Dustin Dodge, General Manager, of the Swinging Bridge Brewing Company spoke to the members about Swinging Bridge Brewing, a community driven business, uses the Community Supported Brewery (CSB) membership concept, and showed how this concept has helped the brewery become successful.
 
Swinging Bridge strives to deliver high-quality beer made from locally sourced ingredients in a comfortable and interesting setting.
Dustin Dodge, General Manager, of the Swinging Bridge Brewing Company spoke to the members about Swinging Bridge Brewing, a community driven business, uses the Community Supported Brewery (CSB) membership concept, and showed how this concept has helped the brewery become successful.
 
Swinging Bridge strives to deliver high-quality beer made from locally sourced ingredients in a comfortable and interesting setting.
 
Quipping that he was glad it was noon, so talking about beer isn't off the table, Dustin outlined how his business progressed from an idea to a community icon. Hailing from Spooner, Wis., Dustin attended UW-RF and servied in the Air Force. He is a member of the River Falls Fire Department and serves as a full time firefighter at Minneapolis St. Paul Airport.
 
"I'd always wanted to start a business," he said, and he knew right away he wanted to provide something of value to the community. "I'm a service oriented person, and I wanted to give back."
 
Researching types of businesses, Dustin found that craft beer brewing is booming in the midwest, and that breweries were shown to have a positive impact in growing and thriving communities.
 
Dustin credited the UW-RF Small Business Development Center as well as a business branding and marketing class, which helped him with a logo and marketing approaches. He also spoke highly of the group, SCORE (Service Corps of Retired Executives) and the St. Croix Regional Business Fund. Dustin also lauded the regional craft brewing community, which has provided great support and advice.
 
The taproom brewery produces 3.5 barrels or about 108 gallons per month. It has nine employees, two of which are full time. "We are excited to be able to provide jobs for community members," said Dustin. Patrons can buy beer by the glass, can or growler. Swinging Bridge beers are also available at local grocers and liquor stores.
 
"We also serve food!" said Dustin. Pub pretzels, spinach artichoke dip, and pulled pork sliders are among the favorites.
 
Ninety nine percent of sales are direct to consumer. With six fermenters, the brewery is considered a small system. "We can never keep enough in stock," Dustin said. Some favorites from the 75 different beers the brewery has created include Kinni Culture and Blood Orange IPA. Also available are non alcoholic beverages: Kumboucha, coffee and five housemade sodas, including creme and orange creme.
 
Activities during the week include trivia, bingo and mug night. The brewery also hosts tour groups and books private parties on Mondays.
 
The brewery offers a Community Supported Brewery (CSB) model, which is loosely based on the Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) model. CSB members number 100. They purchase a membership for the year, and recevie reduced prices on beer. Several membership options are available.
 
The brewery also sponsors charitable activities throughout the year, including a picnic in Hoffman Park, where it served free beer and food last summer. Proceeds benefited the Victory and Valor for Vets program.
 
Dustin stresses the importance of community involvement.
 
"We want people to feel part of the brewery, not like we are just a company that plopped down here," Dustin said. "It's great to see the community support of our dreams and endeavors."
 
 
 
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