footprint. The big thing right now with the system we put in place, we’re running out of beer,” Hastad said.
Hastad is showing us around a space his company is renovating for a variety of uses.
To say the building has character, is not a steep climb.
“It used to be a dairy a long time ago. At one point in time it was an Army hospital, a war hospital. It was a tire storage facility. It was an indoor sports entertainment area where they had go-karts. They had climbing, mini-golf,” Hastad said.
Hastad sees a lot of opportunities here but Remedy is taking it piece by piece. Right away, they’ll only be tapping into 20,000 of the building’s 80,000 square feet. The rest… rented out for storage.
“There’s a lot of ideas and a lot of things that we want to do and a lot of concepts that we want to bring to South Dakota that aren’t being done yet. I can’t get too much into because as soon as you said it, then you need a time frame and we don’t have time frames yet for a lot of that,” Hastad said.
Here’s what we do know. Remedy has plans to become a major player. Their brewery at 8th and Railroad is a five-barrel system capable of brewing 1,000 barrels of beer a year.
“Out here we’re putting in a 30-barrel with about 3,000 barrels worth of capacity to start with the ability to expand that very quickly,” Hastad said.
That will allow Remedy to get more of its craft brews into the market and into cans you can find at local stores.
“When people say, what do you have in South Dakota? Say, go down to your local liquor store and pick up a pack of Remedy. Take it with you. Take it out of state. Take it back to your friends and family. Show them what we have in South Dakota, that good beer is being made here,” Hastad said.
Remedy could also be doing the city a big favor by upgrading an empty site in an area city leaders are focusing in on.
“We have beautiful parks right next to us. There’s softball fields right across the street. We’re close to the PREMIER center. There’s a lot to actually do in this area. It’s just you need something to be that core to bring everything together,” Hastad said.
While Hastad hopes to get the production facility up and running by late summer, work on a tap room would be next and the building has plenty of outdoor space for a possible beer garden a short walk away from the area’s major concert venue.
“It feels like sometimes people come in, go to the concert and leave. We want to provide more opportunity for people to experience what Sioux Falls is about and what South Dakota is about,” Hastad said.
“So when they come in for a concert, they can go out for a decent beer that’s made in South Dakota. They can see some of the culture that’s in South Dakota and kind of get a feel for our town and our city and how vibrant life is here, that’s what we’re trying to bring to this area,” Hastad said.
This space, along with what Severance is putting together near Falls Park, should both play a role in doing just that over time.
“Building community around that whole thought of gathering around a pint with your friends and family to just talk about life and to just experience life together,” Hastad said.
If you’d like to try some of what Remedy Brewing Company has to offer, here is a link to their website. As for Severance, you’ll have to wait until they open but the company is hiring employees starting this week.