We’re super excited to see an article about the Voyageur Brewery on the front page of the Sunday Duluth News Tribune. It’s been fun to see the progress being made on the tap room each time I go to Grand Marais. It will be even more fun when the building is done and we’re actually brewing. It will be awhile before that happens but I’m sure the time will fly by and be here before we know it. We hope you are excited to come visit the brewery and taste our beer!Voyageur Brewing Co. owners Bruce Walters (from left), Mike Prom and Cara Sporn, all of Grand Marais, stand in the area that is going to be the taproom at the new production brewery under construction in Grand Marais on Thursday afternoon. (Clint Austin / email@example.com) North Shore hops on brewery bandwagon By Jana Hollingsworth on Aug 17, 2014 at 8:44 a.m.
The Voyageur Brewing Co. in Grand Marais is still a shell of wooden beams and metal but its owners have already been approached by Cook County purveyors of honey, maple syrup, hops, wild rice, apples and coffee.
Owners Mike Prom, Cara Sporn and Bruce Walters are eager to see how their brewery will weave local products into the seasonal offerings they plan to put on tap when their 20-barrel production brewery opens in 2015.
“All walks of life have come up to us and are excited,” Prom said of the building activity on Highway 61 in town, “from the third-generation, blue-collar local to those that live here three months out of the year.”
The 5,400-square-foot space will be the first of its kind in the area, and will house a taproom that also includes a fireplace and lake views, a kitchen for small plates, and a rooftop bar. Tours and tastings are planned for the beer marketed toward the adventure-seeker, and a conservative estimate of 1,000 barrels in the first year is expected.
Prom and his wife, Sue, own Voyageur Canoe Outfitters at the end of the Gunflint Trail. They have been longtime friends with Sporn and her husband, Paul, who owns the popular Grand Marais restaurant My Sister’s Place. Bruce Walters, an investor, and his family have been longtime friends with the Proms. The Walters family recently moved to Grand Marais from the Twin Cities area. The friends have been talking about a brewery for six years, and two years ago began market research and crafting a business plan. None of the owners are home-brewers, but have business backgrounds and profess a love for craft beer.
Collectively, they felt a production brewery and taproom was a missing piece on the Grand Marais landscape, and demographic research has shown the county’s residents are craft beer drinkers, Prom said.
The company will fill eight year-round jobs. A head brewer has yet to be announced, but Sporn revealed that on permanent offer would likely be an IPA, a Belgian wheat and either a stout or a porter style. Six beers will always be on tap. The owners are excited about the influence of Lake Superior water on their beer because of how little pretreatment it needs.
“That’s one of the reasons you’re seeing so many breweries around Lake Superior,” Prom said.
Voyageur’s plan is to handle local customers first, and eventually roll out to Duluth and the Iron Range. Within five years it hopes to make it to the Twin Cities. The brewery won’t compete with local restaurants. Its charcuterie platter and spent-grain pretzels, for example, will whet the appetite of beer drinkers before they set out for dinner. They’ll also allow food to be brought in. The brewery will sell bottles at first, and growlers made of stainless steel and environmentally friendly Nalgene water bottles that can be brought into the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness.
The owners will be joining a serious roster of more than 10 brewers in Northeastern Minnesota and Northwestern Wisconsin, some of whom they’ve gone to for advice. Sporn said the craft brewing community is one of the friendliest industries she’s encountered.
Other regional production companies include Bent Paddle Brewing Co., Lake Superior Brewing Co. and South Shore Brewing in Ashland. A smaller production company — Castle Danger Brewery — just opened a bigger facility in Two Harbors. Neighbor and Gunflint Tavern owner Jeff Gecas will roll out five varieties of beer in the next month from his new five-barrel system.
But the region isn’t saturated, said longtime Fitger’s Brewery head brewer Dave Hoops.
“People really like to buy stuff from these areas. The North Shore and Duluth, Grand Marais; they are all brand names these days,” he said. “I always go back to the fact that right now 92 percent of the beer drank in this country is Millers, Coors, etc. As long as the product is at the highest level of quality, I don’t think there is any kind of limit.”
