The September TCB will feature, as always, the fun and beloved Best of Business section. There was a lot of good stuff this year, recession or not. So much, that we weren’t able to fit all of it in.
For one thing, we wanted to put in more photos of local bicycle brands. Minneapolis was recognized as the top bicycling city in the country this year, after all. We’d loved to have included images from two local companies: Civia Bikes and All-City Cycles. Didn’t have room, so I’m including them here. Here’s one of the Dutch-inspired city bikes from Civia:
And dig the design of All-City rear dropout, reminiscent of the Hennepin Avenue bridge:
Photo credit: Jeff Frane
One thing you’ll also see barrels of in Best of Business is beer. By the time you read this, the city of Minneapolis may have made it easier for new microbrewers to start up.
This would come on the heels of Wednesday’s report that Cold Spring Brewing up near St. Cloud was ceasing production of one of the state’s oldest brands: Gluek. If I were Minneapolis born and raised, I might feel a nostalgic twinge about this news. But all that remains of Gluek in the City of Lakes is the downtown restaurant and Gluek Park, the open space in Northeast where the brewery (torn down in the mid-1960s) once sat. The beer hasn’t been a Minneapolis product for a long time. Just a name.
The same could be said about Grain Belt. The Grain Belt brewery still stands, but it now houses RSP Architects. And of course, you can still buy Grain Belt. But how “Minneapolis” is it? It’s brewed in New Ulm by the admittedly estimable August Schell Brewing. The special edition of Grain Belt called Nordeast has been a big seller (for a small-scale beer). But again, it’s Nordeast only in name. Grain Belt hasn’t been produced in Northeast since the ’70s.
But never diss Schell, which celebrates 150 years in business this fall, and which still makes its own longtime Schell’s and Deer brands of beers. It’s a great Minnesota company.
Focusing on how “local” a product is can be a tricky business. As far as I know, small breweries like Surly, Fulton, Flat Earth, and Lift Bridge don’t grow their own barley or hops. And if Civia and All-City operate like most U.S. bike makers, big and small, their frames are produced overseas (Taiwan, I’m betting), though designed here in Minnesota.
So how local is local? This post is far too long for a summer’s day as it is to go into that topic. I’ll leave you with my pet theory: You can measure the health of a community, both socially and economically (and those aren’t separate, or shouldn’t be), by how many bicyclists and craft beer drinkers reside therein.
And how many people are selling the fruits of their own labors, as they do via I Like You in Northeast, a consignment shop for locally crafted cards, gifts, and other items (straw hat tip to Alyssa Ford and The Line). If we come out of the Great Recession stronger than when we came in, it’ll because of a flourishing Etsynomics.
So savor what remains of those lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer. Jump on the bike, quaff a local beer, score some Black Krims at the farmers’ market. La vida local of the State Fair—and Best of Business—will be here before we know it. As always.