Lake Superior Brewing Company began as the dream of Bob Dromeshauser, a scientist here in Duluth who, in the early 1990s, found himself suddenly out of a job. Realizing that another hypothermia research gig probably wasn't waiting around the corner, Bob decided to pursue his growing passion for home brewing instead. With help from a partner and guidance from UMD's small business incubator, he founded a small brewery and homebrew supply shop in the spring of 1994.
Manning the store on weekdays and brewing on Sundays, Bob and a rotating group of volunteers tinkered and toiled over their homebrew recipes until they perfected the first batch of Special Ale - still the brewery's flagship brand. "In the early days, Bob would invite local home-brewers in to try different things," recalls current LSB Brewmaster and part-owner Dale Kleinschmidt. "I just kept showing up and showing up until they asked me if I was interested in becoming an apprentice." Crammed into what is now Andi's Closet in the Fitger's Complex, the LSB craft brewers squeezed enough volume out of one fermenter and half a dozen barrels to serve six local draught accounts - including Hacienda Del Sol and Sir Benedict's Tavern on the Lake which remain customers today.
As sales grew, LSB applied this same improvisational spirit in developing its Kayak Kolsch, Mesabi Red and Sir Duluth Oatmeal Stout varieties. While all of them evolved from traditional recipes, each brew finds perfection in its distinctive departures from the norm. By 1999, the brewery had grown out of its original Fitgers digs and relocated to a converted warehouse in West Duluth . That year, LSB doubled its volume and began bottling Special Ale and Kayak Kolsch - along with select seasonal brews. Despite Bob's departure in 2001, LSB's homebrew heart beats on. Current Owners Don and Jo Hoag, John Judd III and Karen Olesen helped found the Northern Ale Stars , Minnesota 's very first home brewing club.
Today, Lake Superior Brewing Company remains the only commercial microbrewery (not to be confused with a "brewpub" - of which the area has some fine examples and for which LSB has been a prolific incubator of talent) in the Northland. Yet despite its evolution, LSB continues to focus on making distinctive, hands-on brews. In fact, every drop of LSB beer - draft or bottled - is brewed by Dale and his small staff. Drop by the brewery for a hand-poured growler or an impromptu tour and you'll see: The independent art and spirit of craft brewing lives on at Lake Superior Brewing Company.