Back Channel Brewing hopes to bring beer, business to Westonka

by Nicole Brodzik
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It’s been months in the making, but Back Channel Brewing is set to open next month on the shores of Seton Channel in Spring Park.

Melissa Langseth is a Westonka native and one of the brewery’s owners. She said she’s excited to be opening a business so close to her childhood home.

“I grew up in Minnetristam,” Langseth said. “My parents actually gave us a little plot of land and so we thought it would be really cool to grow hops and then eventually serve those in our beer a couple years down the road once they’re at full mature state.”

Langseth is one of four co owners working to get Back Channel open. Her fiance Josh Leddy and their friends Matt Olson and Joe Meehan round out the ownership quartet. Come August, not only will the brewery be opening its doors, but Leddy and Langseth will also be tying the knot.

“It’s going to be crazy that’s for sure,” Leddy said of getting married and opening a new business in the same month.
Leddy said he’s hopeful that Back Channel Brewing can mirror the success of other local breweries like Excelsior Brewing Company and Wayzata Brew Works. It’s not just about his business though either. Leddy said he sees the brewery as a way to bring more businesses to the Spring Park and Mound areas.

“The community seems very thirsty, no pun intended, for something else to come into this area and maybe jump start this community,” he said. “We’re hoping we can have the same effect on the Spring Park and Mound area that Excelsior Brewing Company had on that area.”

One way they are planning to help support local businesses is through the food they’ll have available at Back Channel Brewing.

“We’re working with the Minnetonka Drive In to have food at our brewery, but we’re also workig with Dakota Junction and Carbone’s to bring in food as well,” Leddy said. “It’s not just a Spring Park thing. It is a Westonka thing. We’re excited. We couldn’t be more happy to be here.”

The brewery is located on Shoreline Drive in Spring Park in the building that once housed Family and Cosmetic Gentle Dentistry nearly a decade ago. Now, the building looks more like a rustic lodge than a sterile dentist’s office, but it wasn’t an easy transition.

“It’s been vacant for eight years so it was pretty dilapidated,” Langseth said. “It was obviously a dental office so there were all these little rooms but we came in and we had the vision. It’s pretty unique to have a tap room be it’s own stand alone location, we just saw the potential in this building.”

Their location on Seton Channel includes a small number of dock slips as well, which they are in the process of working on getting permits for. Leddy said they’ve talked to the neighbors and are hopeful they’ll be able to draw in boat traffic at some point, but they understand the issues that can come up from boat traffic in tight spaces, like Seton Channel.

“We want to use it as a means of education for boaters coming in here,” Leddy said. “If we have boat slips, now we’re forcefully showing people how to operate their boats in a tight area. And if they can operate their boats in a tight area, they can operate their boats anywhere.”

Leddy said he hopes that by creating a safe system of getting boaters in and out of brewery, Back Channel can help the lake community who he hopes will support them. Until that time, there’s another option to support Lake Minnetonka’s newest local brewers. They are selling a pair of memberships with a short term membership they are calling the Founder’s Membership and a Lifetime Membership. The first is a one year membership that Langseth said will help the group get a head start and will include benefits like tastings, exclusive glassware, deals on merchandise and being named on the founders plaque that will hang on the brewery wall. The cost is $250 and the membership runs through the end of 2017.

The second option costs $1,000 and the same benefits as the Founder’s Membership, but also allows Lifetime members to be a part of a sensory tasting panel four times a year.

Memberships will be accepted through July and can be purchased through Back Channel Brewing’s website. For more information on Back Channel Brewing and for updates on their official open, visit https://www.backchannelbrewing.com/