Cossetta’s kitchen manager eyes St. Paul for future brewery

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As the number of breweries continues to multiply in Minneapolis, only one beer-maker in St. Paul — the pioneering Summit — has taken advantage of Minnesota’s one-year-old taproom law.

But a husband-and-wife team from St. Paul plans to change that. Darcie DeFoe and her chef spouse, Chad White, say they’re committed to opening a brewery and taproom in St. Paul. They’ve even named their startup after the Saintly City.

Last City Brewing Co. is a nod to the 19th century, when St. Paul was known as “the last city of the East.” With breweries like Fulton, Boom Island, Indeed, Dangerous Man and Harriet entering the market in Minneapolis — the so-called first city of the West — DeFoe is determined to remedy the mismatch.

“They’ve got a lot a breweries, and we need to catch up,” she said.

DeFoe and her husband, White, are both natives of northern Minnesota and have lived in St. Paul for a decade. White, former head chef at the Lexington restaurant on Grand Avenue, now manages Cossetta’s catering and production facility. Their business partner, Steve Jacobs, is a St. Paul native who now lives in rural Wisconsin.

DeFoe says her husband and Jacobs will specialize in lagers. Jacobs, a seasoned home brewer, is the “technical kingpin” of the team, while White “sort of brings out the flavor and the ‘chefery’ to it,” DeFoe says.

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Chad White, left, and Steve Jacobs, work on a batch two winters ago in White’s backyard in St. Paul. (Photos courtesy of Last City Brewing Co.)

“He and Steve have worked really hard to make the beers really balanced, super-drinkable — beers that have flavors that are interesting enough for craft-beer fanatics but not so intense or off the wall that they would put off someone who’s new to craft beer,” DeFoe said.

The team is still scouting for investors as they assemble financing for the project, but they’ve already been in discussions with the city of St. Paul about possible locations. They’re hoping to launch the brewery in about a year.