Cocktail hour is near for the East Side

A room in the old Hamm’s brewery complex, once used as a blacksmith shop, will be turned into a cocktail room by 11 Wells Spirits. (Patrick Larkin/Review)

We’ve all heard of brewery taprooms coming to the Twin Cities -- seems like everywhere you look, there’s a new one popping up.

But booze galleries? That’s a new one.

The East Side has two beer breweries on the way that will eventually serve their own beer, brewed right in the neighborhood -- Sidhe Brewing will rent space in Plaza Del Sol on Payne Avenue, and Flat Earth Brewing is already making beer in the old Hamm’s complex.

But adding to the mix will be a distillery -- 11 Wells Spirits, also located in the Hamm’s complex, are shooting to open a cocktail room where folks can sample their products by Thanksgiving.

Thanks to a new omnibus liquor bill signed by Gov. Mark Dayton in May, distilleries can run the equivalent of a beer brewery’s taproom.

Bob McManus, one of two owners of 11 Wells, wasn’t anticipating the change in law, but nonetheless the business looks poised to make the most it.

McManus called the bill “a happy surprise.”

“It dovetails into what (Lee Egbert, co-owner) and I are doing here ... reviving these buildings for productive use,” he said.

Alongside the distillery sits a large empty room which was once a blacksmith shop -- there horseshoes were put on the horses that would deliver Hamm’s beer throughout the East Side and the rest of the city.

McManus and Egbert plan to turn the room into their cocktail room, where they’ll serve aged whiskey and gin cocktails.

For now, they’ve got a bit of work to do - power-washing the walls, removing chipped paint, and installing a whole set of new doors and windows.

But when it’s done, it’ll be one of a smattering of East Side destinations where people can drink locally crafted beverages on the same premises they were made on.

Contact Patrick Larkin at 651-748-7816 or at Follow him on Twitter at @ESRPatrickLark.


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