A mixture of events, people or things that interact to form a more potent whole
The Brew Story
This love (and business story) began like many great ideas. . . at a bar. Alex and Britt both worked at Labby’s Bar and Grill in Fargo, ND during college. Britt served and bartended and Alex cooked and bartended. The restaurant crew worked together and partied together creating lifelong friendships.
After finishing college, they moved to St. Paul where Alex attended culinary school. Britt had the opportunity to work at some great restaurants including Sweeny’s and Happy Gnome. They dreamed of creating a family friendly, funky restaurant with amazing food and drinks. The couple quickly realized that the expensive living of the cities and unemployment rate still taking a toll (Alex could only find a pizza delivery driving job) was getting increasingly difficult for their pocket book. That Easter, Alex was discussing with his mom the difficulties in Minneapolis. He remarked, “maybe I should go back to school for hotel and restaurant management?” Alex’s mom quickly said, “Absolutely not! You just need to get started. I found a listing in the Perham area for a bar to lease. You’d be much better off trying it and seeing if you like it before wasting your money on more school.” Two weeks later, Britt and Alex were headed to Perham.
That summer (May of 2011) Brew Pub and Wine Bar was born as a tiny bar attached to the Station serving craft cocktail and beer. Alex and Britt were the sole employees and were there all hours. After a year, they knew they needed to be able to serve their own food. They closed shop, bought a location across the street and rebuilt what is now Brew Ales & Eats. In 2013, this location opened and Alex and Britt’s dream to serve fresh, made from scratch food, unique handcrafted cocktails, and the best brews around, all while providing the best customer service possible became a reality. They have a stellar team that has embraced this culture and continue to grow in the Perham market. The leadership and loyalty of the staff, allowed for the opportunity to expand to other locations.
In 2014 a second location in Detroit Lakes opened. The Brew brand was popular in this market as well. This location was sold to the managing partner in 2017 because of differences in philosophies and to allow for standardization of ownership and processes.
Knowing that the kitchen would need eventual expansion in Perham and the desire to be partners in the future, Shelby (Alex’s sister) and Chad Terstriep bought the building next door. Expansion of the kitchen occurred in 2017 and the four of them took over ownership of the building.
In 2015, the mayor of Wahpeton approached Alex and Britt to bring Brew to their city. They fell in love with the Old City Hall, but the project seemed pretty overwhelming. When Shelby saw the building she knew they had to form the partnership now and work together to bring this building back to life. The roof was leaking and upstairs was an “ice rink” with frozen water covering it, but it had great bones. The Old City Hall is around 11,000 square feet and was built in 1910 for $32,000. The City Hall moved to a new location in 1998 and the building sat empty since that time. Community members remember it being the home to the Boy Scouts, aerobics and a haunted house. The City of Wahpeton offered a GIANT grant for the project to make repairs on the building and to make it handicapped accessible. Without this grant, this project would not be possible. Reinventing the Old City Hall to a Brew and a premiere event space has been a massive project. Britt and Shelby have shared 1000s of texts and phone calls designing the space together and both feel it has become their dream venue! The goal for “City Brew Hall” is to become a destination gastropub and event center bringing even more tourism to the area. With it’s beautiful brick walls, floor to ceiling windows and amazing lighting, this space rivals any top level event center.
We have other exciting opportunities in the works and we can’t wait to share them with you as they unfold!