Little Thistle sets opening date for new brewery
Eighteen months after drafting their initial business plan, Steve and Dawn Finnie are getting ready to begin serving beer at Little Thistle.
The brewery and taproom, located in a converted warehouse space in northwest Rochester, is scheduled to open to the public on August 24.
With two acres of land, Little Thistle aims to be a year-round destination. The taproom will feature a 26-foot copper bar — lined with barn wood from Dawn's family farm in Iowa — along with plenty of additional room for table seating. There will also be a private event space, an outdoor patio and a family-friendly activity area with a shuffleboard table and arcade games.
“We really envision a gathering place," said Dawn, "where we can have indoor activities, outdoor activities, music, art — all those cool things that go along with drinking beer.”
Already, in preparation for the opening, Steve has begun brewing what promises to be a staple at Little Thistle: a Scottish ale made with ingredients from the same region in Scotland where he spent the early part of his life.
The goal, Steve said, is to make a range of beers that are flavorful, yet approachable — from a hoppy pale ale to an easy-drinking lager.
"The beer is the vehicle to bring people together," he said. "The thing that makes me happiest is when I sit back and see other people talking or meeting new friends for the first time, and the beer is what brought them here."
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Little Thistle will be the fourth microbrewery to open in just the past three years. However, the Finnies told us they don't see other local breweries — such as LTS or Forager — as competitors.
"We are not in competition with any of the breweries in town," Steve told us during a recent tour of the space. "If someone goes to any of the breweries in town, ours or someone else’s and they like craft beer, they are more likely to go to another brewery — and it will help all of us.”
Instead, they believe the local beer renaissance could cultivate the kind of craft beer culture flourishing in cities across the country.
"When we started this beer journey, one of our goals was to build up a craft beer community like they have in the [Twin Cities]," said Dawn. "There is a strong culture around craft beer. It brings people together. People form connections over it. There’s a big focus on community.”
You can learn more about Little Thistle on their website.