Downtown Fargo’s Drekker Brewing is expanding beyond the boundaries of Downtown, but only by a few blocks. The brewery is announcing its plans to build a destination brewery and taproom just West of Downtown Fargo in a historic building that’s currently being renovated.The building, located at 1632 1st Ave N in the Unicorn Park neighborhood, has been used as a storage space since the 1970’s and is known to most as “that Smokestack Building” or the “Smith Building” after the faded logo painted on the wall facing 1st Avenue. It was originally used as a locomotive repair facility. Sections of the building were built at different times, but the date on the smokestack outside the building says it was built in 1883.
“We’ve had our eyes on this building since the very early stages of planning our company,” says Mark Bjornstad, Drekker’s President. “We’re so excited to breathe life back into this historic building and to be a part of the movement that’s expanding the energy of Downtown Fargo westward. This is only possible because of the amazing support we’ve received from this community.”
Drekker Brewing has been brewing in their Downtown taproom brewery since the fall of 2014 and has added equipment to double its production twice in the three years since opening. They’ve been producing beer at maximum capacity for over a year now, and with limited options for expansion in that space the brewery is looking forward to more than doubling its current brewing capacity in the new facility.
“We’re designing this new brewery to not only make more beer, but do it with respect to quality, efficiency, and environmental impact,” explains Darin Montplaisir, Drekker’s Head Brewer. “It’s also exciting to design a new brewhouse that will allow us to expand on the unique and experimental styles we’ve been brewing over the last couple years.”
The brewery will feature brand new, state of the art infrastructure and brewing equipment, however, the project will retain as much of the character of the old building as possible. Restoration work is in progress to preserve and showcase the exposed brick and wooden trusses with natural light from new windows and skylights.
Plans for the space include a taproom with open views into the brewery, several spaces for private and community events, a large patio with an area for food trucks and the ability to produce up to 5000 barrels of beer per year when it opens.
The new brewery is planned to open in the summer of 2018 and while it will be nearly triple the current square footage of their Downtown Fargo brewery, they don’t have plans to close their Downtown location.
“Having two breweries gives us some unique opportunities that we’ll be exploring as the project progresses,” explains Bjornstad.
Drekker Brewing currently distributes beer in cans and draught in the Fargo-Moorhead and Grand Forks areas with limited distribution in Bismarck, Detroit Lakes, Park Rapids, Crookston, Bemidji and the Twin Cities. The move to a bigger facility and brewing system will help fill in the gaps in Drekker’s current distribution and will also open the doors to other possible distribution areas as well.