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Our History

In 1986, Summit founder Mark Stutrud set out to rediscover the traditional brewing methods behind the great handcrafted beers that once flowed throughout the Midwest. Ever since, we’ve been painstakingly brewing beer as stimulating, complex and rich in character as the people who share it.

  • “A long hard road”

    When Mark Stutrud decided to forego getting his Masters in social work to start a brewery, he knew he was undertaking a risky endeavor. This letter he received from the Brewer’s Association served as a crisp reminder. But Mark perservered, naming his new brewery after Saint Paul’s legendary Summit Avenue (Stutrud is too hard to pronounce) and he was on his way. The letter is now proudly displayed in the brewery’s Ratskeller.

     

    Summit Ave Sign
  • Humble beginnings

    Summit Brewing Company remodels the space of an old truck parts company on St. Paul’s University Avenue. We install a brewhouse from Heimertingen, Germany, and begin test brewing. After much experimentation, we proudly release our EPA and Great Northern Porter – in kegs only.

  • Early success

    Great Northern Porter wins first place at the Great American Beer Festival®. We begin bottling in the fall and introduce our first seasonal, Summit Christmas Ale.

    Summit Brewing Bottling Line
  • The experimentation continues

    Summit Sparkling Ale is first brewed, the area’s first blonde ale.

  • Why stop at 12 ounces?

    Summit Maibock is introduced in 22 ounce bomber bottles.

    Maibock Bottle Label
  • Roll out the barrels

    We complete our first major expansion, increasing capacity from 5,000 to 12,000 barrels per year.

  • The more, the merrier

    Summit introduces Hefe Weizen, India Pale Ale and Altbier. The brewery leases an adjacent building and installs the “beer pipeline” connecting it to the original building. Annual capacity reaches 16,000 barrels.

    Summit IPA - Released 1993
  • How do you say “growing pains” in German?

    Summit purchases a copper brewhouse from Hürnerbräu, Ansbach, Bavaria, and places it in storage for two years. As a search for a new brewery site begins, capacity on University Ave increases to 34,000 barrels.

  • Breaking new ground

    Summit purchases 4.2 acres in the Crosby Lake Business Park in Saint Paul. Groundbreaking takes place in July of the following year as keeping up with demand becomes increasingly difficult.

  • Summit on the move

    Test brewing begins at the new brewery location with total transition completed by December.

  • The little brewery that could

    Summit Brewing reaches one percent market share of all beer sold in Minnesota. Woo-hoo!

    Summit EPA on the Bottling Line
  • Entrepreneurial spirit

    Mark Stutrud is honored to be named a Finalist for Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year as well as North Dakota Business Innovator of the Year (Mark’s home state).

    Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award
  • Bohemia meets Bavaria

    We introduce our take on two other traditional styles: a true Czech Pilsener and Märzen-style Oktoberfest.

  • An 8,000 mile beer run

    The Summit “Good Will Beer Tour” travels to the UK and Germany to share our brews with the most discerning beer drinkers in the world. We share pints, swap stories and hear what they have to say about Summit – recording it all for beer lovers back home. Listen below.

    Good Will Beer Tour Art
  • More Summit on tap

    The brewery introduces special limited release beers, beginning with Oatmeal Stout followed by ESB and Scandia, a Belgian Style Wheat.

    Oatmeal Stout Badge
  • Local honors

    Summit receives the Duebener Award from the St. Paul Area Chamber of Commerce. This award recognizes organizations that exemplify growth, excellence, risk, diversity and innovation. All things we heartily embrace at Summit.

    Duebener Award from the St. Paul Area Chamber of Commerce
  • A birthday blowout

    The Summit Big Brew 20th Anniversary celebration on Harriet Island exceeds all attendance expectations. 11,000 Summit friends toasted 20 years of brewing excellence.

    Crowd at Summit's 20th Anniversary Party
  • This one’s for you, Herb

    Summit is honored to receive the HERBIE Award, inspired by Saint Paul native and hockey legend Herb Brooks, from the St. Paul Area Chamber of Commerce. HERBIE stands for Humanitarian, Enterprising, Resilient, Bold, Inspirational and Ethical. The award is given to a local individual or company that demonstrates those qualities through significant public service and dedication to the community.

  • The year of brewing boldly

    Summit introduces Horizon Red Ale, an intensely aromatic cross between an IPA and Amber ale. We also launch the Unchained Series, limited release batches designed to showcase our individual brewers’ skills and creativity. The first is a German Style Kölsch from brewer Mike Miziorko, followed by a 90/- Scottish Style Ale from brewer Eric Blomquist.

    Summit Unchained 1 Kolsch Label
  • Bronze beer, gold medal

    Extra Pale Ale wins a gold medal in the Classic English-Style Pale Ale category at the 2010 World Beer Cup® and a silver medal in the same category at the Great American Beer Festival®. The Unchained Series kicks into high gear with an India Style Rye Ale from brewer Mike Lundell, a Belgian Style Golden Ale from brewer Eric Harper, and an Imperial Pumpkin Porter from brewer Nate Siats.

    EPA Takes Gold at World Beer Cup
  • Skol to a quarter century!

