Third Street Brewhouse is brewing Minnesota Gold Lager, a sessionable, 88 calorie,1.4 grams low-carb beer in Cold Spring Minnesota. We spoke with Lindsay Wallace about bringing this low-carb, full-flavored lager from Minnesota to market.
Third Street Brewhouse Podcast Transcript
Stephanie Hansen 0:12
Hi, this is Stephanie Hansen and you’re listening to the makers of Minnesota podcast and we talked to cool people doing cool things. And beer is always a cool thing, right? Everybody loves to talk about beer and everybody gets excited about beer. And earlier this week, I got a shipment of a Minnesota gold micro brew by third house brew house or Third Street brewhouse. Excuse me. And I right away, noticed it. And my guest today is Lee Wallace. And he’s going to talk with us about the marketing of this, Ken, but I noticed it right away because it was a slim cam. And the chief was a different size. And I was like, huh, this is interesting. And then I opened it. And right away, I noticed because I’m a girl. And that sexist, I’m sure but I was like, Oh, 4.2% alcohol. I like that. And I noticed 1.4 grams of carbs. And I really liked that. And then I noticed it was 88 calories. And I was like, okay, are these people marketing this beer to me or what?
Lindsay Wallace 1:19
Well, that’s why you got some beer. So, yeah, it’s a unique beer, because it is the lowest carb lowest calorie beer in the commercial market today. So even the big national brands don’t have a beer that’s that low and carbs or calories as a beer,
Stephanie Hansen 1:39
which isn’t easy to do.
Lindsay Wallace 1:42
But yeah, it is lower than Ultra. I know Budweiser has came out with a product that is like zero. But I taste Yeah, this one is a beer that I say you know, it’s not a full bodied beer. So if you’re looking for that full bodied beer, that’s not going to be it. But this is your, your low carb, low calorie, and I say it has beer flavor. So it tastes like a beer. And sometimes God Darn it, you just want a beer, don’t you? It’s and so
Stephanie Hansen 2:18
and I just opened it. And I tasted it. And the first reaction was it had a really nice smell. And that could be just because I’m opening a can versus you know if you have it on draft, but so good smell, and then I tasted it. And it’s way barrier than most of the low carb, low calorie beers, which I say that as a good thing. Because some of them it’s like, okay, I might just as well be drinking water. I did kind of want to have a beer. I also do think and this isn’t very Minnesotan of us, but commonly mon with lime would be real good and then micro.
Lindsay Wallace 2:58
Correct. And then the pickle lovers can put a pickle in it too, because I didn’t even think about that pickle. Yes, yeah, people have put pickle in it as well, lemon lime. You can mix in whatever you like. But you know, it’s really unique and our brewers up and Coldspring do a great job. And they really wanted it to be true to appear. So we didn’t deviate from that. And I’m just really proud of the job that that they’ve done and it’s a joy for me just to be able to sell a product like that and and you know, with any of our products from Third Street brewhouse up and Coldspring, I can stand behind them, it’s really, it’s really a fun thing to be able to say I love my job, and I love standing behind our products too. So
Stephanie Hansen 3:46
there’s been a real Renaissance too, I think in the beer industry, obviously, COVID aside, you know, trying to get more women into the tap rooms trying to get more women to buy beer on the shelves. And there’s been this resurgence of beer makers making malt liquor e type seltzers and going for lower calorie there and really amping up the flavor profile. And that’s all well and good. And some of them are quite tasty, and some of them are terrible, like anything. But you know, there is times where you just want a beer. And you don’t want a super heavy stomach balm. But this could be great. Like I see this as a total lawn more beer, porch sipping beer or pontoon beer.
Lindsay Wallace 4:32
It’s awesome. It is and and it’s actually it’s my go to at home. You know, like with all our beers, like I drink them all. But this it is it’s your lawn, more beer. It’s your go to beer. We released this in the middle of the pandemic, which actually towards the beginning I think it was like April or May of 2021 or you released it and it just, it’s hard to get traction on a beard where you can’t sample it out. You can’t do much you can do some marketing around on it. So it’s it’s a little bit of a struggle with getting it known out there to people that this is a really it’s a good beer. And I think you know, it’s a different direction in the in a craft beer market where you’re you’re going for a you know, I don’t want to say healthy. It’s a it’s a better option than, you know a triple New England milkshake IPA.
Stephanie Hansen 5:25
Right, right. What are some of these these two even though they’re fruity, or they’re real heavy at times?
Lindsay Wallace 5:33
Yes, yep, yep. And I know, when, during COVID, I was up at our cabin, up north of Grand Rapids, and I texted my boss and I’m like, I just drink one of these and was hot that Fourth of July and 2020 was really hot and I’m drinking. It was like, I just drink this beer in 15 minutes. I texted my bosses that this could be a dangerous thing. Yeah,
Stephanie Hansen 5:55
danger zone. Yeah. But it’s more about Third Street brewhouse. Because I’m not as familiar with you guys.
