Flat Earth beermaker to expand into historic Hamm’s Brewery

Hamm’s Brewery employees photographed in St. Paul, sometime between 1880-1885. (Courtesy Minnesota Historical Society}

A St. Paul microbrewer will expand into the historic Hamm’s Brewery complex on the city’s east side.

Flat Earth Brewing Company plans to move into two buildings that overlook Swede Hollow Park. The buildings, in a once-busy industrial district, have become an eyesore in recent years.

Dave Gontarek with St. Paul’s Planning and Economic Development office says an outdoor space will eventually become a beer garden.

“A number of years ago there was fire out there and we were able to put it out and save the historic wall, so that will be an outdoor beer garden but that will be phase two, scheduled for 2014,” Gontarek said.

Flat Earth will occupy nearly one-tenth of the entire Hamm’s complex, he said.

Flat Earth’s director of operations, Franco Claseman said the company considered several options when it ran out of space in its current location.

The company is expected to begin work on the site later this summer. Flat Earth’s brews include Angry Planet Pale Ale and Cygnus X-1 Porter. Output is expected to double during company’s first year in the new space.

“We felt that in the long run we can help the city out by trying to get that area moving in the right direction again. Urban Organics as moved in there, we’ve become very good friends with them,” Claseman said. “There’s going be a distillery potentially moving in there as well, and as a group we want to get that complex running just like they did on the north side, just trying to help out the community in that way.”

Flat Earth is expected to get $375,000 in city funding to help make the transition; most of the $1.5 million needed will come from equity and private financing.

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