Warrior Brewing Company is the culmination of two disabled veterans, determined to produce some of the regions finest craft beer while simultaneously continuing to serve the military, veteran, and first responder programs within their community and beyond.
Co-founder and Director of Operations, Matt Caple, was first exposed to craft beer and homebrewing while in the Army stationed in Colorado Springs, CO. Like many homebrewers, Matt found himself more and more fascinated with the intricacies of the brewing process, and would eventually find himself soaking up knowledge while volunteering at local craft breweries in Colorado. After moving back to Duluth, Matt joined the Northern Ale Stars, a local area homebrew club, where he further refined his craft. Feeling somewhat incomplete after leaving the service, Caple found solace in continuing to serve veterans, volunteering at the VFW, and eventually co-founding the Lake Superior Warriors; a non-profit dedicated to help disabled veterans reintegrate back into society following their military service by way of community service, and hockey.
Co-founder and Head Brewer, Ben Gipson, shares a similar story with Matt, having a passion for craft beer, and over a decade’s worth of homebrewing experience. However, Ben took his passion for brewing and turned it into a career, making the jump into the professional brewers circuit, serving as a head brewer at Canal Park Brewing Company for the last three years, and earning awards for his masterful creations both regionally and nationally.
It was at this point that Matt and Ben finally crashed into each other’s lives, after they organized a collaboration brew day in 2019 at Canal Park Brewing Company with the Lake Superior Warriors hockey team. The result was a monster Triple IPA that became an instant crowd pleaser. The event was such a success, it was repeated the following year in 2020 with an Imperial Stout.
While having an annual collaboration event was fine, Ben and Matt knew they could take the concept and run with it, and run with it they did. With a golden opportunity falling into their lap, the duo took over the location that Lake Superior Brewing Company used to occupy in the Lincoln Park neighborhood and began building their brewery in late 2020. By May, 2021, after countless hours of sweating copper, washing walls, sealing floors, and trudging through the permitting process, Warrior Brewing Company was officially brewing beer.
True to their name, Warrior Brewing Company will specialize in unique and high gravity offerings that aren’t normally found in the local area; barrel aged Imperial Stout, Lactose Double IPA, and Golden Ale brewed with locally sourced wildflower honey. Local non-profits that serve veteran and first responders will be given opportunities monthly to take part in brewing the barrel aged Barbarian Imperial Stout, from which a portion of the proceeds from the collaboration beer will be given back to the non-profit. This gives local area veterans and first responders a unique opportunity to take part in the professional brewing process side by side with Ben and Matt in the brew house. Over time, Warrior Brewing Company intends to open up employment opportunities to local area veterans as well. To all those who have served before and after, here’s to you.