Click on any of the photos below to view each team member’s bio!
From prehistoric caves, laboratories, thunderstorms, and hot tubs to forests, dreams, and showers—ideas of all shapes and sizes come to us in a myriad of ways—but the best ideas are almost always conceived over a couple of beers among friends. The Marine Corps. Shark Week. Buffalo Wings. The Ironman Triathlon. And…Paddlefish Brewing Company—the first brewery in St. Peter since Engesser Brewery Distributors threw in the towel in 1942. That is over eighty years without selling “pure grains of keg beer distributed in single service containers” (as an old advertisement of Engesser’s quipped.) It goes without saying that that is eighty years too long. Thankfully, a trio of beer lovers named Eric Johnson, Luke Dragseth, and Dave Long are bringing a brewery business back to this fine town in the fall of 2023.
This is the story of how St. Peter’s first brewery in over 80 years came about. It begins, as it should, with some damn good beer. At Paddlefish Brewing Company, everything worth talking about begins with damn good beer. In this case, we must raise a glass to Paddlefish head brewer Luke Dragseth—born and raised in “Brew City” Milwaukee—for concocting and sharing his delicious home-brewed Cream Ale for his friends at Gustavus Adolphus College. One of those friends lucky enough to imbibe that batch was none other than owner and business manager Eric Johnson. With Luke’s Cream Ale nourishing his friends in body, mind, and soul, Eric got an idea and joked that he’d like a chance to sell Luke’s product. The idea germinated unseen until Paddlefish’s entrepreneur extraordinaire was enjoying a cold one at Bent Paddle—another Gustie-owned brewery—and that seedling of an idea that sprouted as a joke among friends transformed into a glorious vision to create St. Peter’s very own brewery and taproom.
So after spending hours crafting and perfecting the best beer recipes using equipment in his dorm room, Luke is elevating his talents to the next level. Eric, having put several thousand miles on his feet completing the many tasks of a brewery business manager is also ready and so is their industry expert Dave who has been busy developing the brand and stepping up his managerial skills. The ultimate goal of selling Luke’s damn good “keg beer in single service containers” is fast approaching. Stay tuned for all the ways you can join the fun and contribute to our mission to become St. Peter’s finest community-oriented brewery, a place where you can enjoy some of the best damn beer in the state among your friends for years to come.
And now our beloved beer fans, this is where Paddlefish Brewing Company’s story is almost ready to merge with your own. With gratitude, excitement, laughter, humility, nervousness, and a whole lot of passion, we simply can’t wait to raise a glass of Paddlefish pure grains together!