Finnegans?

Discussion in 'Midwest' started by Bravak, Jul 13, 2019.

  1. Bravak

    Bravak Initiate (141) Sep 9, 2014 Minnesota

    Does anyone know how Finnegans is doing since they moved to their own location? That looks like one hugely expensive spot and building.

    I’ve heard some rumblings about them, but no idea if what I’ve heard is true.

    They say they give all profits to charity, but are they actually making a profit? One of their former tap room employees told me the owner lives on a private lake in WI with a “ sweet custom home” when I asked how they are doing. That struck me as an odd comment.

    Anyone know any details?
     
  2. Grave252

    Grave252 Initiate (50) Mar 12, 2017 Minnesota
    Trader

    I can’t answer your question, but when they moved into that location I thought it was a mistake. Unless there is an event, downtown proper is pretty dead on weekends and evenings, especially over where they are where there really isn’t much else around. I wouldn’t advise anyone to open a food or dining operation downtown. I wish Finnegan’s the best, but it seems you are alluding to some struggles, and I don’t think that would be a shock to anyone if that’s the case.
     
  3. gatornation

    gatornation Poo-Bah (5,084) Apr 18, 2007 Minnesota
    Trader

    Would not agree with not much around. It is cornered by 740 Portland towers and HQ Apts at 814 Portland,not to mention 929 Portland Apts and 521 7th Ave (sexton). Also Tavola Restaurant/Elliot Park Hotel all of these within 1/2 block of Finnegans
     
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  4. KarlHungus

    KarlHungus Poo-Bah (3,081) Feb 19, 2005 Minnesota

    I filled in on a friend's bags time there four or five times last summer, and beyond the bags league the place was virtually dead.

    The beer is well done, but the atmosphere is that of a generic hotel bar. I don't go there for that reason alone even though it's the closest brewery to my place.
     
  5. KarlHungus

    KarlHungus Poo-Bah (3,081) Feb 19, 2005 Minnesota

    I think a lot of people really understand estimate house much housing there is in downtown Minneapolis.
     
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  6. gatornation

    gatornation Poo-Bah (5,084) Apr 18, 2007 Minnesota
    Trader

    You are right.Not to mention The Hyatt and The Normandy Hotels are 1/2 block away. Thrivent area is building a multi use living area 1/2 block away also.
     
  7. KarlHungus

    KarlHungus Poo-Bah (3,081) Feb 19, 2005 Minnesota

    It's really unfortunate that Finnegans' atmosphere is the exact opposite of a neighborhood bar as Downtown East needs one.
     
  8. gatornation

    gatornation Poo-Bah (5,084) Apr 18, 2007 Minnesota
    Trader

    What do you mean?
     
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  9. Grave252

    Grave252 Initiate (50) Mar 12, 2017 Minnesota
    Trader

    I stand by what I said. I don’t disagree that there is housing and hotels around, but that’s not going to drive a business like Finnegan’s to succeed. A brewery needs to be either a destination or in a locale with a lot of foot traffic. There is no reason for non area residents to be in that area, because there are no other bars or restaurants around. The beer and vibe are not good enough to drive people to that spot.

    If you’re driving into the city from any suburb, you’re much more likely to just drive to Northeast where there are half a dozen breweries within a square mile that you can walk around to. Like I said, nothing against Finnegan’s, but the reality is downtown proper of Minneapolis has never been a very active or alive city with the exception of event days. Go to Finnegan’s on a Tuesday night vs any other brewery in Northeast, it’s startling.
     
  10. gatornation

    gatornation Poo-Bah (5,084) Apr 18, 2007 Minnesota
    Trader

    I 'm not a fan of Finnegans brew. Will say They have positioned the brewery will they will have foot traffic close to the armory,close to US Bank Stadium close to Day Block Close to MTHB,close to mckinney & roe close to Bus Stop Brewery. So like The NE many places and people who live and visit downtown,
     
  11. KarlHungus

    KarlHungus Poo-Bah (3,081) Feb 19, 2005 Minnesota

    Like I said in a separate post above the atmosphere at Finnegans feels like a hotel bar. The rest of the bars in the area are designed to serve suburban tourists. There isn't a single bar in that part of downtown that I would say has a neighborhood feel. A lot, if not most, of people in the neighborhood, myself included, travel elsewhere in the city to find that.
     