Lindsay Wallace 6:01
Sure. Because, you know, we’re we’re southwest of St. Cloud and Cold Spring, you know, and Cold Springs is smaller town. It’s a little over 4000 people. And we’re part of that kind of general St. Cloud area. So it’s an interesting story. And I know I dropped you off a little bit of the history. We started brewing beer on that site in 1874. So we weren’t third super house then we weren’t 33 brew house until 2012. But kind of the history before 2012. There was a few different brewers. And in the late 19th century, a guy by the name of Eugene Hermanus, came out of Germany went to school in Chicago to become a brewer and kind of found himself in Cold Spring and obviously very German heritage community and US established Cold Spring Brewing Company as a big regional brand. And you know, people that are older than 50. Remember the old Cold Spring beer? Sure. And then we we did a lot of contract brewing on the 70s. We made the belly beer. Yeah, we made a you know, just a bunch of different beers. And then the 90s, they branded as glich, they bought the glich brand, out of the Apalis. They branded as glich. And towards the late 90s, the Brewers really, really struggling the original family sold it, I want to say back in like, might have even been in the 50s. There’s another owner, and it kind of changed hands, unlike shells, which has been family owned forever. We have not. And so we’ve gone through series owners in the 90s, a guy by the name of John Nord, bought it out of California. And he foresaw and knew the guys that were studying Monster Energy. And so he saw energy drinks and this candy lines that we had up in Cold Spring. And so he got contracts to make energy drinks. And that really got us back on our feet. And they were still brewing beer. And he decided that in 2012, he was going to commit to craft beer, the craft beer thing was just starting in the early 2000s. And so he built this beautiful brew house and 2012. And we can make really good beer I think the reputation before was It’s beer and it’s just kind of old school beer. Now we can make really good beer. Our big flagship, of course is Minnesota go lager. And we’ve gone through several beers and change we started out in bottles and we don’t even have a bottling line anymore at Cold Spring. Beer is a very small part of what we do at Cold Spring. We are the largest independent contract co Packer in North America. So we own Texas quality beverage in Fort Worth and Carolina beverage in Mooresville, North Carolina. So collectively, we’re known as Carolina beverage group headquartered out of Mooresville, North Carolina, but we’re owned by a private equity firm out of Connecticut. So we’re very open about that. We don’t try to hide that but 30 bras is a Minnesota company Minnesota made beer cold spring water has been famous for Yeah, over a century. And so we have this, you know, we saved from the glacier to the glass. It’s just a wonderful product and and it’s a great brewery to work for. And I’ve been fortunate to work for them since 2017. And and you know, you’re here we are from we do we have a tap room right there in the brew house. It’s unique because I don’t think people first saw in 2012 What was going to happen with the tap remix. So our tap room, unfortunately is a little smaller than I would like. But it’s really a nice place to come and we’re only open Fridays and Saturdays. Our Taproom also serves as our entryway to the to the business. Oh, our front desk is there a man The Director of first impressions is right there when he come in. Yeah, and so during normal business hours, if you’re there and the taproom is not open, you’re welcome to come in and stop it. Not a problem.
But, you know, we’re open four o’clock on Friday afternoon. And I think we’re open at one on Saturdays. And, you know, the other thing was we shut down early, we want to send people out to our local places to, we’ve got all our local establishments and Coldspring support us. And there’s some great food out there. And, and, you know, the sidebar is the kind of the brewery bar, it’s a block away from the brewery and walking distance and, and so, you know, but all those businesses support us and it’s, it’s a great little town, lots of history in that town. There’s a great museum, just a half a block from the brewery that you can, you know, checkout, you know, the history of Coldspring. And they got all kinds of history of the brewery and, and even in the brewery, we’ve got a, you know, Eugene Hermanus is personal Stein’s, that he brought over from Germany, they’re just they’re absolutely beautiful historical pictures, we’ve got pictures of prohibition, when they were dumping out, we came out. In 2017, we came out with a beer called Bruce tears. And it was the original recipe from 1900, that they were brewing. And we think they were still brewing it at the time. And, and with the changes in hops, not hops are pelletized, back in those days are using the full cone hops. So they had to adjust the recipe because it was waiting, like we made this great IPA, but that’s not what they were drinking and right on 19 and 1932. So are not 32 and 9019. So anyway, it was really cool. And we had the picture of them dumping out the beer on the front of the can. And it was really a really cool thing USA Today picked up on it. And it was it was really good beer. But it was just a one off type beer. So you know, we can do some unique things. But we’re, we’re too big to come out with a fancy new brew every week or every month or so. So you know, it’s an it’s an interesting business. But the history of beer and Coldspring is runs deep, and it’s kind of fun. We’re considered a heritage brewery. So where
Stephanie Hansen 12:20
do you see it? That’s a good question. Because so you’re not on the Anheuser Busch scale. But you’re, you know, somewhere in heritage wise, like shells would be similar in the heritage. So as you’re bringing this beer to market, like what is your place? And when you go to a liquor store and try to get them to carry it? How do you sell it?
