New name, same character: Flat Earth is now Saint Paul Brewing


Saint Paul Brewing, formerly known as Flat Earth Brewing, is looking to make some changes to its brewery and taproom at 688 Minnehaha Ave. E., the location of the old Hamm’s Brewery. Owner John Warner would like to expand a few floors up, creating a restaurant and event space. (courtesy of Saint Paul Brewing)

When John Warner bought what would become Flat Earth Brewing in 2010, he looked at a few locations to move it before settling on the old Hamm’s Brewing buildings off Minnehaha Avenue on the East Side.

“It was so awful,” he says of the buildings and their decrepit state, but he wasn’t deterred. “God told me to do it, so I did it.”

Warner bought the future home of Flat Earth Brewing in November of 2012. Some two years later, after working to make the space safe for brewing and a taproom, he moved Flat Earth from Highland Park to the East Side, where it’s been ever since. 

“We’re here for the community,” he says, adding he’s excited by the positive growth he’s seen over the past few years in the neighborhood.

Earlier this year, the company announced it would be rebranding, changing its name from Flat Earth to Saint Paul Brewing, a name change Warner says he’d been intending to make since he bought the company. 

While it’ll still be brewing the same beers, Saint Paul Brewing is hoping to make a few other changes, mainly to its home in the old Hamm’s buildings.

The company is planning to expand onto two more floors, perhaps as early as this fall, though unexpected costs and other events have maybe pushed the expansion into next year.

Currently, the brewery occupies 5,900 square feet indoors, plus its 9,200-square-foot outdoor beer garden. With the planned expansion, it would increase its footprint to more than 48,000 square feet.

When it happens, Warner and Jaclyn Semlak, who is taking on a leadership role as Warner tries to take a step back, plan to create a restaurant/taproom space on the second floor, and an event space on the third floor, while the first floor would be just for brewing.

Warner says the third floor has great views of the city, a fact that might be attractive to weddings and other events.

He says he’s also hoping to make water from the artesian well at the site accessible to the public again — the well is why Hamm’s chose the spot for its brewery more than 100 years ago.

Despite all his plans for the brewery, Warner says he’s also looking forward to stepping back. He purchased it after retiring from running his own business — he’s a part of the family that owns the Warner Stellian Appliance shops across the Twin Cities — and would like to get back to his retirement.

“It takes energy and commitment,” he says of running the brewery, noting he’s excited to see someone younger take on more control.

Semlak was an educator for 12 years, three of which were spent working on program alignment, peer coaching and professional development.

For more information about the brewery and upcoming events, go to www.stpaulbrewing.com.

 

–Marjorie Otto can be reached at 651-748-7816 or at eastside@lillienews.com.

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