Rochester could be home to a six-pack of craft breweries by the end of the year if all goes according to plan.
Adam Fredericksen, former head brewer at Grand Rounds, said Tuesday he has plans to open what could be Rochester's sixth brewery after signing a lease to rent a building at 1929 Second St. SW. The building sits next to Tyrol Ski & Sports and will be renovated to include a tap room and brewery. The goal, Fredericksen said, is to open in the later part of the year.
"We now feel confident that the plan is going to move ahead and hopefully, people are as excited as we are," he said.
The news comes nearly three months after Steve Finnie, who also served as a head brewer at Grand Rounds, announced plans to open a fifth Rochester brewery, which is set to open at a 5,200-square-foot warehouse at 2031 14th St. NW.
Interestingly, both aspiring brewery business owners launched their professional beer-making careers at Grand Rounds (Fredericksen served under Finnie for a period of time at Grand Rounds), and have launched plans to open breweries since leaving Grand Rounds.
Fredericksen said he hasn't yet come up with a name for the business.
Fredericksen, who currently works as the lead brewer at LTS Brewery since leaving Grand Rounds, said he sees a number of advantages locating a brewery on the south side of town. Currently, the northwest is home to three craft breweries and Finnie's brewery, if it opens this year, would make it four. The Southwest Street location, on the other hand, in addition to being a "high visibility area" and a busy route for drivers going to and from work, is more virgin territory beer-wise, he said.
"It opens us to a side of town that maybe other breweries aren't open to at the moment," Fredericksen said.
Fredericksen and his girlfriend are the primary stakeholders behind the business. He said he does have other backers that he declined to identify, but "we're still in the market for a few more."
Beer-makers often describe themselves as a brotherhood. Fredericksen has worked under two Rochester brewers, Finnie and Brandon Schulz, LTS head brewer. When asked if Rochester can support six breweries, Fredericksen expresses little doubt that it can.
"I think everybody looks forward to building a really strong beer community here in town and creating something of destination beer center," he said. "Between Duluth and Northeast Minneapolis, they get all the accolades and news in Minnesota beer. I don't see any reason why Rochester can't be on the map."
A graduate of Kasson-Mantorville High School and a one-time student at Minnesota State University, Mankato, Fredericksen said he began dabbling in home brewing in college. He said he started getting serious about brewing beer about five years.
"I eventually realized that I'm at my happiest when I was home brewing as opposed to when i was sitting at my desk job," he said.
He worked at Grand Rounds for a year and half, first as an assistant and then as a head brewer. Both Finnie and Fredericksen left Grand Rounds within a year of each other, but have declined to comment what prompted them to leave.
Fredericksen said he wants his brewery to include a range of beers, both traditional easy-to-relate to beers and those that would "push new boundaries."
"Our goal is to set ourselves apart with the ability to get creative and abstract and hopefully differentiate ourselves," he said.