Project DescriptionSurly Brewing MSP is an industrial project in an industrial setting. A 50,000 GSF destination brewery costing approximately $17,000,000, the 8.3 acre project significantly transforms an abandoned brownfield site into an urban destination that combines gardens, beer hall, event center, restaurant and brewery.
Planning for the project focused on serving both the immediate and future needs of the brewery operations—the facility is designed to account for upwards of 200% expansion. Site planning was critical and a key aspect in the design was the requirement to safely accommodate both public needs (entertainment, ease of access and safety) with production requirements of the brewery (material handling, expansion capacity, maximizing employee comfort and productivity).
The brewery’s materials and positioning draws on the industrial DNA of the site: its corrugated siding speaks to the surrounding context, and positions the buildings outward focal point on an abandoned grain silo, an important relic of Minneapolis’s economic and architectural heritage. Building and landscaping materials were selected for durability, sustainability and aesthetic impact—concrete, wood, corrugated-metal panels, exposed steel beams, native plantings and reclaimed on-site concrete help establish an authentic aesthetic tied to project and place.
The architecture puts the brewing process on display, inside and outside. Visitors enter along a central plaza anchored by a fire cauldron, fountains and public-art rock sculpture. The plaza leads to an entrance chamber where floor-to-ceiling glass frames views of the fermentation cellar. Further inside, an open beer hall features a window wall that looks into the brew house (the heart of the brewery). At the opposite end of the beer hall, a 10’x 60’ operable glass wall opens to allow free-flow from interior to exterior gardens.
Varied space type and scale encourage an assortment of social activity, from large areas for group gatherings to smaller spaces for one-on-one conversation—all designed to see and be seen and set the stage for interaction. The beer hall and restaurant on the first floor feature communal-style tables to encourage social engagement and conversation. Upstairs, a formal restaurant, recently named one of the country’s “Best New Restaurants,” and an event space with a pre-function bar offer views to the main floor, while a second-level deck overlooks the amphitheater and gardens below.
Exterior architecture and landscaping encourage play and interaction, from lawn games such as a Bocce court to informal settings for relaxing on the grass or gathering around the fire cauldron on cool autumn evenings. The glass wall overlooking the beer gardens and the evening interior lighting that spills out as a result visually connect interior to exterior, reinforcing a shared experience.
From every vantage point, visitors can share the Surly experience—from the transparent brewing operations to the communal spaces designed to enjoy the results. The facility has transformed the existing urban site into a community amenity featuring gardens and gathering areas, retail, entertainment and employment. As the first regenerative “greening” project in the neighborhood, Surly Brewing MSP serves as the catalyst for future sustainable and economic development.