  12. islay

    islay Aspirant (266) Jan 6, 2008 Minnesota
    Trader

    I don't know how the business or its charitable donation aspect is doing. I wouldn't cast aspersions on the owner solely for a rumored nice house; many philanthropists have done well for themselves financially.

    I've been to the taproom several times, and it has varied from jam-packed to almost empty. A bartender told me it tends to do brisk post-work business on Wednesday through Friday evenings and does well around U.S. Bank Stadium events but otherwise is pretty quiet. Keep in mind that it does have a rentable private event space upstairs that may make a big difference to the bottom line in either direction.

    I think the beer it's making in its brick-and-mortar incarnation is superb, some of the very best in Minneapolis and well beyond; flavorful, creative, thoughtful, well-executed, and varied. Finnegans hit a home run artistically with the Ryan Mihm hire (commercially, who knows?). It's neither on-trend nor traditional, and that stylistic dead zone severely limits the buzz around it. Also, I get the impression Finnegans hasn't overcome its long-established reputation for making one or two boring beers from its early days as a client brewer at Summit.

    I agree with the "hotel bar" vibe comment, but I personally like that as a change of pace compared to other taprooms. I can see, however, how that would be frustrating to locals who aren't looking for "something different" but rather a comfortable spot to be a regular. It definitely looks like some money was poured into it, for better or for worse.

    Finnegans' location has two big factors going against it not yet mentioned:
    1. It's one of the few taprooms in the burdensome downtown sales tax district, where the sales tax on alcoholic beverages is the highest in the country, last I heard. I believe Lakes and Legends and Clockwerks are the only others (along with the Rock Bottom and Day Block brewpubs). All the rest of the breweries in the vicinity not coincidentally strategically avoid that zone.
    2. Lack of nearby free* parking. People driving to taprooms usually will choose somewhere they can comfortably pull up next to without having to fiddle around with meters or pay $5 to park in a ramp. I can't overemphasize how big of a factor this is, and it really only impacts the breweries of downtown Minneapolis and downtown/Lowertown St. Paul.
    * I don't know when the meters are enforced in that area; perhaps often street parking is free. Either way, it suffers from the perception of a lack of free parking.
     
    #12 islay, Jul 14, 2019
    Last edited: Jul 14, 2019
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  13. gatornation

    gatornation Poo-Bah (5,084) Apr 18, 2007 Minnesota
    Trader

    Well it is connected to Elliot Park Hotel. I think it is a reflection of the whole Eastside the gentrification of the area in the last 2-3 years. Even Grumpy's now gone space is turning into boutique living apartments.
     
  14. KarlHungus

    KarlHungus Poo-Bah (3,081) Feb 19, 2005 Minnesota

    It's completely a reflection of the neighborhood being in the early stages of gentrification, and I hope places start opening up soon with the intent of providing entertainment for those of us who live in the neighborhood (by this I mean catering to the tastes of people who choose to live downtown). It is unavoidable that ever bar and restaurant in the neighborhood has to accommodate the crowds caused by stadium events, but places should pivot to serve the locals during the ~300-320 days a year when nothing is happening at the stadium. Finnegans seems to be passing a golden opportunity to do this before anyone else.
     
  15. KarlHungus

    KarlHungus Poo-Bah (3,081) Feb 19, 2005 Minnesota

    I don't think most people realize there is a downtown tax zone on alcohol when they are blaming establishments for charging so much for a beer. They certainly don't understand that the alcohol tax was put in place to buy a stadium for a billionaire so they can fantasize about being on a sports team.
     
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  16. Bobafett

    Bobafett Initiate (115) Jul 24, 2008 Minnesota

    All that said, I think the beer at the taproom is fantastic. Some great barrel and oak aged stuff. They have a oak aged lager that I have been craving to try again. The parking isn't great and the atmosphere could use a punch up but I would recommend giving them a try. They have been my biggest surprise brewery in years.
     
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  17. Bravak

    Bravak Initiate (141) Sep 9, 2014 Minnesota

    Punting because I’m curious if anyone (or if any FINNEGANS people/volunteers are on here) know what amount of money from profits have been given to charities over the past year or two.
     
