The Potluck

Surly to close Minneapolis beer hall following unionization announcement

By: - September 2, 2020 1:25 pm

Photo courtesy of Surly Brewing Company.

Surly Brewing Co. announced Wednesday it will close its popular Minneapolis beer hall and pizzeria on Nov. 2, citing revenue losses of 82% from last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

“If the Beer Hall remained open, Surly would lose at least another three quarters of a million dollars this winter,” the company wrote in a statement. “A drastic change was needed to stabilize the company and ensure the continued operations of our core business, brewing.”

The announcement comes just two days after its brew hall employees announced their intent to unionize with Unite Here Local 17, which represents more than 6,000 hospitality workers across Minnesota. 

Unite Here Local 17 cried foul at the closure announcement, tweeting the company “took disgusting and illegal actions to permanently lay-off its entire hospitality staff starting Nov 2nd. This is CLEAR retaliation for them forming a Union.” 

Surly denied the closure is in response to the unionization effort, saying the plan to close the beer hall was put in place weeks ago. 

Its beer production staff were not included in the unionization effort, and the company said it will continue its brewing operations. 

Employees at Surly cited health and safety concerns around COVID-19 as well as a lack of health care as reasons for their decision to form a union. They follow employees at Tattersall Distillery and Spyhouse Coffee, which also announced their intent to form a union in recent weeks.

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Max Nesterak
Max Nesterak

Max Nesterak is the deputy editor of the Reformer and reports on labor and housing. Most recently he was an associate producer for Minnesota Public Radio after a stint at NPR. He also co-founded the Behavioral Scientist and was a Fulbright Scholar to Berlin, Germany.