WEDC investment will fund renovation of historic building as the new home of Thirsty Pagan Brewing

MADISON, WI. JAN. 24, 2019 – The City of Superior is receiving a $148,400 state grant to redevelop the former Soo Line freight depot into a microbrewery and restaurant.

The Community Development Investment Grant (CDI) from the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) will support the relocation of Thirsty Pagan Brewery to the 7,500-square-foot depot. The project will include renovations of the existing building to accommodate a 120-seat taproom as well as construction of a new kitchen, electrical and HVAC system.

“WEDC is committed to working with communities throughout Wisconsin to invest in revitalizing their downtowns and enhancing their business districts,” said Tricia Braun, chief operating officer of WEDC, the state’s lead economic development organization. “This project preserves a piece of Superior’s history by redeveloping a building that is over a century old, as well as providing residents and visitors a new and contemporary gathering place to enjoy a meal and a drink.”

“The funding we receive from the CDI Grant from WEDC will have an immediate impact on our success,” said Deb Emery and Steve Knauss, owners of Thirsty Pagan Brewery. “The funding allows us to move forward with our project with confidence. We are excited to partner with the City of Superior and WEDC to renovate the historic Soo Line Depot and make our community, employees, and city proud of the new destination that Thirsty Pagan Brewing will be.”

The Superior City Council also approved a $50,000 development grant for Thirsty Pagan Brewery in late 2018 to help fund site improvements.

“Thirsty Pagan Brewing holds a special place in our City as the Twin Ports’ very first craft brewery, and their business model of good food, good beer, and good citizenship has made them a landmark in Superior,” said Mayor Jim Paine. “It is only fitting that they should continue their story by saving another landmark, the historic Soo Line Depot. Each year, new businesses are proving that some of Superior’s greatest opportunities are hiding in the places that other had rejected or forgotten. I want to thank both Deb Emery and Steve Knauss for their vision and investment, and I want to thank WEDC for recognizing once again that a brewery is one of the best places to grow our community and our economy. A historic brewery in a historic building is simply the best place to tell the stories of our city and to toast the future.”

Founded in 2006, Thirsty Pagan is known for its handcrafted beer and gourmet pizzas. The new location will allow the brewery to have more private seating options for meetings, events and parties.

The Soo Line freight depot was built in 1908 and operated passenger service until 1965. The Soo Line continued to utilize the building for offices until 1989. Since then, various businesses have used the depot including a garden center, a computer business, a candy store and an art gallery. In 1993, the depot was used as a setting for scenes in Disney’s film “Iron Will”, which was filmed in and around the Twin Ports.

WEDC’s CDI Grant Program supports community development and redevelopment efforts, primarily in downtown areas. The matching grants are awarded based on the ability of applicants to demonstrate the economic impact of the proposed project, including public and private partnership development, financial need, and use of sustainable downtown development practices.

Since the program’s inception in 2013, WEDC has awarded more than $20 million in CDI Grants to 79 communities for projects expected to generate more than $280 million in capital investments statewide.