Summit Brewery Lays Off About 10 Percent of Staff

Summit Brewery Lays Off About 10 Percent of Staff Photo: Courtesy Summit Brewing Co.

December 29, 2017 09:29 PM

Summit Brewing Co. has laid off about 10 percent of its workforce, citing slowed production caused by an increasingly-competitive market.

The layoffs, which took effect Wednesday, were a first for the St. Paul brewery in its 31 years. 


About 10 percent of the company's nearly 100-person staff were let go, though company officials didn't provide an exact number. 

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"It's a significant number of people," owner Mark Stutrud said. "And it hurts any time you lose good people."

Prior to Wednesday, the company was staffed to accommodate about 180,000 barrels of beer per year, a spokesman said. That number will be closer to 115,000 in 2017, down from 127,500 barrels the previous year.

The brewery's total capacity is 240,000 barrels. 

"It is time for Summit to get lean to prepare for the future," Stutrud said. "We have been staffed to produce a much greater amount of beer than what we're currently selling. The toughest part of this experience is to see great, talented people leave."

The layoffs occurred in every department, including sales, marketing, production, quality assurance and more, spokesman Brendan Kennealy said.

The brewery, located on the Mississippi River bluffs south of downtown St. Paul, was one of the first microbreweries in the state when it opened in 1986. 

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It experienced growth in each of its first 29 years, Kennealy said, but now needs to adjust to the current market. That market includes 123 craft breweries that are currently members of the Minnesota Craft Brewers Guild. In 2016, those breweries produced 609,415 barrels, ranking 13th nationwide. 

According to the Brewers Association, there were just 35 such breweries operating in the state in 2011. 

Summit ceased distribution in six states this past summer, deciding to focus its distribution efforts on Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa, North Dakota and South Dakota. 

Ninety percent of all Summit beer is sold in Minnesota, Kennealy said, with 72 percent of that in the Twin Cities.


Michael Oakes

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