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Is Your Favorite Brewery In Financial Peril?

Plus FBI investigates DFL, WSJ praises BWCA, and dancers go viral in today's Flyover news roundup.

4:52 PM CST on January 15, 2024

Josh Olalde via Unsplash|

This dark stock image is meant to signify the precarious state of the craft beer industry circa 2024.

Welcome back to The Flyover, your daily midday digest of what local media outlets and Twitter-ers are gabbing about.

Is the Craft Brew Bubble About to Pop?

With Eastlake Craft Brewery, Dangerous Man, Clutch Brewing, Lakes & Legends, 612Brew, Tin Whiskers, Able Seedhouse, and Rock Bottom all closing over the past couple years, some Minnesota drinkers have increased clamoring about whether there's a craft-beer bubble. And, if so, could it soon pop? "I feel like a bubble is coming—a reckoning is going to happen," Tin Whiskers owner Jeff Moriarty told Axios in early 2022. Recently, an anonymous Redditor who claims to own a Twin Cities brewery further stoked those concerns, writing: "To sum it up, most breweries that look like they are doing fine probably are not. It is not good business to talk about how terrible things are, so you likely won’t hear it from the source except for in this post." He—we're gonna safely assume it's a dude due to having roughly no women-owned breweries in Minnesota—points to 11 economic factors that are impacting breweries, from evaporated COVID-era relief funds to dependencies on food halls. "Assume your favorite brewery is in the worst of these situations and buy directly from them," he concludes. At all interested in the industry's current EKG levels? We recommend reading the entire lengthy post. (Racket reached out to the author, but never heard back.)

FBI Eyeballs Fishy DFL Endorsement Process

Minnesota Reformer's Deena Winter had herself a week. Last Thursday she issued the definitive review of Alpha News's cynical, lazy copaganda doc, The Fall of Minneapolis, and the following day she published a juicy scoop: The FBI is investigating "multiple allegations of cheating and chicanery" related to last year's messy DFL endorsement process for the Minneapolis City Council. As you may recall, delegate irregularities plagued multiple wards, culminating with a freaking brawl during an endorsement convention in May.

It's unclear exactly what the feds are sniffing around at. An anonymous FBI interviewee, who was instructed to not chat with reporters, slipped Winter some intel anyway, stating, "They’re very interested in the delegates thing." The FBI considers endorsement processes in one-party towns like Minneapolis "ripe for fraud," according to the source. Multiple lawyers speculated to Winter that it's possible the feds are looking at potential violations of the federal Voting Rights Act, but specifics are in short supply. The FBI's famously unhelpful PR team refused to confirm or deny whether an investigation is even taking place, per the Strib. A DFL spokesman wasn't much more illuminating to the Reformer, offering: “Without more information, there’s not much more we can say about the topic." So, for now, the whole thing amounts to one big hmmmm.

Speaking of the FBI! Since it's MLK Day, enjoy this classic tweet from comedian Jaboukie Young-White:

WSJ <3s BWCA

Minnesotans don't need outside affirmation regarding the natural splendor of the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness. But, man, is that sorta stuff ever a balm to our various flyover hang-ups! With that in mind, a tip o' the cap to the Wall Street Journal for placing the BWCA on its "10 Best Places to Visit in 2024" list, right alongside locales like Quintana Roo and Malaysia.

Writes WSJ:

You can still drink straight from many of the 1,200 lakes in Minnesota’s Boundary Waters, the million-acre liquid maze just shy of the Canadian border. Often navigated via multiday canoe camping trips, this boreal wilderness grants its 250,000 annual visitors time on solid ground, too, in rustic lodges and on extensive island hiking trails. With mining interests eyeing the region, every tourist visit this year plays a pivotal role in the area’s conservation. Start yours with a drive along the Gunflint Trail, a 57-mile national scenic byway leading to the Boundary Waters. At midpoint, grab a cardamom roll from Loon’s Nest Coffee, opened in the fall of 2023, before joining a guided paddle with one of the many locally run outfitters. Come nightfall, check in to the freshly updated Gunflint Lodge, or upgrade your campsite with a mobile sauna delivered to your patch of woods by spa operators Sisu + Löyly. In the morning, wake up with the loons and continue your adventure on the lakes.

Well stated but, uh, don't drink straight from those 1,200 lakes unless you're square in the middle, pulling from deep water, and far from beaver dams...

This isn't the first time Wall Street Journal readers received BWCA hype. Back in 2020, comedy great Julia Louis-Dreyfus told the paper the Boundary Waters are the most underrated destination the U.S., adding: "I went canoeing and I loved it. It is just unfathomably beautiful." (Concerns about overcrowding bubbled up around that time, though permit application numbers have since dipped to pre-pandemic levels.) Here's photographic proof of her fandom:

U of M Dance Team Goes Viral

The University of Minnesota dance team may have finished second at this past weekend's Universal Dance Association College Nationals competition, right behind Ohio State University, but the rug-cutting Gophers locked down perhaps a more enviable prize: doing stupid-big numbers on TikTok. The U of M squad's performance set to Aerosmith's "Dream On," a redux from '04, has racked up millions of views, with one commenter stating, "I don't think the aerial right back into turns will ever not give me literal chills. amazing." Couldn't agree more. Go Gophs!

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