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St. Paul cidery eyes land in Hastings

The rendering is an example of the type of structure suited for a modern cidery. Courtesy of City of Hastings

The brewing business in downtown Hastings is just getting started with Spiral Brewery slated to open in 2018, but the new brewery could soon be complimented by a cidery down the street.

The city has been working with Panache, LLC, who requests to acquire the land north of Artspace for construction of a building containing a cidery along with potential commercial and residential uses.

"There are many details to work out as this is still in the early stages of planning, but I am personally excited to see this move forward as it is a unique concept for Hastings," said Mark Vaughan, chair of Hastings Planning Committee.

Panache is a majority women-owned local small business with a commitment to building and environmentally and economically sustainable local community. The company started with a love of apples and desire to reintroduce heirloom apples into daily consumption. Heirloom apples come with a history of hand-crafted artisanal practices creating products like hard ciders, botanically infused apple juices and caramels, jams and fruit compotes, according to the company.

Proposal

Panache sees to acquire a 1.49 acre Hastings Economic Development & Redevelopment Authority-owned property north of Artspace for a three-story, mixed-use structure with an artisanal cider bar, possible restaurant, office and housing. In addition, the firm requests the acquisition of a 2.58-acre HEDRA-owned property in the Industrial park southwest of Spiral Boulevard and Voyageur Parkway. The second land acquisition would be for construction of a warehouse, processing facility and orchard.

The proposed plans were brought to a planning board meeting Dec. 5 to see if the group would like to see the city move forward project details. The commissioners generally supported the use and staff will continue to work with Panache on site details and sale price.

Council member and Planning Committee member Joe Balsanek said the project is not a typical eatery and it would draw customers regionally as a destination business. The business would help diversity visitor destinations in Hastings with a strong focus on the Mississippi, which is part of the Heart of Hastings Plan.

Downtown

The proposed mixed-use structure downtown would use shipping containers to construct the building. Panache proposes a three-story building that is approximately 2,400 square feet. The ground floor would combine an artisanal craft cider bar and restaurant. The second and third floors would be used for operational finances for the facility, an office space and a rental unit.

The city has not reviewed or approved similar construction in the past for a primary building.

Tina Folch, council and committee member, said she is optimistic about the prospect of bringing Panache into Hastings but she did have some reservations.

With the proposal including a "container structure" she said she would rather see the city enter into a lease agreement than to sell the land. She said she also requested the city staff conduct a financial review of the company to make sure the business plan and land acquisition proposal would be strong enough to support two city parcels.

"If Panache were to fail in the future, I would rather the city have control over the river lot than see it fall into an undesirable closure status," Folch said.

Industrial Park

The 2.58 acre property in the Industrial Park area is proposed for processing and warehouse uses. The majority of the property would be used for the planting of apple trees for processing.

The proposed property neighbors the residential area of Glendale Heights, which the city notes could serve as a good transition between the uses.

The purpose of the orchard would be to grow heirloom varietal apples to make traditional European style-hard cider. The warehouse and cidery would store and process the apples.

Michelle Wirth

Michelle Wirth graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire in 2013 with a degree in journalism and web design. She worked as a web content editor for a trade association before coming to the Hastings Star Gazette in 2016.

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