Two start-up craft beer makers are sharing space and equipment at a new Minnetonka brewery to save money under a cooperative venture that required a special federal license.
Lucid Brewing, which began commercial beer production in November and recently sold its 1,000th keg, shares brewing space and bottling equipment with Badger Hill Brewing Co., which started production this month.
The two start-ups acquired a federal alternative proprietorship license that allows two companies to work independently while sharing space and equipment. "It's basically two breweries starting in one location," said Jon Messier, Lucid Brewing partner.
He said the arrangement maximizes efficiency and reduces cost for both companies. Lucid owns the brewhouse, though both companies have their own fermentation tanks, and Badger will own the 3,000-bottle-per-hour bottling line to be installed next month.
"There is a lot of capital we saved by being in the same building," Messier said. "It allowed Badger Hill to bring in a bottling line right away."
The brewery is at Hwy. 62 and Interstate 494.
Each company handles its own brewing, distribution and taxes and has its own employees, operating on separate days. The companies make different styles of beers that don't directly compete with each other.
"The way we look at it, this is 'coopertition' versus competition,'' said Brittany Krekelberg, a partner in Badger Hill Brewing with her husband, Broc, and his brother Brent.
"The more people make good craft beer, the more the category will grow, and more people will buy it," she said. "We don't look at it as we are competing. ... We look at it from the standpoint that we can all work within the same space and grow the category."
Lucid, which was Minnetonka's first production brewery, is sold in about 70 bars and restaurants and more than 40 liquor stores, Messier said. It brews Air, Cammo and Dyno beers and ale.
Badger Hill's first beer is MSB -- Minnesota Special Bitter. It will be launched Friday at the Beer Dabbler truck at the Twin Cities Pride Festival in Loring Park.
David Shaffer • 612-673-7090