Local business owners hope to bring brewpub/microbrewery, "St. James Brewery" to the old Scherr-Tumico building

Sean Ellertson
St. James Plaindealer

Owners of the old Scherr-Tumico building—Tina Herdegen and Bill Martin—are planning to take approximately 10,000 square feet in the back of the S-T Industries building, and transform it into a brewery/taproom.

The owners are currently working with the Regional Center for Entrepreneurial Facilitation in Mankato to get through state licensing for a brewpub/microbrewery, which could take months.

At the January 19 St. James City Council meeting, the council unanimously approved the second reading of an ordinance regulating brewer taprooms, small brewer off-sale, and brew-pub off-sale licensing. 

Last spring, Herdegen and Martin completed the purchase of the old S-T Industries building, and have done major renovations and updates to the 55,000 square foot building.

"There's enough room in here to do multiple things," said Martin.

Martin says it was Herdegen's idea to go forward with the idea of a brewpub/microbrewery.

Martin and Herdegan say that the brewery/taproom will also be used to hold events, such as weddings, graduation parties, birthday parties, and business events. The brewery will have an industrial-type theme in line with the history of the S-T building and St. James.

"We want to bring in the history of St. James with the trains and the depot," said Martin.

Also included will be memorabilia of St. James sports throughout the years.

"We want to keep it family-friendly so it's not just for drinkers to come in," said Martin.

To get a gauge on the business, Martin and Herdegen have traveled to various brewpubs, including The Sleepy Brewery Company, Lost Sanity, and Foremost Brewery in Owatonna.

Foremost is the first Co-op brewery, meaning whoever wants to be an owner has to become a member.

"So it kind of gets the whole community involved, so we're looking at that, or a founders program," said Martin. "Most of the breweries have something like a founders program where it's something from $150-$200 a year and they get a discount or a free drink on their birthday or something.

"We're not saying we're going with the cooperative but it's something that we're looking into. Where people can actually buy-in as a cooperative and get payback for themselves so it's like part-ownership... so we're looking at different concepts around."

Another possibility is to go the taproom route, which would allow other breweries to sell their products inside The St. James Brewery.

In addition to the 10,000 square foot area, there is an outdoor area that is around two acres large for a patio and outdoor seating.

The facility will also have a full-sized kitchen, and with all the outdoor areas, food trucks could also be an option.

"The space is so big that we could pull the food trucks right inside and just stay there," said Hergeden.

Martin says he and Hergeden are fully invested in making their dream a reality.

"We're open to ideas from people," said Martin. "What do they want to see? What would bring them back to make sure this is successful?"

Herdegen and Martin are still looking for other businesses to fill vacated areas of the S-T building. Already in place is the Sharpline Clearance Depot, which opens on Thursday.