Even in Duluth, he said, where there is a greater concentration of breweries, he sees space.
“You can see with the unbelievable success of Bent Paddle how much people want this,” Hoops said, noting that many of the breweries are small: “Borealis, Blacklist, Carmody. They are all great, but tiny. Bent Paddle is the only game in town going statewide. I think there is plenty of room yet.”
Walters said the surge in craft brewing in smaller towns hearkens back to the pre-Prohibition era when communities had their own breweries. It’s an inspirational locavore movement and it makes sense, he said.
Prom compared consumers’ obsession with craft beer to that of coffee and wine in recent decades.
“They’re not just accepting one flavor,” he said. “They want to see the local stuff. When we vacation together we find the brewpub. It’s part of the culture right now.”
Cook County News-Herald staffers love to get out and about the county. So we decided, while we are traveling the highway and bushwhacking through the forest, to take pictures to see if our readers can guess WHERE ARE WE?
We did not receive any entries that were wrong in our July WHERE ARE WE? which was a little bit different than past locations. It was not a scenery shot, but was instead inside a building and we had a good response from people who knew that the photo was taken inside Johnson Heritage Post in Grand Marais. Thanks to Carolyn Wilhelm for sharing the idea.
And congratulations to Donna Gestel of Grand Marais whose entry was drawn from the correct answers. Donna wins a one-year subscription to the Cook County News-Herald.
Try your luck! Take a look at the August photo.
If you think you know where we were when we took the picture, send us your answer. The location will be announced next month and a winner will be drawn from all the correct answers. Whoever is drawn will win a free one-year subscription to the Cook County News-Herald (a $30 value). Good luck!
Return answer by mail, e-mail or fax to:
Cook County News-Herald
PO Box 757
Grand Marais MN 55604
Answer to the August WHERE ARE WE? must be received by September 15, 2014.
8/17/14 - Blueberry season is upon us! The pickins are ripe this time of year in late summer, and many, including the crew here at Sawbill, have been taking advantage of this glorious time of year to find our favorite spots and pick. One little known fact about blueberry season is that not only are the blueberries themselves prime for picking and baking into your favorite foods (pancakes, pies, muffins, etc.), but the leaves are also a valuable resource. Blueberry leaf tea is a very tasty, and very healthy tea that can be made simply by baking the blueberry leaves, and steeping them in tea. So have at it folks! Get out there and take advantage of the season while it lasts. Blueberry picking season usually lasts until the end of August. We could tell you some of our favorite spots, but we don't want to give away all of our secrets now do we? - Mark
Crew member Emma Nelson picking for berries at her favorite spot.
These berries are naturals in front of the camera.
A well rounded harvest of both blueberries and their leaves
So many berries!
The other morning I sat on my deck and watched the mist rising to meet the clear day, and my heart started pulling hard…to hold that mist down, to stall the start of the day, the end of the summer, this point in life. It was so so beautiful, and I know it’s futile to try to hold onto something so beautiful and fleeting, but sometimes I can’t help myself.
Summer is closing. Even though it seemed so endless and fresh 20 minutes ago (12 weeks actually) when the staff were arriving….old staff and new staff—to form the crew. Now…as they start to trickle away, I want to hold them here. Each one of them. Let me introduce them to you.
Already we miss that bubbly cheerful Amy with her contagious happiness. I could always hear Amy coming and going in the outfitting building- her chatter and laughter were not so subtle. Also, I often scheduled her on late shift for those crazy busy nights, because this girl can multi-task ….from the fishing machine to the permit snafus to the phones, to the computer, to the store—simultaneously with the same bright confidence. She’s something.
Liz was hired in May–as our fill-in-for-any-position person. Lucky us, because she can do it all. She joined Amy in finding humor in everyday things. You cannot help but laugh a little at the things Liz finds funny. But honestly, you should have HEARD her play the violin with Jerry Vandiver. You cannot help but get choked up a little by the sound she gets out of that instrument, either. That’s pretty special when a person can make you laugh and cry in the same day.