    Summit celebrates its 25th anniversary. Here’s to everyone who has clinked pints, bought rounds, showed support, extended praise, offered critiques, joined us on the town, stayed late, and shared their passion for great beer with us over the years. Cheers! Summit brewers also bring forth three distinct Unchained Series batches; Gold Sovereign Ale, Honeymoon Saison, and Black Ale.

  • First annual Summit Backyard Bash

    To help celebrate 25 years of brewing, we host our first annual Backyard Bash on the lawn behind the brewery. Not only is it a chance to enjoy the trifecta of local bands, local food trucks and local beers, but it’s also for a good cause. 50% of ticket proceeds go to the Minnesota Music Coalition, a non-profit dedicated to supporting our state’s creative community of independent musicians.

    Crowd at Summit's 1st Annual Backyard Bash
  • We’ll drink to that!

    Summit is honored to pick up a pair of prestigious brewing awards: EPA wins Silver at the 2012 World Beer Cup® for Classic English-Style Pale Ale and Pilsener gets a Silver at the 2012 Great American Beer Festival® for Bohemian-Style Pilsener.

    Great American Beer Festival Silver Medal
  • Sága IPA and Summer Ale

    Named after the Norse goddess of poetry, Summit unveils Sága IPA to the hop-loving public. We also add Summer Ale, a refreshing new seasonal, to our growing line-up.

    Summit Sága & Summer Ale
  • The creativity keeps flowing

    Summit brewers keep the Unchained Series going strong by releasing three distinctive, limited-release brews: Dunkel Weizen, Abbey Ale, and Old 152.

  • A nice place to work

    Summit is named a Top 10 Workplace by Star Tribune and receives a Small Business Success honor from Twin Cities Business Monthly. Giving us another convenient excuse to clink a few pints.

    The 2012 Summit Team
  • You keep drinking, we’ll keep brewing

    In February 2013, we debut a brand new logo.  Then increased demand from thirsty beer lovers calls for another expansion. In June 2013, we add 7,632 square feet of cellar space with twelve 600-barrel fermentation vessels, increasing our production capacity to 240,000 barrels a year. Summit also buys property next to the brewery, unfurling plans for our first-ever canning operation.

    New Cellar Expansion at Summit
  • By jove, another Silver medal!

    Summit wins Silver at the 2013 Great American Beer Festival® for our original British-style India Pale Ale (soon to be called True Brit IPA) in the Extra Special Bitter category. We also unveil Meridian Session Ale and Rebellion Stout from the Union Series, a new series featuring the latest hop and malt varieties from around the world. And the Unchained Series keeps rolling with 100% Organic Ale, Another IPA, and Bière de Garde.

    Silver Medal from GABF
  • Part of the community

    Summit proudly receives the Minnesota Keystone award from the Minneapolis Regional Chamber of Commerce, recognizing companies donating at least 2 percent of their pre-tax earnings to their local community. We are also honored to receive the Minnesota Restaurant Associations Allied Partner of the Year award. Cheers!

    Summit Swag Bags for the Community
  • New packaging debuts

    Working with local design firm Duffy & Partners, Summit unveils new packaging. “Innovation is part of our DNA,” says founder Mark Stutrud. “This change reflects our creativity, celebrates our commitment to the values of local craft brewing, and honors the community we come from.”

    New Packaging for Summit Beer
  • Summit Silver-peat

    Summit EPA wins another Silver at the 2014 World Beer Cup® in the Classic English-Style Pale Ale category (we won the same honor at the last competition in 2012). We also take home the Bronze at the 2014 Great American Beer Festival® in the Classic English-Style Pale Ale category. Cheers to our flagship!

    Summit EPA World Beer Cup Award
  • New Unchained and Union Series brews

    The popular brewer-driven Summit Unchained Series keeps flowing with #15 Fest Bier, #16 Herkulean Woods and #17 Harvest Fresh IPA. Summit also introduces the next limited-release brews in the Union Series: Southern Cape Sparkling Ale (one of Draft Magazine’s Top 25 Beers of the Year) and 3X Mild Ale.

  • Summit in cans!

    For the first time ever, Summit EPA, Sága IPA and seasonal brews are available in 12-ounce cans. To accomplish this, the brewery expands across the “backyard”, building an elevated beer pipeline to the new canning facility.

    Summit Beer in Cans
  • Everything is coming up hops!

    Summit introduces two intensely hoppy, yet very different brews in short order. First, Summit brewer Eric Harper creates Unchained 18: Hop Silo Double IPA. This limited-edition brew is quickly followed by Hopvale Organic Ale, a new year-round session ale brewed with organic hops, malts and a touch of lemon peel.

  • New office space (and drinking space)

    Summit moves its offices across the backyard to the renovated building that houses the new canning line. Along with some much needed elbow room, the space includes a new industry meeting room complete with several taps and a custom bar made from reclaimed wood by the craftsmen at Wood From The Hood.

    Stutrud Ribbon Cutting in Summit's New Building
  • 30 Years of Excellent Craft Beer

    Summit Brewing Company celebrates its 30th Anniversary in 2016 with a series of four limited-edition beers, including Double IPA, Keller Pils, West London-Style Ale, and Barleywine. Summit caps off the anniversary celebration with September’s Backyard Bash, headlined by one of Mark Stutrud’s favorite musicians — iconic rocker Bob Mould.

    Summit Brewing Company 30th Anniversary Barleywine
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