By Alicia Underlee Nelson and Sabrina Hornung
The friendly folks at Drekker Brewing company have something exciting brewing, in fact, they’ve just announced an exciting new Brewhalla expansion project that will be nothing less than “A food and entertainment wonderland,” in the words of Mark Bjornstad, Brewhalla and Drekker Brewing President.
The expansion will include a hotel and market building that will provide guests with spaces to dine and relax, gather and let loose, all the while surrounded by the four-story market atrium, flooded with natural light from expansive skylights. It will have the feeling of an open-air market with the charm of a four-season space, and could quite possibly be a one-stop shop for some of Fargo’s finest unique hand-crafted goods and treats.
We had the opportunity to speak with Mark Bjornstad about the project, the neighborhood, and the dream.
HPR: Where did you get the idea to dream this huge?
Mark Bjornstad: The dream didn’t start this big. It comes from some core beliefs and long-term goals we've always had about creating a place like this. It started with the taproom and it's evolving into some bigger goals that we have.
One of the other aspects that we've just fallen in love with over the years is all the other great businesses that we get to work with, the ways we get to work together and how we can integrate that into the community and make this a true community space, with local businesses and then just fun, engaging activities. Those beliefs just kind of kept snowballing and turned into this dream that it is now.
HPR: So what do we call this? Is it a brewery, a hotel complex, an entertainment zone?
MB: It’s called a food and entertainment wonderland.
HPR: And what kind of experience are you hoping that customers have when they arrive?
MB: We want it to be an always-changing experience. Something that's immersive, engaging, customizable to whatever experience they're looking for, but overall, something that's truly Fargo weird and fun.
HPR: So how's this gonna change the neighborhood?
MB: You know, this is such a cool neighborhood that we've had the opportunity to start the brewery in. We love that. There are just so many different aspects to it. There are different ages in this neighborhood. It's industrial, it's commercial, it's residential– it feels like Fargo and it's a gateway to Downtown.
So, we've always seen this neighborhood as kind of that thoroughfare, a people's way in and out of downtown, and a core neighborhood. We just think it's right for that warehouse district up-and-coming artist craftspeople type of community and we love Downtown–we think that it is the gem of Fargo. We want to create another great neighborhood that's just a little bit different but has that same soul and characters.
HPR: So do you have a firm opening date set?
MB: This is not the climate to be putting a hard, hard stake in the ground on that. But we've got a great architecture and construction team working on this and luckily the project started in 2020, So it's been in the planning-bidding phase for a long time. And we're working really hard to get that late fall of 2022.
HPR: And will the hotel open at the same time?
MB: That's the goal. We really want people to be able to engage in the whole experience, but if we have to do a staggered opening here, anything's possible. Like I said, this is a very interesting time for everyone. It's certainly an interesting time for construction. So we’ll just roll with it.
HPR: Yeah, that makes sense. Will the hotel be branded under a different name, or is it all under the Brewhalla banner?
MB: There's kind of some sub-brands in there but it's all going to be integrated within that same Brewhalla umbrella.
HPR: What's the most common question that you've gotten about this project?
MB: I think what people are in for are all the ideas but we only sent out little leaks, and getting the market announcement out there was kind of the last piece for people to truly see what this all is going to be. So it's really fun to see people like ‘I love everything that's going on here, but I still don't understand quite what it is.’ That's cool. I think people are just gonna have to see it on opening day to really see how cool and unique this place will be.
HPR: What's the best way for people to follow along with what's happening and with opening dates as they come?
MB: Yeah, so we are Brawlhalla.Fargo on our socials, our website is brewhalla.co, you can go on there for information on the market or if you want to book events for 2023. You can sign up for newsletters there if you want to have it in your inbox whenever we come up with a new announcement or bookings.
HPR: Excellent. Is there anything I haven't asked you about that you want to add?
MB: The biggest thing is with the market businesses. We are just so excited to have the group that we have together in there. It's such an amazing, diverse number of businesses that encompass great food of all types, treats and sweets, and then shops and local makers that we're so proud to have in Fargo.
We're so proud to get to work with the little business neighborhood that we're making. There's gonna be so much fun and just the way that everyone's gonna get to work together. We just can't wait.
Blackbird Woodfire Pizza
Mångata Wine & Raw Bar
Unicorn Park Fine Foodery
Cows & Co. Creamery
SWEETS, TREATS & DRINKS:
Nichole’s Fine Pastry
Drekker Brewing Company
SHOPS & MAKERS:
Livin’ the Dream Pottery
The Plant Supply
Red River Refillery
September 20th 2023
August 14th 2023
July 27th 2023
July 16th 2023
June 12th 2023
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