WORTHINGTON - Forbidden Barrel Brewing aims to serve its first pint in Worthington early next year.
The microbrewery - owned and operated by rural Okabena's Brent Droll - will set up shop in the former Rickbeil’s building, located at the corner of Ninth Street and Third Avenue.
Initially, Forbidden Barrel will offer a rotation of four to six original beers made on site, and Droll hopes to eventually bring in beers from local microbreweries, along with Minnesota wine and craft whiskey.
“We’ll have a variety of porters, stout, IPAs, honey wheats and other high-end brews,” Droll said. “We’ll also have a small kitchen that serves small things like paninis and sandwiches, and we’ll be looking for local musicians to provide a relaxed environment.”
The Worthington Investment Network (WIN) purchased the building in May. WIN will renovate the 6,400-square-foot building - which has been unoccupied for nearly two decades - and lease it to Forbidden Barrel. The building will have room for an additional business as well.
The brewpub was going to be called Sexy Beast Brewing Co., but Droll discovered there is an Australian company that already owns the name.
The new name and logo are derived from an 1872 story about East Coast settlers who didn’t abide by Worthington’s temperance movement. During a Fourth of July celebration, Prof. Ransom Humiston, Worthington’s founder, learned there was a keg of beer in the Worthington House Hotel, so he seized it, dragged it outside and destroyed it with an axe.
Droll had planned on opening a microbrewery in Worthington by this summer, but struggled to find a space. He worked closely with the Worthington Regional Economic Development Corp. (WREDC), which then helped form WIN to get a site purchased.
“We faced issues every time we looked at a possible site in town, and finally WREDC connected us with WIN to talk about this building for our brewery,” Droll said. “With their help, they made it feasible.”
Droll intends to hire approximately six employees to help run the brewpub. As a self-trained brewmaster who has hosted his own Oktoberfest party at his Okabena home multiple times, Droll will handle the brewing.
A computer programmer by trade, Droll started brewing as a hobby in 2011 and worked hard to perfect his craft. He has already developed his own specialty brews, including a spicy jalapeno beer called “Paycheck” named after the fiery feathered King Turkey Day racer.
The microbrewery is the first of many projects WIN hopes to facilitate. The concept of WIN has been talked about for some time and was formally conceived in February. The primary goal of the organization - which has accrued more than 25 members and approximately $300,000 in assets - is to purchase buildings and lease them to new businesses, which generally cannot afford to purchase or build a facility on their own.
“Getting something like WIN going has been a long-standing goal of WREDC and community leaders, and I am glad to have worked with Mike Smith, Greg Raymo and Abraham Algadi to establish it,” said WIN President Alan Oberloh.