Brewery grows fast in five years

Hops-picking party marks Lift Bridge anniversary

It started with a group of Stillwater friends brewing their own beer using three tanks in a one-car garage.

Five years after that humble beginning, Lift Bridge Brewing Co. now brews its variety of craft beers in 13 tanks housed in an 11,000-square-foot building, The craft brewer that bottled 105 barrels of beer in 2008 now produces more than 5,000 barrels of its beer varieties that are sold in bars, restaurants and liquor stores throughout the metro area.

To celebrate five years in the brewing business and mark the start of the state’s hop harvest season, Lift Bridge hosts a “Pickin’ and Grinnin’ Party Saturday at the company’s Tower Drive brewery.

The “Pickin’ “ is an annual tradition key to creation of Lift Bridge’s limited-edition Harvestörautumn beer, Guests are invited to help pick local, organic, fresh hops at the brewery that are used for live brewing during the event.

To keep hop pickers entertained, bluegrass bands will perform throughout the day, including a special 7 p.m. performance by the Kurt Jorgenson Band. Attendees can enjoy food from local Stillwater vendors and the annual Lift Bridge Oktoberfest barrel tapping at 4 p.m.

To show appreciation to all Lift Bridge supporters, the brewery will give away prizes on the fives during the event ranging from five gallons to five growlers of beer.
“We have experienced exponential growth in the last five years, and hope that our next five years as a brewery are just as promising,” said Dan Schwarz, CEO and co-owner of Lift Bridge Brewing.

Lift Bridge completed its largest expansion this year by adding three new 30-barrel fermenters and one 40-barrel beer tank. The newly installed equipment allows Lift Bridge to brew up to 13,000 gallons of beer at a time.

Lift Bridge also took steps to reduce its energy consumption throughout the brewing process. Minnesota winters inspired the company to install a new cooling system for its 800-square-foot cooler. When temperatures drop below 40 degrees, the cooling system draws in cold outside air to chill the beer without using energy through mechanical cooling.

A high-efficiency hot water plant has also been installed and engineered with a modulating hot water boiler that recirculates water through a storage tank. The tank is set on a timed schedule that produces hot water during working hours and uses no energy during production down time.

Visit or follow the company on Facebook and Twitter for more information about Lift Bridge beers.

Contact Erik Sandin at [email protected]