It sounds like the start of a bad joke: How many landslides does it take to start a brewery? The historic Jordan Brewery was built in 1866 and has survived a multitude of tribulations: prohibition, a fire, abandonment and plans to tear it down. Built at the base of a river bluff where caves could be carved into the hillside to lager beer, its location would ultimately be its downfall.
Tim Roets was knocked out at first sight and immediately began planning to bring brewing back to Jordan, MN. A year later and one day before he placed his brewery equipment order, soaking rains loosed a massive chunk of the hill; sending a deluge of mud, trees and rock tumbling and crashing through the back wall of the building. No one was hurt, but the dream of opening a brewery appeared dead.
But the community of Jordan was determined to bring brewing back to the city to capitalize on the craft brewing trend that has been revitalizing dilapidated buildings and tourism in towns just like it all across the country. With the city’s help, Tim was able to move his plans into a vacated library building literally across the street. The library itself was converted from a 1940's bank and the vault is still there in the basement – perhaps a place to lager after all?
Tim, with his two sons Dylan and P.J., remodeled their plans and were finally able to open Roets Jordan Brewery late last year. Tim explains, “For over 150 years, several different families bought the breweries in Jordan, hung their family name on the shingle and started brewing. We did the same thing.”
They had previous professional experience as mead and cidermakers, and Tim had been a successful and awarded homebrewer, but this is their first commercial brewery undertaking. Joining their adventure is a brewing school intern and assistant brewer Jeff Malek who is a maltster by trade at nearby Rahr Malting.
The change in location also meant reconfiguring the brewing system he had spent months designing. In a bold move, he changed the design completely and opted to go for an all-electric brewhouse. Tim says, “We opened with a 3.5BBL Brewhouse, 8 x 3.5BBL Fermentors and 3 x 3.5BBL Brites. We have space to more than double that capacity, and sourcing more equipment and further expansion of the Brewhouse is in process now.”
Support from locals was strong right out of the gate with the taproom packed most of the time. For now, they are focusing on taproom sales, but plan to eventually do some self-distribution locally in the near future. When asked about his brewing philosophy Tim simply says, “Make good beer. With the smaller brewhouse, we'll have the opportunity to try many different styles, but we tend to lean towards more balanced and sessionable beers.”
The biggest difference between homebrewing and professional brewing? “It becomes your job, so you blow a good hobby. Now I play guitar for sanity...get a hobby.” Tim advises.
Their slogan is simple and direct: "Drink Roets Beer” If you’re ever in the area, we would recommend doing just that.