Allie has been here for 3 summers, and I’m starting to feel like we cannot live without her. She was a flawless food packer this year–but more than that, she quietly takes on the pulse of the staff– and she makes sure that everyone is welcome in her adventures. My favorite moment with Allie this year is when we went blueberry picking in her jeep. Well, I was going blueberry picking, she was actually off-roading. We’re still hoping she can come back for one more summer before she heads into the real world of architecture.
Allie brought her sister Anna, who we hired without even blinking. I should have known better than to expect an Allie-clone. I mean, they both are really high quality workers, and great people. But-while Allie sits at the dinner table and I have to strain to catch her very quiet funny comments–Anna sings show-tunes. And when the two of them planned the staff adventure list for the year–complete with a system of points and grids and “must dos”…Allie planned a cooperative effort for all to achieve, and Anna planned a competition. Because Anna wins, or she’ll die trying. Or in the case of the triathlon, she might just drown trying. Style and form don’t necessarily count. Winning counts. Anna wins.
Kyle was in the fishing boat for part of every evening all summer. Somebody asked him at one of our loud…everybody-talking-at-once..dinners–”What do you DO, what do you THINK ABOUT out there? And Kyle–who always has a really good answer, but won’t give it to you unless you ask him— concisely replied “The quiet is really nice sometimes.” This guy has such common sense life intelligence, and he’s so quietly kind to everyone…I just can’t get over how lucky we are to have him.
Claire usually operates behind the scenes. The most common thing I heard her say this summer was “Sure, I can do that.” I really appreciate the way that Claire unloads the details out of my head and into hers. It makes my load lighter, and we never run out of coffee. One thing Shelby says is that people who bake are put together. I tell you what, Claire can bake.
See sweet Lucy in the bottom of the boat, navigating? She is our camp scout, and she takes her Tuscarora perimeter patrol job very seriously. She also has a hold on Rachel’s heart.The thing about Rachel–who is our year-round manager, is that she always does things well. Everything….from creating spiffy google website route pages, to repairing canoes, to cleaning corners, to training staff. All details. How lucky is that for us to have her at Tuscarora?
Kelly is our crew cook. First of all, let me tell you that having a good crew cook is an amazing thing. I just show up, with everybody else, and we line up for something really good, and hang out together. Meals are a great part of the day. I’ll bet we all have our favorites, but …whoa…her macaroni and queso, or her margarita pizza, and all the salads…to die for. We’ve had great food this summer, thanks to cute Kelly.Grant’s quirkiness amuses us all. “Geez,” he said the other night. “I don’t think I was ever funny until this summer”. After hours, you can usually find his head and snorkel somewhere in the bay—not to be mistaken for a headless loon. Sometimes he even fishes that way—with a little rod and hook he dangles right in front of his mask. Grant notices the little details that can save us from catastrophes later. He’s a good one to have around.
- For the first 11 weeks of this summer Shelby pursued an adventure-internship in Colorado. Isn’t that the bittersweet part of being a parent? We WANT her to have her own dreams, her own places-her own adventures of a lifetime—even though that means we lose her. We’re genuinely happy when she’s happy. Still, my favorite part is that we get her back for August, and now she’s a certified sawyer too.
Daniel is the outfitting manager. It suits him. As a mom, I worry that he’s taking on too much responsibility and becoming too old too fast, and developing a little twitch next to his right eye. As an employer, I have to admit that he sure is great at his job. Sometimes before he goes to bed he still comes around and says “hug” just like he did when he was three. He’s a competent man and a sweet boy all at the same time.
Joe is absolutely perfect for hospitality because he offers the same friendly helpfulness at the end of a long day that he did that first day of the summer. He’s is an optimist…in the flesh….even after he just fails the gallon-challenge. He’s just game for everything—and I hear he doesn’t miss anything going on…ever. You can’t help but like Joe.
