DULUTH – The city’s oldest craft brewery is being revived and moved to the east side of town.
Lake Superior Brewing will have a new home in Duluth’s Lakeside neighborhood as early as next summer after Seth and Sarah Maxim bought the brewery, which had closed last December.
“We both were born and grew up in Lakeside and kept thinking, ‘Can we do it?’ ” said Sarah Maxim, who works for a wine importer and is familiar to local diners from her years with At Sara’s Table Chester Creek Cafe. “It’s a dream, and we’re going to work really hard to make this happen.”
The couple bought a former gym and tanning salon at 5324 E. Superior St. this summer and closed on the brewery soon after. Last week, Maxim was sorting through inventory at Lake Superior Brewing’s longtime home on West Superior Street in the Lincoln Park neighborhood.
“We weren’t interested in investing a ton of money to continue brewing there,” she said. “It really needed a refresher, and our current focus is to downsize a lot.”
Seth Maxim, 39, has long been the head brewer at Dubh Linn Irish Brew Pub in downtown Duluth, which his family owns. As the pandemic and reconstruction on Superior Street disrupted his brewing, he started looking at what’s next.
“It was one of those life-changing moments,” said Sarah Maxim, 35. “Our mission is to preserve the legacy of Lake Superior Brewing and at the same time kind of reinvent it and bring a community aspect to the Lester Park/Lakeside neighborhood.”
Customers can expect the return of classic brews like Kayak Kolsch alongside new and nonalcoholic options, Maxim said.
The couple, who have two young children, plan to incorporate food and take a brewpub approach to the revived brewery, which had previously operated as a taproom that allowed visitors to bring their own food.
“Details are still being sorted out on the food,” Maxim said. “Options are definitely limited in Lakeside, and it makes sense to have something to cater to all the people out there.”
The Lakeside and Lester Park neighborhoods were dry for more than a century as part of a condition of the city’s annexation of the eastern edge of town. Only in 2016 did the Legislature change the law and the Duluth City Council sign off to allow liquor sales in the mostly residential area. Two liquor stores and wine and beer offerings at Amity Coffee have followed.
Though she did not say how much money the pair plan to spend on moving and reopening, Maxim said an investor-run buildout would likely cost at least $2 million.
“We’re doing this all on our own,” she said, and the pair have launched a crowdfunding campaign to help make it happen. Maxim said the brewpub could open next summer “if everything went right.”
Lake Superior Brewing was founded in 1994, just before Fitger’s Brewhouse, making it one of the oldest craft breweries in the state. Duluth has enjoyed a brewing boom in recent years, led by Bent Paddle and other newcomers like Hoops, Ursa Minor and Canal Park Brewing.
Lake Superior Brewing closed in December last year after two years under new ownership, which included a rebranding and expanded distribution.
Now the Maxims plan to keep the focus as local as possible.
“We won’t be doing distribution — looking at the numbers, there’s so much out there for craft brewers,” she said. “That’s been tried twice, and we want to focus on the local community.”
Brooks Johnson • 218-491-6496