It’s not an uncommon story: head brewer turned aspiring business owner. A few friends and family members get involved, and Minnesotans have another taproom on our hands.
But, at HeadFlyer, this adventure was taken on more consciously. In fact, the brewery is named for the entrepreneurial attitude of brewery owners. Amy Miller and her husband Neil created the term HeadFlyer when at her parents’ in the north woods. According to them, HeadFlyers are risk-takers who seize opportunities. As their website says, “Opportunity comes to those who take a chance. Boldly step outside your comfort zone, blaze new trails, pursue possibility.”
Upon opening, the Northeast Minneapolis taproom will be staffed by Amy and Neil Miller; a third owner, Nate Larson; and a taproom manager (Austin, who happens to be Amy’s brother).
Located in the Miller Textile building, HeadFlyer finds a balance between taproom chic (read: subway tile), cheeky (plenty of artsy neon), and historic (ask for a tour so you can spot the old brick and doors to nowhere). The murals–line drawings painted by a local artist–feature nostalgic Minnesota imagery with a modern, Northeast-y twist.
HeadFlyer will open with a line of flagship brews and several additional taplines to fill. The 15bbl brewhouse supports their 13 taps, which means there is a good reason for me to go back for a flight (or three). At my pre-opening visit, I tried the Freckled Amber and the None The Wiser Golden Ale.
When I asked the group of busy, mid-construction, near-opening taproom owners for advice, Amy slowed down to tell me: “Take a risk. When we started this business, people told us 1) You’re crazy, and 2) We’re not surprised. This is a lot of work, but we’re also having lots of fun doing it.” Neil added, “We’ll probably never sleep again, but it was totally worth it.” Nate chimed in, “I take risks. I eat Mentos with a Coke.” As someone who came of age in the era of YouTube stunts, I can confirm that Nate might be the biggest risk-taker of them all.
In all seriousness, HeadFlyer’s owners sure are living their brand. Starting a brewery with your spouse when you have three children and a full time job each is no small task. But if you never take a chance like that, you’ll never be able to get all-you-can-drink beer. So, in the long run, it will be totally worth it.