There they are–our 2014 crew. Can you see why I love them? It has been an honor for me to be part of this group of young people, and watch how they became a family who takes care of each other—and who are honestly committed to doing the hard work to take good care of every one who visits Tuscarora. So, while I’m directing my heart to let go, I’m also really grateful for this slice of time and for the 2014 Tuscarora Crew.
As summer starts to wind down and back to school advertisements flood our newspapers, radio and television, I am often brought back to the time when I, too was heading “back to school.” Back to school with new gym shoes, brightly colored notebooks and a bunch of freshly sharpened pencils. Life was good! In elementary school, I always eagerly awaited the “free read” time of day. A time when all us little kiddos had full authority to browse the children’s section of the school library. If there … read more
This week our linemen finished installing and powering the distribution lines from Grand Portage to the Canadian Border. This area had been served by lines from Ontario’s Hydro One power supplier, but the service was not as reliable as we wanted for our members. This summer we have tackled the daunting task of burying power lines along the rocky shoulders of Highway 61 and installing new overhead distribution lines to finally connect these members to the rest of the county. Check out our Facebook page for some great pictures of the guys finishing the work. Thanks to all the patient and friendly members in Grand Portage and beyond who kept us company and cheered us on during this major project.
I truly enjoy strolling through Grand Marais during the summer. For those of us that reside here 12 months a year, one can appreciate a walk where you need to share the sidewalk with visitors and their dogs while greeting unfamiliar faces. This walk is far different than in November. I’ve had multiple opportunities during the past few weeks to do a little small town bragging. We live in one of the most inspiring places.
We just finishing wrapping up our summer video shoot with the crew Capture Film Co. This crew understands how unique and beautiful our landscape is, if you haven’t yet watched our winter video I strongly encourage you to. You will see that they truly love Cook County. Spending a few days touring them around reminds me to look through a different lens at this place we call home.
Apparently there are a few others who feel the same way we do about Cook County MN.
Our communities have been popping up in a wide variety of Best of lists and articles from publications around the country. Grand Marais has just received several accolades from Fodor’s, Huffington Post and Lake Superior Magazine this month alone!
Fodor’sTravel begins like this: “As the gateway to the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness, Grand Marais is home to cozy restaurants…” The brief description is part of a travel blog titled “10 Charming Midwestern Towns to Visit This Summer.”
Another feel good appears in Lake Superior Magazine’s “Best of the Lake.” More than 1,200 readers voted in this annual survey. The list covers everything from Best Art Gallery to Best Events and in many cases we received the big red star indicating top vote getter.
This past weekend, I participated in the Dragon Boat Festival with my team of nine years “The Fired Up Puppies” and in a new event with the Cook County Chamber’s Dragon Dash team. Congratulations WTIP www.wtip.org/, North House Folk School www.northhouse.org/ and the North Shore Health Care Foundation www.northshorehealthcarefoundation.org/ for another successful year.
In all my years of enjoying Cook County, growing up here and visiting frequently, I’ve only missed one Fishermen’s Picnic. I encourage everyone to try to take a break and enjoy the weekend festivities. If you have some spare time, talk to a Lion or Lioness about volunteer opportunities and at the very least, thank them for organizing this annual celebration. It certainly is OK for the locals to puff up your chest and do a little home place bragging.
Stop by and say hi at the fish burger stand on Saturday. I’ll be there wrapping the delicious tradition.
“They’re all red-ready and they’re all red hot, the fish in the middle and the tartar on top.” Happy summer on the Shore and Trail.
In partnership with Arrowhead Cooperative, Great River Energy (GRE) will build a 20-kW solar array at Arrowhead Cooperative’s headquarters site, 5401 Minnesota Highway 61 in Lutsen. The Lutsen solar array is one of 18 20-kW arrays GRE is installing throughout its service area in Minnesota, in addition to the recently completed 250-kW solar array at its headquarters building in Maple Grove, Minn. The solar array will generate renewable electricity while also providing information on how distributed generation solar facilities like this can best be used by electric cooperatives. Construction will begin in October and GRE expects it will be completed and in-service by the end of October. GRE will be using panels from tenKsolar, which are assembled in Minnesota. The system will consist of 48 solar panels, arranged in six rows of eight panels.
