The howl you heard the other night during the full moon wasn’t a werewolf, it was Eric Sargent, Michael Dumas and James Anderle, the founders of Lupine Brewing Company getting ready to brew their Convocation IPA. When they aren’t brewing beer up in St. Cloud, they are working feverishly on plans to relocate to the Twin Cities. I got the wonderful opportunity to interview them about their relocation plans, their Kickstarter and everything beer-related in between.
Beerploma: What was the genesis of your passion for craft beer?
Lupine: All three of us have had a passion for great tasting beer. We like trying new flavors and like to explore depending on mood and season. We also enjoy the whole craft beer community, that feeling of getting together and discussing ideas of what works, over a beer.
Beerploma: When did you know that starting a brewery was a feat you wanted to undertake?
Lupine: April of 2013 was when we sat down to discuss starting a business together. Brewing beer was the most logical and each one of us bring a unique skill set to the business plan. James is the corporate guy that doesn’t want to be corporate anymore. Mike is sales and marketing currently and Eric is automation and facilities.
Beerploma: Did you start off as a home brewer and when did you realize that you could brew professionally?
Lupine: Eric started home brewing in 1993, but recently had his passion for brewing reignited. When the three of us (Eric, James and Mike) started perfecting our recipes, the feedback we were getting was very positive. Many of our family and friends told us that all of our beers were drinkable. We have a phenomenal light beer that even non-traditional craft beer drinkers would enjoy. We have six different IPAs, two of which are closer to APAs. Our brown ale was perfected to have a wonderful start and a full-bodied finish.
Beerploma: What are your favorite beer styles to drink?
Lupine: We all like different beers, but Mike’s go to is an IPA. Eric’s is primarily darker beers, but always wants to try new ones when out and about.
Beerploma: Were there other Minnesota breweries that helped you along the way or inspired you?
Lupine: Every one of them has helped out in one way or another. We have stopped at most of them to see what went right and what went wrong with them. The craft beer community is always willing to talk to you. Our first official meeting was with John Klick at Execlsior. He spent two hours with Eric and James answering any questions we asked. It truly is a great community of brewers.
Beerploma: What has been the biggest challenge so far in getting things up and running?
Lupine: Waiting. We had name issues with regard to trademarking. Then it was licensing and now it is the final facility. Waiting for things that are out of our control is always the worst waiting.
Beerploma: You currently have 4 styles. How did you decide that those would be the beers you started out with and do you see yourself expanding to offer more flagship and seasonal offerings?
Lupine: We want a full color and flavor palette. The first four are proven, but we have eight others perfected and will always be brewing more with a pilot system.
Beerploma: What equipment do you still need to produce and market your beers the way you feel would be best?
Lupine: Right now we need a kegging system, a larger pilot system and a some web design to complete so that we can sell our logo products.
Beerploma: Where will your new brewery be locate?
Lupine: We are currently brewing in St. Cloud and will be distributing from there until we get into the new facility. Within the next two weeks we will be able to announce where in the western suburbs we will be going into.
Beerploma: As you look at the overall Minnesota craft beer scene, how does Lupine Brewing Company’s philosophy and name fit into that?
Lupine: Lupine is anything dealing with or pertaining to the wolf. Minnesota has one of the largest populations of wolves. We started our logo around the paw and then the name fell into place. We are going to be a place where everyone can be a part of our pack. It doesn’t matter what you do or where you came from, you just have to enjoy great beer and good people.
Beerploma: What is your favorite brewery and beer from outside Minnesota and why?
Lupine: We really like the philosophy of New Belgium and their beers. They are green in every way they can be and their beers are solid and consistent. For the most part, we like flavors that are solid and consistent.
After interviewing the folks behind this new brewery, I am very excited to try their beer and become part of the pack. One thing is sure, Lupine Brewing Company is passionate about beer and providing others with a great place to enjoy their product and hospitality. So check out their Kickstarter and get ready to enjoy some of their beer, good people and maybe even a full moon.