Craftsmen Interviews are designed to introduce you to dedicated, hard-working local makers that are cultivating local culture. Short, easy reads that impart valuable knowledge and inspire you to explore and support authentic endeavors. Stay ahead of upcoming trends and get recommendations from those helping to build their community. (-Learn more)
We were excited to sit down with 56 Founders Kale & Kerry Johnson, Brewer NAME, and NAME to talk a little about what it’s like to build a brewery from the ground up
Kale and Kerri Johnson are long-time NE MPLS natives. Kale is a former engineer and home brewer and when the couple started dating he introduced Kerri to the world of craft beer. You could probably say their specialty is their personalities, which have spawned multiple partnerships.
56 Brewing was born in 2015 in a teeny-tiny tap room in NE Minneapolis (the current home of Broken Clock Brewing) and has since grown to a huge space with over 18 staff members and partners and is “one of the fastest growing breweries of 2017“ – Brewers Association.
What inspired you to quit your job and start a brewery?
“Working as a mechanical engineer for 15+ years in corporate world while home-brewing for many of those years, all things mechanical, beer and business just made sense to start 56 Brewing.
I love the way 56 Brewing collaborates with other local businesses across the food and culture spectrum. What are the 2 collaborations you’re most proud of?
“We strive to use only locally sourced ingredients whenever possible, always in our seasonal variations and infusions.
Collaborating with local suppliers and environmentally sustainable ingredients is just one of many ways we can reduce our carbon footprint.
For example, Vertical Malting is a small, northern Minnesota grower and maltster. Collaborating with them has been exciting. Also collaborating with Fresh Energy, a non-profit with an energy use focus, along with Bare Honey using solar Farm honey, Connexus energy with the ability to purchase solar rec’s (sRec’s) to offset our energy consumption, and using Kernza (a perennial grain) in collaboration with General Mills, Cascadian Farms and the Land Institute, in several batches of beer. “
Local Love. Name your favorite 56 Beer and what your favorite things in NE MPLS are when you’re not at your own brewery.
We go for daily strolls or bike rides along the St. Anthony parkway (&31st). It’s like the forest in the city there; several local wild turkeys, fox and deer that can be seen!
My Favorite place to eat? The Sample Room )with access to the restaurant via their dock on the river).
My 56 Brewing Beer Recommendation: Midwest Coast IPA (with rotating hops)