Who are you and your current job?
Tod Fyten. I’m the current brewer and owner of the Stagecoach Brewing Company, located in historic Mantorville, Minnesota.
What was the inspiration behind your brewery?
It starts with family. Brewing is a part of my history. Our family's roots in beer date back to 1869 when my great, great, great grandfather immigrated to St. Paul, Minnesota from his native Netherlands, setting up shop in the upper levee neighborhood of the city, where he served the Fort Road Brewing Community. For several generations, my family has in some way, both formally or informally, been involved with brewing. I started brewing with my father when I was 10 years old at home.
For me, personally, craft brewing allows me to explore both creative craftsmanship, as well as the business discipline of brewing and running a brewery. There are no dull moments running a craft brewery...
As for Stagecoach Brewing Company, I was originally brought into the business as a consulting brewmaster. After a few years of working in that capacity, I purchased the company. The brewery is historic, dating back to 1857, and is located in this small historic town nestled on a beautiful creek, called Brewery Creek. Our brewery as a whole – our beers, our location and our culture – pays respect to the historic traditions of brewers.
Can you give us a tour of your beer scene?
Having been involved in the industry for nearly 33 years and owning the original brewery in southeastern Minnesota, Stagecoach Brewing Company, I have seen the scene here slowly, yet steadily grow over the past 20 years. In the past five years, the craft brewing scene here in southeastern Minnesota has begun to blossom.
Specifically, within the Rochester area, the industry has grown dramatically, which has been beneficial for us. We are currently working on plans to double our capacity, along with making several upgrades to improve brewing efficiencies. The growing craft beer interest and enthusiasm has made that expansion possible.
What advice would you give to someone who wants to start a brewery?
My main advice to startup breweries may be sobering, but can be overlooked too often – result in too much debt versus sales. This can hurt brewers because they focus less on quality control and honing their craft. Also, don't quit your day job, at least not for a while.