Castle Danger Brewery Redevelopment

Location: 17 7th Street, Two Harbors, Minnesota

Nominated by: Bay West LLC

The Castle Danger Brewery has grown to contribute greatly to the City of Two Harbors as a destination tourist attraction, bringing tens of thousands of visitors to the area every year. To further encourage this relationship between the brewery and the city, Castle Danger redeveloped a brownfield site with contaminated soil and buried debris to realize the potential of an otherwise prime waterfront setting. Through their move to this central location in the City’s downtown and the enlargement of their operation, it is expected that the influx of Castle Danger’s revenue will assist in growing the downtown and surrounding community in Two Harbors.

The chosen site for the brewery was previously a sawmill, railroad warehouse, and then a YMCA facility, which abandoned in the 1960s. Legacy contamination from prior land uses remained on the site. Working on an accelerated timeline with 8 months between the completion of the Phase I Environmental Site Assessment and the completion of site construction activities, the Castle Danger redevelopment project needed excellent communication and coordinated efforts between project partners to organize project activities and address any issues to minimize any possible delays. To accomplish their redevelopment goals within this time-frame, Castle Danger worked to safely reduce the amount of the contaminated layer of soil that would need to be removed from the site of redevelopment while still meeting safety regulations to mitigate costs and time requirements. Project partners managed to reroute a city water main so that it lay in an adjacent right-of-way rather than in a contaminated lot, all while minimizing any disruptions to the community. They also worked closely with the City of Two Harbors to address the challenge of wastewater treatment. It was realized that the City’s wastewater treatment system was not equipped to handle the amount of waste the brewery discharges, thus putting the system at risk of being overloaded.

As a solution, Castle Danger worked with the City to plan out a schedule of their release of certain volumes of discharge water from the brewery so that the City’s wastewater treatment system could continue to handle the capacity and treatment of it until the City of Two Harbors can secure funding for a more permanent expansion or improvement of their water treatment system. To increase their impact on the community and local environment, Castle Danger has also incorporated the use of many reclaimed materials, and the new packaging warehouse features a rain garden. In addition, the warehouse was designed for the future placement of solar panels on the roof. Castle Danger will continue to contribute to the betterment of the area by raising donations for the Lake County food shelf, white pine restoration in northern Minnesota, and the maintenance and expansion of nearby hiking trails.


Project Financing

  • $100,000 – Castle Danger Brewery
  • $90.000 granted ($50,000 used) – Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development Contamination Cleanup and Investigation Grant Program

Project Partners

  • Castle Danger Brewery
  • The City of Two Harbors: Public Works and Engineering Departments, former Mayor Randy Bolen, current Mayor Chris Swanson and City Council, and Area Chamber of Commerce
  • Bay West
  • Minnesota Pollution Control Agency’s Brownfields Program
  • Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development
  • Veit
  • KTM Companies
  • Lind Excavating
  • RW Fern Associates Inc.
  • Kreck and Ojard
  • Johnson Wilson Constructors