OWATONNA — It was a short and simple Facebook post, but the reaction from the public was enormous.
“We’re here, and we have beer! C’mon down!!!” read the Mineral Springs Brewery Facebook page on Friday afternoon. After hosting a couple of soft openings in the week prior, the crew at Mineral Springs Brewery — or MSB — decided to open its doors to anyone who could find the brewery this past weekend as it prepares for its official grand opening on Friday.
“It really got the crowd in there,” said Bill Cronin, the MSB President, stating that the Facebook post was in an effort to help them test their system over Friday and Saturday. “It was a couple of very busy nights that helped us work out a ton of kinks. We feel like we’re really putting our best foot forward come Friday.”
Standing alongside Tim Pelton, Mark Knutson, Rod Baker, and Mark Sebring, Cronin was happy to confirm that the long-awaited opening of the city’s first taproom is officially upon us. It has been over a year since the group first received its conditional permit from the City to construct the new business on North Walnut Avenue across from the Straight River, and Cronin assures that public that it will all be worth the wait.
“It took longer to get here than we would have anticipated,” Cronin said about the upcoming milestone. “But in certain ways it makes it more fulfilling.”
The moniker that is MSB has been around for a number of years as a home-brew name, joining forces with brewers Jon Hilstad and Matt Kottke. In January 2018, however, Cronin and his group of five decided to make the known name into a brick and mortar location. While they were hoping to be up and running earlier this summer, Cronin said that they spared no expenses to make sure they got every detail right.
“When it came to the brewing system, early on we knew we needed a Mercedes system, and we have one,” Cronin said.
Inside the taproom features a classic, glass garage door look that makes the brewing equipment visible. It will also allow for a more open atmosphere during the summer months that will encourage patrons to take advantage of their outdoor patio space.
As far as what’s on tap, Cronin said that they selected some of the more subtle beers that won’t be too “in your face.” These beers include Kaplan’s Kolsch, Cinder Hill Cream Ale, Thunderbolt IPA, and Sullivan Stout — all affectionately named after Owatonna landmarks and legends. Cronin added that they are hoping to add a Straight River IPA and Cornell Scotch Ale for the grand opening line up.
“The Cornell Scotch Ale is a cool story,” Cronin said, explaining that the location of the tap room is only in the same area that Owatonna’s first settler — A.B. Cornell — built his home. It is also 100-feet from the site of Owatonna’s first school.
Cronin added that the taproom will continue to expand its beer selection as time goes on and may possible hold a beer-naming contest in the future.
The grand opening of the Mineral Springs Brewery taproom will be held on Friday, Nov. 8, from noon to 10 p.m. with Noris Cuisine providing food. The taproom will also be open from noon to 10 p.m. on Saturday with food provided by Torey’s.
During the first month of operation, Cronin said that the taproom will be running on limited hours of 3 p.m. to 10 p.m. on Fridays and noon to 10 p.m. on Saturdays. Heading into December the business will establish more regular hours, including times on Thursdays and Sundays.
“The five of us are working on fumes right now, but the reality of running the taproom over the last few days and how much fun it has been is really affirming,” Cronin said. “It really felt great to have people in there laughing and joking. It was awesome.”
“We’re just excited to bring our project to the community,” he continued. “We love it and it feels just like we envisioned it would be.”