FARGO - Change is brewing in the area’s craft beer scene.
Fargo’s Drekker Brewing Co. and Drumconrath Brewing Co. of Mapleton, N.D., have come to an agreement that has Drumconrath taking over Drekker’s downtown Fargo brewpub in the Cityscapes Plaza building, 630 1st Ave. N.
Drumconrath took possession of the space Wednesday, May 15.
The taproom is closed for remodeling that will continue through June. In the meantime, Drunconrath will work through the process of getting a liquor license in Fargo. Drumconrath plans to reopen the brewpub with a new look and their signature suds by the end of June or July 1.
“It’s certainly an opportunity to grow. The space is a lot bigger. The available walk-in population is so much higher,” Drumconrath owner Sam Corr said Thursday, May 16. “It just gives us an opportunity” to make more beer and make more experimental beers.
“We’ll have all 12 taps ready to rip” when the taproom reopens, Corr said.
Once Drumconrath is running in Fargo, Corr said the Mapleton brewing operation will close.
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Meanwhile, Drekker is consolidating and expanding its operations at its Brewhalla brewery and taproom about a mile west at 1666 1st Ave. N., in the former Northern Pacific Railroad shop.
“This brewery-to-brewery handoff is something that’s really common in bigger beer markets,” said Drekker co-founder and President Mark Bjornstad.
One brewery outgrows a space, while another brewery gets big enough to move into that space, he said.
“That story hasn’t happened here” until now, Bjornstad said. “It’s a really cool project, and it’s kind of a deal that’s surprising to both of us.”
Drumconrath Brewing Company opened in 2016. Its “North Dakota beer with an Irish spirit” is sold in Fargo, Grand Forks, Valley City and Jamestown.
Drekker opened its Brewhalla in September 2018.
“We expected there to be a couple-year transition to grow into Brewhalla, and it’s been much faster than that,” Bjornstad said. “It made a lot of sense for us to hand that (the downtown taproom) off to another local brewery. We loved that space and we loved our beginnings in downtown Fargo,” Bjornstad said.
Drumconrath runs a 7-barrel brewhouse in Mapleton and the downtown Fargo taproom is a 10-barrel brewhouse, Corr said. Such brewhouses can typically make 1,750 and 2,500 barrels of beer a year, respectively, according to equipment maker Forgeworks of Colorado.
Corr said Drumconrath makes about 200 barrels a year now.
“It’s more about how fast we’ll be able to go through the beer,” Corr said. “We’ll be going through beer 10 times as fast as we are now.”
Bjornstad said when Brewhalla opened, Drekker was making 5,000 barrels of beer a year between the downtown taproom and the new brewery.
Now, Drekker can make 6,500 barrels a year at Brewhalla and is on track to raise capacity to 7,500 barrels a year by the end of the year, Bjornstad said.
Drekker has also added a new canning line and equipment for more efficient brewing.
The move will help the area’s craft beer scene grow, Bjornstad said.
“The best thing for us is that Fargo-Moorhead gets more local beer, more local industry growth,” Bjornstad said. “We’re both interested in the same thing, growing the local beer scene.”