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SOLD OUT: Leading Craft Brewers Discuss the Business of Beer

April 14, 2014

The next Carlson School of Management "1st Tuesday Speaker Series" will tap the expertise of four Minnesota craft brewers. Surly Brewing Co. Founder and CEO Omar Ansari, Fulton Beer President Ryan Petz, Summit Brewing Co. President and CEO Mark Stutrud, and Town Hall Brewery Founder Pete Rifakes will discuss the business of beer on May 6, 2014 at 11:30 a.m. at McNamara Alumni Center.

The panelists will share their perspective on entrepreneurship, scaling up operations, innovating products, and navigating regulatory roadblocks. The May event is sold out, but 1st Tuesday will host compelling speakers throughout the summer. View the schedule here.

Surly Brewing Co Founder and CEO Omar Ansari brewed his first batch of beer in 1994 using a brewing kit he received as a gift. In the decade that followed, he delighted friends and family with his hop-heavy homebrew. By 2004, upon convincing the city of Brooklyn Center to legalize brewing, Ansari converted a 5,000 square foot industrial space in the northern suburbs to Surly brewery and taproom. Today, beer lovers can find Surly beer at establishments throughout the Twin Cities, as well as on Sun Country Airlines flights, and at select Minnesota Timberwolves home games.

Fulton Beer President Ryan Petz, '10 MBA, developed a brewery business plan through his participation in the Carlson School Ventures Enterprise. Soon after earning his MBA, Petz launched Fulton Beer with the help of three fellow homebrewers. In 2013, the team opened Minneapolis's first legal taproom near Target Field, where they serve three year-round varieties and a smattering of seasonal brews. Fulton is currently remodeling a 50,000 square foot warehouse in Northeast Minneapolis to grow production, and will begin brewing at the new facility later this year.

Summit Brewing Co. Founder Mark Stutrud sought training from master brewers to create handcrafted beer using traditional methods that once flourished in the Midwest. In 1986, he remodeled the space of an old truck parts company on St. Paul's University avenue and proudly released Summit EPA, the beer that put Summit on the map, nationally. Ten years later, the brewery had undergone five expansions to reach a maximum capacity of 34,000 barrels per year. Today, Summit is the second largest brewery in Minnesota. Stutrud was named a finalist for the Ernst and Young Entrepreneur of the Year, and won the North Dakota Business Innovator of the Year award. He holds a BS in social work from the University of North Dakota.

Town Hall Brewery Founder Pete Rifakes opened the doors of his flagship brewery near the University of Minnesota in 1997. Town Hall Brewery is currently undergoing a substantial expansion to up beer production and meet increased demand driven by its two satellite locations: Town Hall Tap and Town Hall Lanes. By adding four new tanks, the brewery's capacity will reach 3,500 barrels -- the maximum quantity allowed for brewpubs under state law. Rifakes has been a diligent supporter of brewing reform that would allow brewpubs like Town Hall to sell beer to retailers.

About the Carlson School of Management's 1st Tuesday Speaker Series
The Carlson School of Management's "1st Tuesday Speaker Series" began in 1992 to provide an opportunity for alumni and friends of the Carlson School to continue their management education. The series features top-notch executives addressing hot topics in business and leadership. Held on the first Tuesday of every month, the program attracts alumni and business leaders from throughout the corporate community, and has become an attractive spot for professionals in the metropolitan area to network.

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