Bent Paddle Brewing Co.
Bent Paddle Brewing Co. is a 30-barrel production craft brewery and taproom located in the beautiful northern Great Lakes port town of Duluth, Minnesota.
The brewers of Bent Paddle Brewing Co. use the amazing water of Lake Superior to brew the freshest and most dependable craft beer possible. Lake Superior is 10% of the worlds fresh surface water and 100% of our beer is made with that water. It is incredibly soft and mimics the water of Pilsen, Czech Republic, the birthplace of Pilseners.
Our flagship beers, as well as specialty seasonal offerings, are available in varied keg sizes as well as 12 & 16 oz. cans at bars, liquor stores, restaurants and event facilities throughout Minnesota and beyond, as well as by the glass or 32 oz. crowler or 64 oz. growler to go in our on-site taproom.
It is our goal at Bent Paddle Brewing Co. to produce beers that “Bend the Tradition” of the classic style that they represent. We strive to make drinkable, balanced beers with an edge of inventiveness for all beer lovers to enjoy.
The mission of Bent Paddle Brewing Co. is to brew craft beer with a concentration on sustainability for our business, employees, the environment and the greater community – all while “Bending the Traditions” that we encounter, for a more unique and interesting craft beer experience.
The 30-barrel Bent Paddle Brewing Co. brewhouse and fermenters were crafted by our friends at Diversified Metal Engineering (DME) out of Prince Edward Island in Canada.
The Bent Paddle Brewing Co. brewery team is made up of four individuals — two married couples — with an abundance of professional craft beer industry experience. Brewer Bryon Tonnis, CEO and Director of Brewery Operations, holds a brewing degree from the Siebel Institute of Technology and World Brewing Academy and has 12 years of professional brewing experience most recently as head brewer at Rock Bottom Brewery in Minneapolis. Brewer Colin Mullen, President and Director of Brewery Communications, has 8 years of professional brewing experience most recently as Head of Brewing Operations at Barley John’s Brewpub near Minneapolis. Bent Paddle Brewing Co. is 50% female-owned by partners Karen Tonnis, VP of Operations, who has 12 years of distribution and operations management experience, and Laura ‘Salyards-Fryberger’ Mullen, VP of Outreach & Events, who has run an accomplished event design company since 2004. One of Laura’s primary event clients was the Minnesota Craft Brewer’s Guild for which she produced successful craft beer festivals as well as acted as Guild Coordinator.
In December 2010 the four brewery founders were at a charity event at a craft beer bar in Minneapolis – based on a feeling, Laura said to Karen that “the guys should get together” and discuss their brewing futures. From there Bryon and Colin met over a few pints and discovered their shared dream of starting their own breweries. After many more discussions about vision, logistics, and brewing philosophy the partnership was born. From 2011 to early 2013 the team of four worked on the business plan, fundraising, site selection, and the build-out phase of Bent Paddle Brewing Co. which launched publicly in May 2013. The partnership between the two couples has always felt like a natural fit as they seem to live parallel lives – marrying nine days apart in September 2008 and having their children – Liam Tonnis and Adella Mullen – born just three days apart in April 2012!
Bent Paddle Brewing Co. is named for the bent shaft canoe paddle Bryon used to mix his brewing mash while at Rock Bottom Brewery as well as a shared passion for canoeing – the Tonnis’ in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area and the Mullen’s on the Brule River in Northwestern Wisconsin. With the brewery’s location in Duluth, the team also felt it was a great representative symbol for the Northwoods adventure backdrop that Bent Paddle Brewing Co. contributes beer and culture to. As any brewer knows, your equipment has a life of its own and reacts accordingly. On Bryon’s last day of brewing at Rock Bottom Minneapolis, the bent shaft canoe paddle / mash mixer broke in half – a symbolic end to his tenure!
The City of Duluth was selected by our team primarily because of the great brewing water – great beer demands great water! Duluth also has an outstanding craft beer culture along with a growing community of energetic young professionals, making it an ideal community for the team to open the business and take root. Also, Laura is a born and raised Duluthian and Bryon and Karen met while attending the University of Minnesota – Duluth. Located at 1912 West Michigan Street, Bent Paddle Brewing Co. is housed in a 10,600 square foot building in West Duluth’s Lincoln Park neighborhood. The brewery is near downtown and the industrial waterfront with great visibility off the main Highway I35. Alongside great neighbors like the Frost River Trading Co., OMC Smokehouse, Damage Boardshop, Love Creamery, Flora Noth, the ever popular Duluth Grill and many more, Bent Paddle Brewing Co. has brought great energy to what was previously a sleepy business district in Duluth. Together this group of local entrepreneurs alongside local associations and the City of Duluth has revitalized what is now referred to as the Lincoln Park Craft District in honor of all the locally produced goods and services of the neighborhood.
Bent Paddle Brewing Co. is an independent craft brewer.
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For years, small and independent U.S. craft breweries have been turning the beer world upside down. Their ability to take risks, innovate flavors and build better communities has made the U.S. the craft beer capital of the world.
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Learn more about what it means to be an Independent Craft Brewer by visiting the Brewers Association.