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FM brewery aims to keep brand local

If small-batch brewing is called micro-brewing, Junkyard Brewing Company considers itself a “nano-brewery.”

Last year, Brothers Aaron and Dan Juhnke plunged into the micro-brewing business in hopes of bringing excellent local beer to the citizens of the Fargo/Moorhead area. Now, they pride themselves on making superior craft beer that emphasizes quality more than quantity.

The brothers are all about work ethic: they operate their homemade brewing system and fund their startup program out-of-pocket. They now call North Moorhead their home.

That work ethic remains – the brothers work harder than ever to pump out premium brewskis.

“On brewing days, it’s a seven o’clock wake-up call to being done brewing by 5, sometimes 9 p.m.,” Dan said, a 2013 NDSU graduate. “They are long days, and while brewing, we concentrate only on that.”

Though the brewing process drives the business, the two brothers must also fix tap handles, file taxes and hold meetings – to name just a few day-to-day activities.

Aaron said the micro-brewing business has ebbed and flowed throughout history, but has reemerged over the last five years. The 24 year-old Moorhead resident recognized the recent upswing of popularity and took full advantage.

“The number of local breweries has expanded exponentially here over the last five years,” Aaron said. “[Junkyard Brewery] was an excellent idea for this area.”, a website devoted to all things brewing around Fargo-Moorhead, lists four current local breweries: Junkyard, Drekker, Fargo Brewing and Granite City. All but Granite City were launched within the last five years.

What about the beer? Well, as the Juhnke brothers would tell you, it’s the freshest beer you’ll find in Fargo-Moorhead.

Junkyard features weekly rotations of ten tap beers, all with their own unique flavor and flair. For example, the smooth medley in Ugly Ted’s Ale and the hoppy Whistle Wetter are only two of the wide spectrum of flavors.

According to Dan, alcohol consumers around this area are used to drinking oxidized beer, or beer that is bottled or canned. Junkyard takes a different approach to their brewing methods than most conventional breweries in both process and variety.

“Were not real excited to make this into a factory,” Aaron said. “Our goal is to make beer so good that people won’t think of it as just a local beer.”

However, locality is important to the Junkyard Brewing family. Even though most national brands of beer started out local, Aaron and Dan are in no hurry to make this company nationally known.

“We need to grow it to the point where it is sustainable for us and can provide a living,” Aaron said. “I think the customers we are focusing on would feel betrayed a little bit if we grew much bigger than what it is; they would feel like we sold out.”

So if you crave a quality beer and can legally drink, Junkyard Brewing Company will be hosting the grand opening of their new taproom location in North Moorhead on Nov. 21. The opening is complete with an affordable dinner and free public tours of their brewing room.

This article was submitted by Ben Gislason, contributing writer.

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