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Surly’s CEO Knows You’re Still Mad About the Union Stuff

Plus (historic) frogs gone wild, an ace obit, and walking up for a bite in today's Flyover news roundup.

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

Craft Beer Consumption Peaked; Surly Aware of Union-Related Bad Will

Those are the two major takeaways from this nifty Axios report on the health of Minnesota's craft beer scene. While craft brewing remains a $2 billion industry in this state, barrel production peaked between 2016 to 2018, according to data from the Brewers Association. "The hard part for craft brewers right now is the ever-changing tastes of the consumer and what people are actually drinking," Bob Galligan of the MN Craft Brewers Guild tells Nick Halter at Axios. The silver lining? THC bevs may provide a lucrative green rush for breweries, as reported in this Racket feature.

In 2022, August Schell was the largest brewer in Minnesota at 95,200 barrels, per numbers Axios gathered from the Minnesota Department of Revenue, followed by Summit (93,800), Associated Brewing (79,000), Surly (62,800), Third Street (44,700), Castle Danger (29,700), Fulton (26,400), and Indeed (19,700). Racket's old beer columnist, Jerard Fagerberg, tells us Third Street operates a contract-heavy biz out of the historic Cold Spring Brewery, though he wasn't able to provide intel on the other head-scratcher, Associated Brewing. Ditto for Google. Can you?*

Elsewhere in Halter's beer reporting: Surly Brewing CEO Omar Ansari is aware you might dislike his company for its (alleged!) union-busting in 2020. "I don't think it's helped [sales]," he told Axios, adding that he encounters folks at beer tasting events who will decline Surly due to the messy botched union saga. "There wasn't union busting going on here."

*Update: Several of our wonderful readers reached out, including this former employee of BevSource: "In today’s Flyover, I noticed you made mention of the Associated Brewing mystery, and I’m here to shed some light! This is actually a DBA for BevSource, a beverage development company based out of Little Canada. Its impact isn’t well known locally, but they have a national footprint and work with some household brands."

Noisy, Hungry Frog Headline Makes Life Worthwhile

Every now and then one of history's greatest headline/subhead combos goes viral, as it well should. We won't dilly-dally on the way to the fireworks factory:


Our old City Pages colleague Mike Mullen encountered this lyrical, universe-building headline back in 2016, prompting this lovely blog post. "The story was published in the July 15, 1906 edition of the Minneapolis Journal, a progressive paper that existed here from 1888 to 1939, when it merged with the Minneapolis Star, forerunner of today's Star Tribune," he writes, noting that the local paper was actually running a wire story of a frog caper that took place in Seipstown, Pennsylvania. Here's the full text:

We'll give our ol' pal Mullen the final word:

And that's it. As you'll notice, the full story doesn't even add much to its title. The frogs sadden Alvin Shoemaker. They try to drive him from the land by depriving him of fruit and milk, and they destroy his fabrics. For this, he wants them dead. 

They are, by now. So too is Shoemaker, the simple cattle man of central Pennsylvania. But the story of their struggle lives on to this day, thanks to the greatest newspaper headline of all time. 

Tony Bouza Dies at 94

There’s nothing quite like a good obit, and in today’s Strib Randy Furst turns in a great summation of the life of Tony Bouza, the “colorful and controversial” (as obit headlines like to say) former Minneapolis police chief. Appointed by liberal Minneapolis mayor Don Fraser in 1980, Bouza considered himself a “master of efficiency” and refused to expand the police force despite union demands, while eliminating dozens of managerial positions in the MPD. “Bouza's tendency to say whatever was on his mind often got him into trouble,” Furst writes, in what’s possibly an understatement.

As inspector general of the NYPD, Bouza said the force was overrun with “psychos, criminals and the unfit." He was suspended for calling Minneapolis council member Dennis Schulstad "Charlie Stenvig in drag." Sworn in as gay activists were clashing with a homophobic vice squad, Bouza was asked what he would do on his first day on the job: "Seek political exile in Rio de Janeiro." There’s plenty more where that came from. When a former Minneapolis Police Federation prez says "I thought he was a blowhard" about you, you must have done something right.

The Rise of Walk-Through Windows

Who hasn’t, either as a mischievous teen or a dumb drunk college kid, tried to walk through a drive-thru late at night only to be scolded by an employee? Turns out what we wanted–nay, needed–was a walk-up window. A staple in Europe, where the streets are often closed to cars and on-foot travel is a reality of daily life, walk-up windows made their way to Minnesota when businesses had to pivot to al fresco options during the plague. This neat MinnPost story from Bill Lindeke explores the world of Twin Cities walk-ups, including some of the places that offer them (Canteen, Roundtable Coffee Works, Moon Palace, and Alma’s Provisions, to name a few) and how they can add to a thriving sidewalk culture.

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