And for those looking to venture further
out from downtown, the Metro Transit
light rail system stretches over to Saint Paul
and down to Bloomington and the Mall of
America, hitting several major landmarks.
Location is a major selling point for
Bloomington, which lies 10 miles south
of Minneapolis, according to Dan O’Neill,
vice president of strategy and sales for the
“Bloomington is at the doorstep of the
international airport, and we’re close to
everything that’s important in the Twin
Cities,” O’Neill says. “With our hotel
supply we cover pretty much every brand,
from economy to full-service to luxury,
and offer the largest concentration of
hotels in the state.”
The Mall of America, perhaps the most
recognizable attraction in Bloomington,
also serves as an ideal entertainment back-
drop for attendees who are looking to expe-
rience dine-arounds or go shopping. And
so it’s only fitting that the big development
news in Bloomington revolves around the
mall’s ongoing expansion, which complet-
ed Phase I with the launch of the 342-room
JW Marriott Minneapolis Mall of America
that opened in late November with 19,000
square feet of meeting and event space.
“Six new hotels have opened in the last
18 months,” O’Neill says. “The expansion
for Mall of America really started with the
342-room JW Marriott as well as the office
tower on the other side.”
O’Neill adds that the current expansion
plan calls for an additional million square
feet of development in the area, which
would include entertainment and perform-
ing arts venues, luxury retail and hotels.
The 303-room Hyatt Regency Bloom-
ington-Minneapolis just opened near the
Mall of America in mid-February with
15,000 square feet of meeting and event
space, and boasting close proximity to the
Outside of the big development news
around Mall of America, the Hyland Hills
Ski Area completed a $20 million chalet
addition with brand-new event space that
can be used in non-ski season.
Set along the east bank of the Mississippi
River, Saint Paul gives off a more relaxed,
small-town feel when compared to the
bustle of Minneapolis or the retail mecca
that is Bloomington.
“Without sounding like too much of a
cliche, it’s clean, it’s safe, it’s walkable,” says
Adam Johnson, vice president of marketing
with Visit Saint Paul. “There’s green space
right in the heart of downtown.”
Johnson says that events of 3,000 attend-
ees would easily fit into Saint Paul’s wheel-
house, with its largest event facilities being
the Saint Paul RiverCentre and the adjacent
entertainment capabilities available at the
Xcel Energy Center, home of the Minnesota
Wild professional hockey team.
Minnesota’s capital city, which is also the
state’s second largest, is also undergoing a
number of new developments, including
brick and mortar construction and signature experiences.
“We’ve got an old post office on the Riv-
erfront that is going to open as a 150-room
Hyatt Place in September,” Johnson says.
“And a second hotel is being built over by
the Xcel Energy Center.”
The new Hyatt Place will include 149
guest rooms and 1,800 square feet of
Saint Paul is also jumping on board the
second phase of a signature experiences
program that was launched a couple years
ago in Minneapolis. Johnson says the pro-
gram involves taking existing attractions
and working with them to create memora-
ble experiences for groups.
Saint Paul’s signature experiences are
geared toward smaller groups of 15 to 50
and range from a behind-the-scenes tour
of Como Zoo to a ride on the Mississippi
aboard a Padelford Riverboats vessel.
For planners seeking interesting local
off-site experiences, Johnson recommends
checking out the Science Museum of
Minnesota, the Wabasha Street Caves or
Summit Brewing Company.
Could you tell me a little bit about your role as events director with Surly?
As Surly’s events director I oversee the Event Center team at our Minneapolis-St. Paul
(MSP) destination brewery, as well as co-plan our bigger events like SurlyFest and Darkness Day. I have an awesome event center coordinator, Katie, who takes on the majority of
planning for our day-to-day events happening in our Boardroom and Scheid Hall. I focus
my planning on all the weddings we host and larger specialty events.
What event spaces are available at Surly MSP?
We have two main event spaces at MSP. Scheid Hall is our main event space--dedicated
in memory of Linda Scheid, the legislator who championed the “Surly Bill” that made all
of this possible. [Passed in 2011, the bill made it legal for brewers to sell pints of their
own beer in Minnesota.] Scheid Hall is a state-of-the-art meeting and event center with
a total capacity of 175 guests, depending on the type of function desired. With a full,
spectacular view of our working brewhouse and the industrial Minneapolis skyline, it’s a
unique space that is well-suited to a wide range of events.
The Boardroom is Surly’s private dining room, located inside Brewer’s Table. This intimate and quiet setting is perfect for special dinners and gatherings for up to 20 people.
Can groups arrange for a private brewery tour? If so, what is the max group size?
They totally can! All of that is run through our tour team and can be scheduled by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. Max group size for a private tour is 20 guests.
Are there any other cool activities you can put together for groups?
We set our events up to integrate Surly as much as our guests will let us—group tours,
tastings, Chef Beer Dinners, the works. We want to be a part of your experience and make
Q&A with Andrea Graham // www.surlybrewing.com
Events Director at Surly Brewing Co.
ST. PAUL METRO...