SPEARFISH | The Black Hills still has a ways to go to catch up with other craft beer strongholds, with examples being Fort Collins, Colo., the Twin Cities or Seattle, but Spearfish seems to be leading the way with a third microbrewery set to open.
Lee and Ali Eddy of Spearfish recently announced plans to open Sawyer Brewing Company, with hopes of serving their locally crafted ales as early as this summer as part of the new Village at Creekside in northwest Spearfish.
Sawyer Brewing joins Spearfish Brewing Company which opened last month in a new building at the corner of Main Street and Jackson Boulevard in downtown Spearfish and “veteran” local brewery, Crow Peak Brewing Company.
According to a release from the Spearfish Economic Development Corporation, the Eddys were approved for a $50,000 Spearfish Economic Revolving Fund loan, as well as a $50,000 loan through the South Dakota Development Corporation and the Governor’s Office of Economic Development.
They were also approved for an annual beer and wine permit by the Spearfish City Council, along with the SERF loan.
Lee Eddy said his hobby of home-brewing beer in his workshop in Spearfish grew into a goal of eventually opening a full brewery.
"I just had the idea. I’ve been working on it for several years and finally got everything together to make it work,” he said.
The name Sawyer comes from his three-generation family heritage as wood cutters. The brew pub will also offer neopolitan-style pizza from, appropriately, a wood-fired grill.
His wife, Ali, an accountant at Ketel Thorstenson in Spearfish, has restaurant experience, he said. He will be in charge of the brewery as well as day-to-day operation of the restaurant, serving up a variety of beers complimentary to the food menu.
“We’ll have a nice variety of ales, kind of an easier drinking ale that would go well with our pizza,” he said.
He said a state legislative proposal expanding limits on what craft breweries can produce, if ultimately passed, will help the industry expand.
“A lot of the neighboring states are very similar or even more progressive. I think South Dakota is on right track to make a good industry for it,” he said.
An encouraging sign, he said, is the atmosphere of camaraderie, not competition, existing with existing local breweries.
“I have actually visited with most the breweries in the area and every last one has been very open to advice and offered anything I may need,” he said in an email. “It’s been a welcoming feeling, which is nice.”
Eddy said he is looking forward to getting his brewery going, perhaps as early as mid-July, depending on construction progress.
“Hopefully we can stay on track,” Lee said. “Once they get the building enclosed we can get inside and start putting equipment in.”