Business Matters: First Golden Valley Brewery Opens
Beer lovers packed into Golden Valley’s first taproom this past week. Under Pressure Brewing Company, located off Highway 55 on 7th Avenue, celebrated its grand opening Friday. To celebrate the opening, the owners went against the traditional ribbon cutting and instead held a hop-vine cutting in true brewery fashion.
Months of Hard Work
For the owners of Under Pressure Brewing, the opening was a long time coming.
“It’s been a long struggle, and we’re just happy to be here. Let’s have some beer,” John Keenan, one of the co-owners shouted to the crowd Friday.
Golden Valley had to approve a taproom ordinance, which the city council did in 2015. The owners, Lori Ertl; Lori’s son, Tyler Marchiniak; and Keenan visited 14 locations around the Golden Valley-New Hope area before settling on their current warehouse site.
“We are very lucky to have them choose Golden Valley and stick it out,” said Golden Valley Mayor Shep Harris.
“I just wanted a warm welcome home that if you walked in, you felt like you were home,” said Ertl.
The owners spent 17 months building the brewery. Ertl’s son, Tyler Marchiniak, did a lot of the heavy lifting, putting in many 12-hour-plus workdays. John Keenan, who runs a metal shop business, also put his skills to good use.
Awards Piled Up
Ertl had a vision when she started the brewery. It’s a vision that started with a taste through years of home brewing.
“I love going to the grain room, smelling the grain, tasting the grain, seeing what I want to put in a beer that will make it want to taste right,” said Ertl.
First the taste. Then came success. Ertl’s beers started winning awards through judge-certified competitions. She now has 40 more than medals to her name, including her London Brown Ale, which won a gold medal at the National Homebrew Competition in 2017.
“It’s got a little sweet taste to it, it’s not bitter, and that has been our biggest seller so far,” said Ertl. “And I thought maybe I do have good beer here. Entered it in Home Brew Con and it just was very successful.”
The name Under Pressure Brewing was a fitting choice, considering the work it took to get there.
“There was pressure all the time, all the time,” said Keenan.
Pressure not just to create a tasty lineup of beers, but to meet a vision.
“Every time we turn around, Lori would say ‘can you make this? Can you make that?” said Keenan.
Keenan then used those metal shop skills to recapture the old, as in the Old World. He made sword-shaped handles that could be used to deliver flights of beer. There’s even a large sword that can hold eight pints of beer, which actually requires two people to deliver it.
“They order it up and the whole room lights up. Everybody is part of the experience. They’re all hootin’ and hollerin’ and it’s a celebration,” said Keenan about the large pint-sword flight.
All the furniture is fitting of medieval times too.
“We refurbished all these tables and chairs ourselves, 135 chairs,” said Ertl.
Friends and family helped in the effort. Some brought in chandeliers. Artist friends helped create chalices and mugs that will be used for the brewery’s Knight Club, reserved for loyal customers. But the medieval mindset is not all what the owners wanted.
“A brewery scene is warm and inviting and welcoming and that’s exactly what we want,” said Ertl.