Alumnus Spotlights: Christian Schmitz and Jordan Schmitz

David Schmitz with sons Christian and Jordan

Brewing & Beer Steward grads/family starting first microbrewery in Rosemount

In early June 2020, the Rosemount City Council unanimously approved plans for North 20, the first microbrewery in Rosemount, Minnesota. The project is the idea of David Schmitz and family, longtime Rosemount residents. David’s sons, Christian and Jordan, are 2018 graduates of the Brewing & Beer Steward Technology program at Dakota County Technical College.

Along with their extensive brewing expertise, Christian and Jordan each have a B.A. in Economics from St. Olaf College in Northfield, Minnesota. That additional knowledge will be exceptionally valuable in starting and operating a small business.

“Our family is from Rosemount, and we still live in the area,” Christian Schmitz said. “We have enjoyed visiting breweries throughout the Twin Cities for years. However, there are no breweries in Rosemount and very few in the surrounding area, so we figured our microbrewery and small taproom would work out perfectly to fill the void.”

Christian added that the family decided on the rural location to create something unique to the Twin Cities.

“Most breweries are in warehouses or urban areas,” he said, “and the rural setting we have chosen will allow patrons to take in the beautiful scenery and outdoors while enjoying our beer.”

The new establishment will be located along Bacardi Avenue just south of the 16-acre Wiklund Wildlife Preserve near Rosemount’s border with Eagan.

“Our brewery will be housed in a barn-style building to fit in with the rural setting,” Christian said, “and there will be ample space to enjoy the outdoors and our rural setting.”

Christian and his brother, Jordan, will be busy during the construction phase of the project. “We will continue to develop recipes and make sure the licensing is in order for our opening, which will hopefully be fall of 2021. Jordan and I will share responsibility for brewhouse operations along with general oversight of the business.”

North 20: The story behind the name

As we became more serious about the idea of opening a brewery, we discussed several options for a
name, but could not land on one that everyone liked without any reservations.

The future brewery will sit on 20 acres of land north of where Jordan and I grew up. When we
were younger, North 20 is what our grandpa called the property. After his retirement, one of his favorite
pastimes was mowing. He would often pull up in his pickup truck and unload his riding lawn mower
and start mowing. When he finished the yard at our house, he would ask if anyone wanted to go
up and help him mow the North 20.

North 20 holds fond memories for our family, and it has a nice ring to it so we decided to go with that as the name of the brewery.

— Christian Schmitz

As for the most challenging aspect of opening North 20, Christian reported: “Coordinating all the different pieces that go into opening a business such as financing, construction, licensing and working with the city. There are just a lot of pieces that need to be taken care of simultaneously to make sure things keep moving along.

The most rewarding aspect: “Creating something that will be a part of the local community and seeing the excitement that people have for the business,” Christian said. “Throughout the planning process we have met so many new friends, neighbors and community members who are excited about our vision and share our passion for craft beers. It is rewarding to feel like we can bring something special to Rosemount.”

When asked where he saw North 20 in 20 years, Christian responded: “Hopefully, North 20 will be an important part of the local community and a place where people can gather to enjoy great craft beer with friends and family in a relaxing environment. We want North 20 to be a place that is not only supported by the community, but also offers support to the community through regular activities and events.”

Alumnus Spotlight: Christian Schmitz

Hometown: Rosemount, Minnesota

Christian Schmitz

Age: 32

High school and year graduated: Rosemount High School Class of 2006

DCTC major and degree earned: Brewing & Beer Steward Technology Certificate

DCTC graduation date: Spring 2018

Other degrees, diplomas, certificates: Bachelor of Art (B.A.) in History and B.A. in Economics with a minor in Finance from St. Olaf College

Family (including pets): Wife, Katie, and new baby daughter, Brooke, born July 18, 2020

Pastimes and hobbies: Home-brewing, fishing, skiing and camping

Career plans: Brewing at and managing North 20 Brewing Co.

Christian Schmitz Q & A

What did you like best about the DCTC Brewing & Beer Steward Technology program?

I enjoyed meeting all the other students who share a similar passion for brewing and getting more connected with the brewing community around the Twin Cities. It seems like the program’s instructor, Jeff Merriman, knows just about everyone in the industry.

How did the program prepare you to become a professional brewer?

We learned many important aspects of the brewing process in class and got a lot of good information from brewers who came in to speak to the class and whom we visited in their breweries. The most helpful part of the class was the internship that we were able to do. Getting to work in a production brewery allowed us to see everything that goes into brewing on a commercial scale and solidified for me that this is what I want to be able to do for a career.

