Duluth’s oldest microbrewery closed its doors in 2019 but was quickly revived by Sarah and Seth Maxim. The couple bought Lake Superior Brewing Company in 2020 and have been working tirelessly to reopen the brewery in its new location: East Duluth.
Seth Maxim, co-owner of Lake Superior Brewing Company and previous brewer at Dubh Linn’s Irish Pub, was presented with the idea of buying the brewery and the timing felt like kismet.
“When the city of Duluth redid Superior Street, they dug up the steam pipes,” explains Sarah Maxim, co-owner of Lake Superior Brewing Company. “And it closed the door of Seth’s steam kettle brewing setup at Dubh Linn’s.”
When Lake Superior Brewing closed, the Maxims took it as a sign to begin the next chapter of their lives as business owners. They were excited about having a brewery of their own, however, there was one big thing they were struggling with: the location. Sarah and Seth felt it was difficult to get to and, they didn’t find it visually appealing.
“But then it felt like the stars aligned,” Maxim reminisces. “We became friends with Ben [Gipson] from Warrior Brewing Company. He mentioned he was looking for brewing spaces. Now they’re in the original Lake Superior Brewing space and they bought the original 30-barrel system.”
Free from the confines of the original space, the couple began looking for a new location. They found a building dating back to 1908 in the Lakeside neighborhood in East Duluth that was most recently a fitness and tanning center.
East Duluth was “dry” (alcohol-free) up until 2016; because of this, there aren’t a lot of places in the neighborhood to have a drink with dinner.
“It’s [East Duluth] is a great community, but there’s not a lot of nearby places to get a beer. For folks who live here, they have to drive or take a $25 Uber to get to the brewery scene in Duluth,” Maxim explains. “The people in this area are really excited to have something nearby where they can go for dinner and drinks!”
The Maxims want the brewery to be a go-to, family-friendly spot for everyone in the Lakeside community. However, they’re also making it accessible for folks from out of town with their “brewtels.” Lake Superior Brewing Company “brewtels” are units that are attached to or next to the brewery and are available for visitors to rent (currently through Airbnb).
“We have three little units for people that want to stay and do a tour of the brewery,” Maxim says.
Lake Superior Brewing is approximately 7,800-square-feet with the taproom and dining area taking up about 5,500-square-feet. The brewery is equipped with a 15-barrel system, where Seth Maxim will be brewing both original Lake Superior Brewing recipes as well as some new creations.
“Seth prefers to make and drink traditional, old-world style beers,” Maxim states. “Our aim is to keep our beer traditional and to keep a balance of creativity, authenticity, and traditionalism.”
Although there is a tentative soft opening planned for the third week of July, the Maxims won’t have their own beer on tap until after Labor Day. Once they’ve got Lake Superior brews available, they will have a grand opening.
“We just want to do a little bit at a time and do it well. We don’t want to bite off more than we can chew,” Maxim admits.
For the soft opening, they will have local guest taps, food made in-house, and, because they have their full liquor license, other types of alcohol available. In addition to being head brewer, Seth Maxim will also be running the kitchen. To start, they will be offering New York-style pizzas made on a wood fire oven.
“We’re big foodies,” says Maxim. “We’ll also do salads and eventually ramen. Eventually, we want to have a world-eclectic menu. Our goal is to have real, made-from-scratch food with quality ingredients. Consistency—that’s our aim.”
It’s important to the Maxims that Lake Superior Brewing is an eco-friendly operation. They plan on being the first compost site in the Lakeside neighborhood and hope to encourage recycling and sustainability. The couple’s focus on environmentalism will play a part in their to-go beer options as well:
“The culture and demand has been for canned beverages. However, if you’re a sincere beer-tasting fanatic, you know it tastes better out of a glass. Plus, glass is more sustainable and eco-friendly. We’ll have camping and boundary water-friendly cans, too!”
They will not be distributing. However, with the recent passing of the Minnesota House Bill that allows breweries to expand their take out options, Lake Superior Brewing Company will be taking advantage of their bottling line and offering 6 packs to-go.
Lake Superior Brewing Company’s soft opening is tentatively scheduled for July 26th. The brewery’s grand opening, with their own beer, will take place around Labor Day.
“We want to revitalize the brewery while keeping its legacy,” Maxim shares enthusiastically. “We’re so excited to finally be able to welcome people in for a few pints and a bite to eat!”
Brewer: Seth Maxim
Address: 5324 East Superior Street, Duluth, MN 55804
Hours: Tuesday-Saturday: 4-11pm