Canal Park Brewing
Location: 300 Canal Park Drive, Duluth
Nominated by: City of Duluth
2013 Economic Impact Award Winner
Located in Duluth’s Canal Park Commercial Business District, the former 18,600 sq. foot Duluth Spring site represented not only an industrial eyesore, but also the last remaining underdeveloped property in the trendy retail, restaurant and commercial district. Canal Park is a major tourist attraction near downtown Duluth, boasting direct access to Lake Superior, eclectic shops, restaurants, and family oriented recreation for over 3 million tourists each year. The site was empty for several years before being purchased by 300 Canal Park LLC with the intention of creating a tourist attraction for the area in line with Duluth’s emergence as the “Craft Beer Capital of Minnesota.”
The site existed underwater until fill was placed in the area during the early 1900’s to create the current developable land, used mostly for housing, storefronts and other structures at the time. During the 1950’s, the area was transformed into industrial usage. Duluth Spring, the former use of the site, was constructed in 1960, manufacturing steel leaf springs used for mining equipment and large machines. The operations were relocated after a change in ownership, leaving two concrete block buildings vacant from 2008 on. Contamination found on site to be attributed to the fill deposited during the turn of the century, and consisted of lithologic materials (i.e. a mixture of silt, sand, gravel and boulders) as well as bits of glass, porcelain, lumber, ash, and scrap metal. Over 50% of the area was impacted with lead and polyaromatic hydrocarbon (PAH) contamination to depths from near surface to approximately 10-12 feet below grade.
The site was redeveloped into an 8,500 square foot restaurant, craft beer brewery, and retail space. The project has been wildly successful in turning an old unused contaminated industrial site into a new popular destination at the gateway of Canal Park built with a deep appreciation and respect for mother earth and leaving as minimal a carbon footprint wherever possible, proving that economic development does not have to forgo environmental stewardship to achieve style and function. The brewing system has the capacity to produce 93,000 gallons of beer per year with currently 102 full and part time employees. After opening, the brewery had to hire 30-40 more employees than expected to meet demands. With efforts to support the local economy, the ingredients are purchased from local organic farmers and the water comes from Lake Superior. The spent mash is fed to cows whose manure is then used as fertilizer for hops. Energy efficient features save about 100,000 kWh of electric energy each year, adding up to about $6,000 in energy costs. Canal Park Brewing has a triple bottom line of social, economic, and environmental responsibility.