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Lyin’ Canadians Plotting to Kill Cherished Holiday Stationstores

Plus a deep-dive on MN stouts, life as a cabbie, and a first for Black farmers in today's Flyover news roundup.

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This location is technically in Wisconsin. That’s how honest we are!

Welcome back to The Flyover, your daily digest of important, overlooked, and/or interesting Minnesota news stories.

Betrayed! Canada Lied To Us About Holiday Gas Rebrand.

Pour a little bit of premium octane out on the sidewalk today, because Holiday, Minnesota’s favorite gas station after the death of SuperAmerica, is slowly becoming Circle K. Signage shifts have been spotted in North Dakota, Michigan, and, most recently, parts of Minnesota. When the owners of Circle K, Quebec-based Alimentation Couche-Tard (Google translates this to “Night Owl Diet”), purchased Holiday from the Erickson family in 2017, its executives vowed to maintain the company’s brand/legacy. But oh, how the tides have changed. “We’ve completed these conversions in select markets in several other states over the past two years, and work is now underway in Rochester,” Chris Barnes, head of global communications, tells MPR. (Here's where we'll whine publicly: Racket has been asking Alimentation Couche-Tard PR for literal years about this looming rebrand... crickets.) Watch out, Minneapolis and St. Paul locations! 

Who Knew? Turns Out MN Is a Russian Imperial Stout State.

Ex-Racket beer critic Jerard Fagerberg may have left Minnesota last spring for the East Coast, but he’s still writing on local brew lore. And, in his recent piece at Vine Pair, I learned something new about our state: We’re pretty dang good at making Russian imperial stouts. The story takes us through a little bit of local beer history, from early days when Czar Jack ruled at Town Hall, to the rise of Surly Darkness, to more recent brews at Bent Brewstillery, Lift Bridge, Sisyphus, and others. An English beer once favored by Peter the Great, Russian imperials are known for their dark color, high ABV, and toasty, bittersweet notes. And, if you’re a brewery in Minnesota, you’re expected to have one on tap in the winter. “It’s a fun beer to brew, because it’s easy to put your thumbprint on a recipe,” says Inbound founder Eric Biermann. “You can tweak that flavor a lot.” 

Cab Drivers Patiently Wait for Uber and Lyft to Leave

In the days of rideshare apps on phones, what’s it like to be an old-school taxi driver? If you’re like José Illisaca, a 60-year-old lifelong cabbie, you spend a lot of your day waiting. That's one of a few takeaways from this H. Jiahong Pan piece over at MinnPost. Illisaca spends his days parked in downtown Minneapolis just hoping to break even, and he’s very ready for Uber and Lyft to get out of town. “I’m so happy about this for every taxi driver. I hope business [for] taxis come up again,” he tells Pan. Folks like Illisaca might continue to face stiff competition, however. City officials are currently considering allocating $150K to local rideshare startups while state lawmakers are scrambling to find ways to keep Lyft and Uber in town despite their anti-minimum wage stance. Related: Moments before we published this story, Racket got word that the Minnesota Uber/Lyft Drivers Association (MULDA) will be partnering with the New York-based Drivers Cooperative on a driver-owned rideshare network; expect more details at a press conference tomorrow afternoon.

Coming Soon: MN’s First Black-Owned Freight Farm

Did you know that old shipping containers can be transformed into greenhouses? Self-proclaimed “fourth generation farm kid” Marcus Carpenter is bringing the freight technology to his Route 1 farm business out in Medina in rural Hennepin County. "Not only does this freight farm give us the ability to grow over 200 pounds of fresh produce per week, but it also gives us the ability to bring in youth who may have not had an opportunity to experience agriculture," he tells KARE 11. Less than 1% of Minnesota farmers are Black, according to USDA census data. Carpenter says he hopes to change that via youth programs and his handy container farm, which can and will travel. He says once the system is up and running, produce will be sold at local farmers’ markets.

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