Blacklist Brewing: Creating New Beers in their New Space
Early on a cold March morning, Blacklist Brewing owners Jon Loss and Brian Schanzenbach got simultaneous text messages alerting them that the Duluth Fire Department was responding to a fire in the building where the small brewery rents space. According to Brian, “I got a text message that morning and it didn’t say anything. It was just a picture – a picture of fire trucks out in front of our building.” Can you imagine?
The fire had actually started in the space next door and with the quick response of the fire fighters there was very little structural damage to Blacklist’s space. But there was smoke damage – a lot of smoke damage. As Brian described it “every surface of everything was coated with soot. The fire department had used our entry as access to fight the fire so there was 2 inches of greasy standing water and tanks were knocked over. Basically everything plastic and everything wood had to be thrown out. The only items that survived were the stainless tanks. It was like cleaning up after an oil slick.”
What about the beer? Well, four barrels of sours that were aging had to be dumped down the drain and the barrels had to be scrapped. On top of that, all of the beer that was fermenting at the time had to be disposed of. It was a sad day for the brewing duo but ever optimistic – Jon and Brian focused on the silver lining…
Luckily, two days before the fire occurred, Brian and Jon had moved their inventory of finished beer to make room for the previous tenants who where at work moving their brewing equipment to another location. And despite the brief hiatus in brewing, there was enough Blacklist beer to maintain their current accounts and as Jon describes it “we were able to keep beer on the market but we weren’t able to grow during that time.” The Blacklist fans had beer to drink but Jon and Brian knew time was of the essence and they needed to get back to brewing… but not to fear…
Blacklist is back at it – developing new beers and brewing up their latest concoctions. “At the end of it all we are starting with a blank canvas” explained Brain. “We can create the space we want to brew in.” And the Blacklist team has been very busy over the last two months creating their brew space – an opportunity that arose from the chaos and ash (dare I say) like a phoenix rising from the flames.
“We’re really looking forward to creating the space that will be most functional for our style of brewing” adds Jon. “It’s a real advantage to start from the ground up. Now we have as much space as we need and want to work with and it’s a real advantage to create that space that will be best for our style of brewing.”
Jon and Brian… we’re glad to see you back at the brew kettle!