Craft Beer Capital of Minnesota? Duluth vs. Saint Paul

West Duluth Billboard Has Friendly Debate Heating Up

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There’s a billboard standing tall on Grand Avenue in West Duluth that reads #MySaintPaul…Minnesota’s Craft Capital, and it’s causing many Duluthians to get protective over a title they believe is theirs.

Two years back Mayor Don Ness proclaimed Duluth ‘The Craft Beer Capital of Minnesota.’

He says larger cities, like Minneapolis and St. Paul, may have more volume in terms of their beer production, but that’s not what this title is about.

“What Duluth has is kind of that ethic, that craft ethic of people that really care about their craft, and it’s not about huge, huge monstrous production facilities, but it’s a craft thing,” explained Mayor Ness.

Mayor Ness said it was no surprise to find out that Terry Mattson was behind the billboard.

Mattson, who previously worked for Visit Duluth, says the billboard was all in good fun, and was in reference to Mayor Ness’s statement two years ago.

He believes St. Paul is deserving of the title.

“If you go back in history, it’s part of St. Paul’s fabric. Look at keg production today, quality today, what’s available as far as microbreweries and taprooms in the surrounding areas,” Mattson said.

Local breweries say being right here on the shores of Lake Superior automatically puts Duluth beer at an advantage.

“Lake superior water doesn’t need to be filtered that much because it’s so pure already,” explained Toby Armstrong, a host and tour guide at Canal Park Brewery.

They believe the title should belong in the city where craft beer originated.

“We kind of paved the ground for the craft beer, and everybody else has just branched off from our roots,” said Kyle Dietman, a bartender at Tycoons Alehouse & Eatery.

Both Mayor Ness and Terry Mattson say this dispute is bringing positive attention to craft beer across Minnesota as a whole.

The two can clink their glasses and cheers to the fact that no one loses in a beer war.

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