Bent Paddle Responds To Silver Bay Municipal Liquor Store Ban

The brewer riled many on the Iron Range for its opposition to copper-nickel mining projects.

Bent Paddle Responds To Silver Bay Municipal Liquor Store Ban
Owners of Bent Paddle Brewing went to face the Silver Bay city council on Monday night, hoping to “add a layer of nuance” and change councilor’s minds following their 3-2 vote to remove the brewery’s beer off the municipal liquor store shelves.
In a statement before the council, three of the four owners said they would “love if you reversed your decision tonight and let your consumers, both local and visiting or passing through, decide whether or not to purchase our beer directly.”
The council’s actions were prompted by Bent Paddle’s membership in the Downstream Business Coalition. The group, made up of about 70 businesses, is opposed to copper mining projects, including the controversial PolyMet project. A long-time resident emailed the council saying the product should be pulled from shelves “to make room for other microbrew providers that are not opposed to the survival of our communities.”
Silver Bay, located on the shores of Lake Superior north of Duluth, relies heavily on the mining industry for jobs and has suffered as taconite plants have idled.
 Bent Paddle emphasized in their statement that they supported traditional ferrous mining, as well as the use of American-made steel products (such as their production tanks) and union labor. But they had concerns potential pollution and water quality in a business that relies on clean water to create a product.
“Water is our most precious resource,” the group said. “While it is easier for businesses like ours not to weigh in on divisive topics like this, we felt our duty to add a voice of commerce to the debate that had been percolating. Even if the proposed project or projects were to go through, we wanted to be a part of the discussion that strengthened protections for our watershed, the [Boundary Waters Canoe Area] … and Lake Superior.”
The Growler has Bent Paddle’s full statement. It can be read here.
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