What is Community Solar?
Several of the cooperatives in Minnesota that are getting these arrays are also planning to add their own community solar installation. Community solar is a solar-electric system that is owned by multiple community members. The members receive power or financial benefit from their ownership. In most utility-sponsored projects, utility customers participate by contributing either an up-front or ongoing payment to support a solar project. In exchange, customers receive a payment or credit on their electric bills that is proportional to their contribution and also based on how much electricity the solar project produces. In this way utility customers who wish to support solar power have an opportunity to do so at a much lower cost than an individual installation.
Community Solar in Lutsen?
Working with GRE on the solar array in Lutsen gives Arrowhead Cooperative an opportunity to consider adding an additional array using the community solar model. We are working now to answer many questions, starting with whether our members are interested in community solar. In order for the project to go forward, we’d need to have enough members invest in the solar array to offset the cost, so that the full membership doesn’t need to pay for the installation. We are working with GRE and other cooperatives that have gone through this process to learn more about costs, membership options, and best practices. Look for more information throughout the summer and early fall as we learn more about our options.
For more information about GRE’s solar projects visit http://www.greatriverenergy.com/makingelectricity/renewables/solar.html
Guest who were here for the Memorial weekend got a real treat!! Who would believe that the ice went out on May 19th and the temps were in the 80′s by Memorial weekend. Memorial weekend was great with hi temps, sunny days and virtually no bugs!
Fishing is well on it’s way with people catching Lake Trout anywhere from the surface to 30ft. The Walleye are still in the shallows finishing up their spawning season. Lake temps are changing quickly. The past 80 degree temps changed the shallow lake temps from the upper 30′s to the mid 50′s over night.
Trolling floating stickbait is still the preferred methods for the evening Walleye bite. Lindy rigging live baits seem to be the best bet for daytime Walleye fishing. Lake Trout seem to be responding to stickbaits, spinners and spoons. The bass are still a bit slow, but we’re finally hearing of some movement, and the Northern are crusing the shorelines.
More to come!
A memorial service has been planned for Dennis Todd June 7th 10am at the Gunflint Conference Center at 143 S. Gunflint Lake Rd, Grand Marais MN. Dennis was a fishing guide on the Gunflint Trail for 20+ years.
Dennis Ray Todd of Appleton City MO. & The Gunflint Trail MN. died as a result of a boating accident on Nothern Light Lake in Canada on September 12, 2013. Dennis and a friend were enjoying a day of fishing when the accident happened. It is not completely clear of what happened but they were both ejected from the boat. The passenger was wearing a life jacket and was able to make it to shore. Unfortunately Dennis was not and in an apparent attempt to retrieve the boat he succumb to the cold waters and drowned in Traflagar Bay.
Dennis was a graduate of Appleton City High School. After serving his country in the United States Army he worked various jobs in Kansas City before finding his true calling. Dennis has been employed with Gunflint Lodge for the past 25 years as a fishing guide. It was apparent to many repeat customers that Dennis had a true passion, he loved to fish. “Bobber down” was soon echoed throughout the Midwest from those who were fortunate enough to go north fishing with the “Walleye Jedi”.
Friends and family alike enjoyed fish fries at Dennis’ and he was always able to provide someone with fresh fish. Dennis was quick with a joke or story and always had a helping hand for anyone that was in need of one.
Dennis was born to Raymond and Betty (Harris) Todd on February 12, 1954 in Appleton City, Mo. He was proceeded in death by his father Raymond and an infant sister Janet.
Dennis is survived by his son Cameron and step-daughter Laura (Scott) Campbell, his mother Betty Todd of Appleton City, sister Judy (Steve) Adams Bloomfield IA, brother Dave (Lisa) Todd Butler, nephews Matt Brownsberger, Brian and Kyle Todd, and four grandchildren. Many cousins and friends as well.
Memorial gifts may be sent to the Cameron Todd Educational Trust Fund at the Community First Banks in Butler and Appleton City Mo.