  18. SipIt

    SipIt Initiate (181) Jul 18, 2013 Minnesota

    I'm sure the additional tax hurts, but is that really why HopCat costs a godzillion dollars for a teeny tiny pour? They have the most jacked up rates in the cities I've ever seen.
     
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  19. KarlHungus

    KarlHungus Poo-Bah (3,081) Feb 19, 2005 Minnesota

    The tax adds about an extra $1 per beer. Whatever else HopCat or any other place charges is on them. I was more speaking of places getting railed on when they're only charging the extra dollar for the tax.
     
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  20. SipIt

    SipIt Initiate (181) Jul 18, 2013 Minnesota

    I've never thought any of the other places downtown were out of line. HopCat was a joke the one time I was there.
     
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  21. BeerDrinkinGuy

    BeerDrinkinGuy Initiate (47) Nov 2, 2018 Minnesota

    I will say their beer has vastly improved since the Summit days. They have two good brewers at the helm now which should expand the beer lineup. But on the other hand is Finnegans cool with the kids these days?
    Are people seeking out their beers? I am not but if I see a new I may try it. As for the tap room I have been there twice and both times were pretty dead...more dead than Summit normally is for comparison. I think people want small comfortable taprooms within distances of another small cool taproom.
     
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  22. mjryan

    mjryan Zealot (511) Dec 22, 2007 Minnesota

    In their Summit days, the Irish Amber was their primary product. Summit also made a very nice blonde ale for them, and their stout, Dead Irish Poet. All were fine beers. Clean, and well executed, if not terribly exciting. Now that they have their own brewhouse, they produce a bunch of different stuff. Makes sense right? Gotta fill them draft lines for the taproom after all, and yeah, it’s good beer for the most part, but I wouldn’t say vastly improved over Summit considering Summit only made a few beers for them.
     
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  23. Chaz

    Chaz Poo-Bah (2,060) Feb 3, 2002 Minnesota
    Society Trader

    A joke as in too expensive, or in another way? Inquiring minds want to know. :wink:
     
  24. Chaz

    Chaz Poo-Bah (2,060) Feb 3, 2002 Minnesota
    Society Trader

    Finnegans is conceptually AWESOME!

    As a charitable organization*, hmm: Food give-aways and “reverse food trucks”, all funded by the profits accrued from the sales of a luxury item (beer).

    Why would anyone NOT support that?

    I am an old guy (way over forty, and even over fifty - get off my lawn) and on occasion I talk a bit of the Millennial Internet era smack, but seriously: Finnegans backstory is incredibly cool, and as real as it gets.

    So what exactly is the problem?

    Are they up to date?

    By all accounts, yes: Top-tier Brewing talent, multi-function brewery and event space, even a “BrewTel” and Finnovation Lab - nobody else has anything like this here in the Twin Cities area. All of which out-weighs the sterile, suburban soccer mom-approved decor of their Multi-million dollar taproom, in my book.

    But to be perfectly honest...
    If by kids (and I am a fair bit older than you) you mean newly-legal drinkers, then I would think that the obvious answer is NO.

    Those downtown prices and that upscale taproom do not jibe with young and hip.

    But the on-site experience is only half of the equation: Are they selling more beer through retail and on-sale than they were in the Summit days? That’s the real question in my mind. Either way, they need to turn all of that profit into free food for the needy.

    I wish them luck - as always.

    *I am unsure whether or not Finnegans was re-organized as a B corporation since their founding, but I would think that they would have been.
     
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  25. Chumley22

    Chumley22 Initiate (83) Sep 28, 2013 Minnesota

    I have had some of their beers both on tap and in cans and all seemed solid. Dead Irish Poet probably my personal favorite.
    I have never been there- but that might change this weekend, they have a helluva tap list at the moment!
    Not too sure about some of the styles that are barrel-aged but it’s got me interested. I hope the web site is up to date!
     
  26. morimech

    morimech Poo-Bah (3,354) Nov 6, 2006 Minnesota

    Their barrel-aged event ends today, July 20.
     
  27. maximum12

    maximum12 Poo-Bah (4,066) Jan 21, 2008 Minnesota
    Trader

    Glad to have read this thread. I had no idea they had a taproom, & still think of them as the brewery with only two or three beers. I'm going to have to get over there eventually before a Twins game.
     
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