MINNEAPOLIS - The doors are officially open at Fulton Brewery in the shadows of Target Field.
"In two years, we've gone from selling our first pint to building a brewery," said Jim Diley, one Fulton's founders. "It's unbelievable."
Six years ago, four friends from Minnesota started brewing their own beer in their garage, but now that hobby has gotten huge. Fulton beer opened their doors Friday for taste testing and tours with plans to include a "tap room" where visitors can buy a pint and guzzle it down.
"I think it's a really great time for Minneapolis and craft beer," says Diley. "We never thought this would be possible."
And it almost wasn't. State laws and city ordinances prevented breweries from selling pints and growlers on-site, but recently regulations have loosened. Last spring, Governor Dayton signed the "Surly Bill" into law allowing brewers to sell on location.
"The new legislation has helped to cut red tape and we're creating jobs," says Gary Schiff, a Minneapolis city Councilmember. "We're allowing entrepreneurs to follow their dreams"
Even more "red tape" was cut Friday. The city council voted to eradicate a 40 year old ordinance that required bars and breweries to be at least 300 feet from a church.
Less restrictions means more business opportunities and nobody could be more thrilled than Rob Miller.
"The craft beer movement is just taking off," said Miller, who plans on opening the Dangerous Man Brewing Company early next year. "This really opens the door for other businesses and is good for the economy."
Many self-described "beer geeks" say Minneapolis could soon become a city known for quality, local beer.
"You go to Portland or to Denver and there are craft breweries using local ingredients all over," says Diley. "I think that can happen here."
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