As a newly minted resident of the Land of 10,000 Lakes, I’ve been keen to explore my new home – particularly those things that make Minnesota unique. Schell’s recent release of the new Grain Belt Nordeast beer came to my attention as a celebration of both neighborhood pride and locally made products.
Grain Belt has a rich history in the neighborhood of Northeast Minneapolis. The historic Minneapolis Brewing Company building located on the Mississippi river and the iconic Grain Belt sign on Nicollet Island both stand as testaments to an industry that was a key part of that neighborhood for many years. Schell’s brewery in New Ulm, the current home of Grain Belt, is one of 18 breweries belonging to the Minnesota Craft Brewer’s Guild. Beer is a 25 billion dollar industry in Minnesota – the local roots of which have been enjoying growth in recent years.
Minnesota 2020’s yearly “Made in Minnesota Report” emphasizes the importance of buying locally produced goods – it’s good for the state and local economies. Beer in fact, is one of the industries that promises to benefit the most from a buy-local strategy.
Wednesday’s release of Grain Belt Nordeast was limited to the Northeast neighborhood (it became available everywhere else yesterday ). With festive signs and a little careful publicity, the release created a neighborhood celebration and effectively reminded us that this is a locally made product.
What an excellent way to draw attention to the fact that a beer is not just a beer. Some of them are made locally – perhaps even in your town. Take a closer look at some of the labels next time you’re shopping for that neighborhood celebration. Is it Minnesota made? Not only are you supporting your local economies and doing good things for Minnesota, you’re often getting a better quality product.
And the Grain Belt Nordeast – it’s good, but don’t take my word for it. Buy local: its not just a fad – it’s good policy.
Rachel Weeks joins Minnesota 2020’s staff this week as our new Communications Associate.