What do you like best about brewing beer?

I enjoy the fact that brewing is part art and part science. It takes creativity to produce unique beers, but in order to consistently make quality beer, you have to embrace the science aspect of brewing as well.

What is your favorite type of beer to brew?

I enjoy brewing IPAs because they are my favorite type of beer to drink, but for the most part I just enjoy creating new recipes and exploring different ingredients to use with each beer. It is always rewarding to design a new recipe that people enjoy drinking.

What is the best beer you’ve ever tasted?

Bells Hopslam is probably my favorite. It is a perfectly balanced double IPA that is much smoother than you would think possible for a beer with an ABV of 10 percent.

Brewing & Beer Steward Tech Faculty: Jeff Merriman

Jeff Merriman is the Brewing & Beer Steward Technology instructor at DCTC. Jeff brings more than 15 years of experience in home brewing beer, along with making wine, mead and cider, to his classroom and brewing lab.

Jeff Merriman

Jeff Merriman

Jeff earned a Brewing Science and Engineering diploma from the American Brewers Guild in Middlebury, Vermont. He’s also a Certified Cicerone®, the beer equivalent of a wine sommelier.

Jeff’s industry experience includes his current position as regional retail manager for Northern Brewer, the largest home-brewing and wine-making company in America. He oversees two highly successful retail stores and supervises a staff of 25 retail team members. Jeff has a track record of implementing strategies for training, customer service and salesmanship.

“I’m excited to be a part of this program for DCTC,” Jeff noted. “It’s a great opportunity for those interested in being a part of a fast-growing industry of passionate craft beer enthusiasts.”

In his free time, Jeff likes to frequent some of his favorite tap rooms with friends. He enjoys cooking and pairing food with beer and wine and is always dreaming about his next trip to Europe to continue his search for the world’s greatest lagers.

About the program…

The DCTC Brewing & Beer Steward Technology program is designed to prepare those interested in an entry-level position within the brewing industry. We stress the importance of safety, regulations and quality control, as well as topics in brewhouse operations, microbiology, raw materials handling, and draft system design and maintenance.

The success of our graduates has been astonishing and the beer industry is frequently reaching out to me for their next hire.

Brewing & Beer Steward Technology 21 credit certificate

About the industry…

Minnesota craft beer is flourishing. Even with the slight reduction in growth of new breweries, I still avoid the word “saturated.” Well-managed breweries with high-quality products, culture and community involvement will continue to thrive.

While tap handles and shelf space are becoming harder to secure, most craft beer consumers are still more than a walk or a bike ride away from their nearest brewery or craft-centric liquor store.

Alumnus Spotlight: Jordan Schmitz

Hometown: Rosemount, Minnesota

Jordan Schmitz

Age: 28

High school and year graduated: Rosemount High School Class of 2010

DCTC major and degree earned: Brewing & Beer Steward Technology Certificate

DCTC graduation date: Spring 2018

Other degrees, diplomas, certificates: Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) in Economics from St. Olaf College

Family (including pets): Wife, Kelly, and a dog named Porter

Pastimes and hobbies: Home-brewing, camping, hiking and enjoying the outdoors

Career plans: Brewing at and managing North 20 Brewing Co.

Jordan Schmitz Q & A

Why did you choose the DCTC Brewing & Beer Steward Technology program?

My brother and I were looking into ways to expand our brewing knowledge as we had goals of eventually opening a commercial brewery, and DCTC made perfect sense to us as it is right in our back yard, and the class schedule fit in with our daily lives.

What important points did the program teach you about brewing beer?

The program greatly expanded our existing knowledge in all aspects of brewing. The internship portion of the class was invaluable for our learning in the processes of commercial brewing.

What do you like best about brewing beer?

It is a great feeling to craft something that people appreciate and creates a setting that allows them to share a positive social experience.

What is your favorite type of beer to brew?

Any beer that allows my brother and I to express our creativity through craftsmanship.

What is the best beer you’ve ever tasted?

Many of my favorite beers are beers I have tasted in taprooms throughout Minnesota. Beer from Castle Danger, Dangerous Man, Surly, Fair State, Lake Monster, 56 and Bad Weather come to mind.

Learn more about Brewing & Beer Steward Technology at DCTC by contacting:

Jeff Merriman
Brewing & Beer Steward Technology Faculty

Schmitz Family