Blacklist’s New Axe-Throwing Set to be On Target

New activity opens this Friday.

DULUTH, Minn.- The trend of Axe-Throwing in bars makes its way to Duluth, as Blacklist Artisan Ales prepares to open Axe-Throwing in their downtown Superior Street location.

This Friday they will be debuting Duluth’s first recreational Axe-Throwing location, which started as all great ideas do.

“It’s kinda fun because I thought it was a joke when it first started,” said Ray Mindestrom.

The three targets in the back of the brewery went from joke to reality fast.

“One of the owners came up with the idea and we had, literally the axe booths were up in 2 weeks,” Mindestrom said.

Then Blacklist staff spent weeks perfecting their axe-throwing skills.

Mindestrom became in charge of the operation, a position called “Axe-pert.” Among his responsibilities include teaching others.

“It’s just kind of a nice, easy throw this way,” he said, demonstrating his grip on the handle.

For two-handed throwers: one hand on the lower handle with the thumb along the hilt, and the dominant hand higher on top.

Then, you rear up with your whole body, and push the axe out like a dart board, releasing at eye-level.

“And when you’re finishing the throw, it’s a lot like throwing a baseball, that’s kinda how I coach people through it.”

And if you think you won’t need a lesson, you’d be wrong. It took all the Blacklist staff several days before they were hitting bullseyes.

They hope that the axe-throwing sets them apart form the brewery crowd, a market some would say is becoming saturated in the Northland.

“I think everybody kinda wants to have their little niche in the whole spiel of things,” said Mindestrom. “This is, for us, we’ve been here for a little over 2.5 or 2 years, and y’know I think for us it’s just something else that we’re doing.”

They are even introducing a new brew, the “Axe Ale,” to go along with it.

However, to get to this point they had to make sure the city knew they’d be safe, hoping to prove to them that every rule, regulation, and precaution would work.

“It’s not new it’s a thing, that’s been happening quite a while statewide,”Mindestrom said. “We had to carry a certain type of insurance with this, which of course keeps everybody safe and what not.”

The brewery will also have trained staff on hand to assist first-time axe-throwers.

“It’ll be somebody to walk them through the safety precautions, the rules and whatnot.”

For extra safety, they had to add some physical components to the space, like a high bar separating the line from the throwing area.

“What you’re seeing here, y’know, so we’ve got our bar set up here, that’s a really a safety precaution for everyone who’s going to be spectating, watching the sport, or people waiting for their turn to throw,” Mindestrom said.

But if you’ve had a few Blacklist Ales, you might have to wait a bit to throw.

“Obviously from a liquor standpoint we do have rules and regulations as well,” said Mindestrom. “So there’s a certain amount you’re allowed to have here, and then we also have our own discretionary purposes if you think you’ve probably been a few other places.”

All in all, this new activity is sure to be on target for bar-hoppers.

“It’s super fun, and I think a lot of people coming in are gonna be excited about it too.”

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