The latest brewery and taproom to jump into the Twin Cities market is BlackStack Brewing, located in the sprawling complex at 755 Prior Ave. N. in St. Paul in the same building where Can Can Wonderland opened earlier this month.
“We’re mutually thrilled to have each other in this building as kind of co-traffic drivers,” said owner Scott Johnson. The Johnson family hopes to open the taproom in their 20,000-foot space next month after three years of planning, brewing and waiting for various approvals.
The family’s involvement with beer began just over 20 years ago, when they owned a high-end imported beer distribution company called All Saints Brands, Inc. When in 2011 the so-called Surly Bill made it possible for breweries to also have tap rooms, the temptation to upstart their own operation was just too strong.
“If you don’t have a taproom, it’s hard to break even for the first one, two, even five years,” Johnson said. “So the taproom law kind of dummy proofed it, in a good way.”
Thus a new family project was born. Johnson partnered with Bob DuVernois – the former head brewer at Excelsior Brewing – and then got everyone else involved. Wife, Shawne Murphy-Johnson, handles marketing, 26-year-old son Murphy (pictured, above, in photo courtesy of Black Stack) has been training as the assistant brewer for the last year and a half, 23-year-old son Cooper works in sales and 16-year-old daughter Quinn is in charge of environmental efficiency and social media.
“She’s really happy but she didn’t have much of a choice,” Johnson said with a chuckle. “She was thrown in.”
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