Lindsay Wallace 12:46
Correct? Yeah, you go in. And right now getting placements of liquor stores is crazy, because liquor stores are, are inundated with all these people that have come out with a new seltzer. You know, the other thing is the ready to drinks, we call them our TDs in the industry, and then your seltzers are fermented malt beverages or FMDs. So those that category is growing. And if you go to liquor stores, you’ll see that the the seltzer doors that it may be in a small liquor store, there’s one door and now it’s three. Yep. So it’s difficult. But what we try to do when I go in, is if I can get a placement, then I will follow it up with a sampling. And we’ll have me or any, we have brand ambassadors that can do our sampling and do beer shows and stuff for us. And we’ll set up a sampling, just to get it out there. And now coming out of the pandemic, we can do more of that. It was really difficult with Microsoft when it came out. But we’re going to we’re going to be sampling pretty heavily this spring and summer. And I have to mention the new beer that’s coming out that I don’t know if you saw the sheet that I dropped off for you, but the Minnesota gold micro raspberry. So micro Raz is coming in May. It is the same beer with raspberry flavor. 100% raspberry, yeah, so it changed the carbs to two carbs. It still stayed at 88 calories. So that will be available in May and that is going to just be a very crushable beer. And it was I love it. I’m like now if you’re looking for that beer flavor, you’re not going to notice as much in this raspberry. It is amazing. It’s still 4.2 ABV so it’s you know, it’s just like a regular domestically. So it again the brewers are amazing. Our quality team is amazing because we make all these other products. So like you know the energy drink All this, we have to meet certain standards for those companies, right? So when those big, you know, their national and multinational companies come in, our quality has to be there. And we have a quality team and Johan, that is the head of our quality is amazing. I call him Dr. Johan, even though he’s not technically a doctor, but he’s that smart doctor of fear, a doctor of Doctor of beer. And actually, interestingly, he came up through our company he worked was a brewer was a lead Brewer, and now is Director quality for all of Coldspring. And he goes other plants as well and helps them. So, you know, the one thing that we don’t do if a beer isn’t good, we’re not going to package it.
Stephanie Hansen 15:45
What’s the marketing like for this product? Is the target women are the target men?
Lindsay Wallace 15:51
Well, I know some guys like well, I don’t drink beer on the skinny can. Yeah, okay, I do. I the marketing, we really are hitting just the calories and carbs. It’s anybody well put it this way. I’ve had people who are diabetic, and I’m not, I’m not saying that this is a great beer for diabetics. Check with your doctor. I’m not a doctor. Sure, but it is low carb. And I’ve had friends of mine that are diabetic. Men and women. Both have thanked me for this beer. So I think as a healthier option, drinking a beer that’s 80 calories versus a beer. That’s 120 calories.
Stephanie Hansen 16:34
So do you guys go out? And like are you sponsoring events? are you marketing at festivals? Are you really hitting the socials? And what’s the strategy?
Lindsay Wallace 16:44
Right, right? Well, our social media has been really oriented towards micro. And trying to get that out there. We’ve done some advertising with it. We haven’t done enough. And, and I like my big push for the summer. And of course, you know, I’m kind of, I’m just a sales guy. Sure, sure. Got a deal. I’ve got to deal with, you know, the bosses and and get them to agree. And I think we’re doing some promotions, we’re doing some promotions on premise with micro. So you know, we’re gonna be out there doing that sort of thing. You know, obviously, I’m not so sure we’re not going to be doing some billboards and things like that as well. So you just you’ve got to get it out there. And I think the most important thing is get it in people’s hands.
Stephanie Hansen 17:34
Yeah. Well, I’m looking forward to it in the Twin Cities, where can people find it?
Lindsay Wallace 17:38
You can find it most major liquor stores, some of the smaller ones won’t have it, but most of the major liquor stores will have it. Everybody you know, you know, you know the big ones like totals have it? Some of the top 10s Have it. So if you you know, you look at those bigger liquor stores. They will you know, the bigger markets will will have it.
Stephanie Hansen 18:01
All right. Well, I loved it. Thank you for bringing it to our attention. It’s a Minnesota gold. It’s a microbrew. It is from Third Street brew house again. 1.4 carbs at eight calories, 4.2% alcohol and a raspberry version in the future, which sounds delicious.
Lindsay Wallace 18:18
Yes, I will get you some soon as I have. I really appreciate you. Talk to you today. Thank you, Stephanie. All right.
Stephanie Hansen 18:23
See you soon. All right. Cheers.
Transcribed by https://otter.ai