Person holding up a beer with the interior of Shakopee Brewhall in the background.
Minnesota-based Shakopee Brewhall serves up craft beers and coffee drinks, as well as participates in partnerships and initiatives designed to uplift its community. — Shakopee Brewhall

Shakopee Brewhall has been named the Midwest regional finalist for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce's America’s Top Small Business Awards.

In the heart of historic downtown Shakopee, Minnesota, lies a brewery and coffee house that has been serving up experimental beer styles, handcrafted coffees, and an immersive, family-friendly experience to the local community for over five years. That hybrid spot is none other than Shakopee Brewhall.

As Scott County’s first coffee house and taproom, Shakopee Brewhall has aimed to meticulously craft its brews to ensure the freshest seasonally rotating beers for customers. This establishment offers a warm, vintage-inspired community hub featuring custom stained-glass pieces and historical decor, like original brick and timbers from an 1800s Shakopee brewery. Ultimately, it’s become a place for locals and travelers alike to partake in good conversation and community-focused celebration.

3 things that made Shakopee Brewhall a finalist for America's Top Small Business:

It’s a community-oriented and highly-acclaimed business that puts an emphasis on fun

Over the years, Shakopee Brewhall has received many awards, including multiple in 2023, celebrating both the shop’s diverse beverage offerings and its management at the helm.

At its inception in 2018, the brewhall operated modestly with a nine-member team, opening its doors for just 41 hours across five days each week. During that time, the team focused on brewing and, as demand grew, distributing its unique beers. Today, the establishment boasts 27 employees, with over half of the original staff still remaining on the team. Its doors are now open 86 hours weekly and it has expanded its offerings to include morning coffee and espresso.

Known among its staff as a fun place to work, Shakopee Brewhall continues to grow each year while offering a flexible workplace culture that allows employees to swap shifts at their convenience and choose their availability.

Over the years, Shakopee Brewhall has received many awards, including multiple in 2023, celebrating both the shop’s diverse beverage offerings and its management at the helm.

It offers a unique experience by listening and adapting to the needs of its customers

With a focus on inclusion and equity, Shakopee Brewhall strives to create a welcoming taproom atmosphere where all are welcome to gather for a drink, a work outing, or a fundraising event. However, the team had to overcome some setbacks to achieve this.

Shakopee Brewhall introduced its craft beer to a predominantly light beer-drinking community through customer education initiatives, including in-person events and a video series with the brewery’s head brewer, called “Beers with Ben,” which provided the business with real-time customer feedback and offered additional marketing opportunities.

The COVID-19 pandemic posed another challenge by disrupting supply chains. Co-founders Ryan Lindquist and Damon Schuler and their team maintained their trajectory by proactively addressing inflation and supply shortages by diversifying their suppliers, anticipating supply needs, and establishing connections with other local businesses. In doing so, they remained on course and were able to provide both “to-go” beverages for customers while distributing products to liquor stores.

In this time of growth, a gap in local offerings led Shakopee Brewhall to take a significant branding pivot with the introduction of coffee, tea, and espresso drinks, repositioning the establishment as Shakopee Brewhall - Taproom & Coffee House. This opened doors by allowing them to cater to a broader audience, including those under 21 and non-beer drinkers, leading to a sales uptick of 12.77%.

It contributes to the growth of the local community through partnerships and initiatives

The team behind Shakopee Brewhall has worked hard to do more than just deepen their own business’s roots; they’ve strived to make connections with locals in the area, as well as those across the Minneapolis and St. Paul communities, and provide opportunities that contribute to the growth of downtown Shakopee and its small businesses.

As the brewhall became more intertwined with the local community, neighboring businesses sprouted and flourished, making the downtown area a bustling hub of activity. Instrumental in this transformation has been the brewhall's commitment to collaboration and cross-promotion, from partnering with a local bakery to cross-promote products weekly to establishing the River Brewery Passport, with the help of the Shakopee Chamber of Commerce, to encourage customers to patronize nine area breweries.

On top of its business-focused partnerships, Shakopee Brewhall has shown an unwavering commitment to community engagement through initiatives like bingo nights and "Share More Than A Beer Day,” which create awareness and financial support for partnering organizations — ranging from regional organizations to local nonprofits and clubs — through fundraising strategies. As a result, Shakopee Brewhall and its patrons have donated over $50,000 to numerous organizations.

Through these strategic partnerships and community-driven events, Shakopee Brewhall has evolved into more than just a business; it's become a catalyst that has reinvigorated downtown Shakopee's economic and social fabric.

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