With 60,000 residents in Blaine and another 4 million who come to visit the National Sports Center (NSC) every year, Previn Solberg sees room in his community for a local craft brewery. “Blaine is our home and we want to provide a unique gathering place for residents and visitors alike that centers around our two passions: our community and craft beer,” he explains, jumping straight to the point. That’s the inspiration behind Invictus Brewing, slated to open toward the end of 2016 across the street from the National Sports Center.
The brewery will take its setting into account, playing to sports fans and the general community, while pouring low alcohol “session” beers and serving hot food onsite. “We have 11 local families who have invested in the brewery,” Solberg says, himself among them. He’s been home brewing his own beer for 3 years and another investor, he notes, has 20 years of experience. While there’s hobby beer making among ownership, though, they’re seeking an experienced commercial brewer to lead the brand, with an open call out among industry panels. The idea is to let the hired lead the creative direction of the beer. With that said, Solberg notes that the brewery will focus on American ales and they’re likely to put a version of a few homebrew recipes into production as well, such as a Bavarian wheat beer, a scotch ale, and an IPA currently in development.
On the taproom side of things, Invictus will have room for 220 customers with additional space in a private meeting room and the outside patio, which will also integrate green space and outdoor activities like bags. A unique element of the brewery is they hope to serve hot food as well, and they’re currently in discussion to bring Columbia Heights’ Tasty Pizza back to Blaine with a limited menu, fast-casual style setup in the brewery. “They used to have a presence in Blaine until they sold their building to another pizza restaurant,” Solberg remembers, and locals have been hungry to get Tasty back into the community. The partnership was initiated, in part, because Blaine city ordinance requires food sales to serve alcohol.
As breweries continue to become community hotbeds, Blaine is ready for their own, and Solberg sees the draw of traffic from nearby NSC as a tool to help increase their brand awareness while giving visitors another stop in town as they come to play at or watch various sporting tournaments.
Invictus aims to open in November.