In the brewhouse, Jake Rimnac opened up a bag, pouring malt into the miller. Soon, another batch of beer was brewed at Badger Hill Brewing Company in Shakopee.

The story didn't begin there, though. It began just down the Union Pacific railroad tracks at Rahr Malting, the largest single-site malting company in the world.

Shakopee's Rahr Malting, founded in 1847, produces and distributes malt — the backbone of beer — to customers around the globe. Rahr provides malt for nearly 90 percent of Minnesota's breweries and 25 percent of U.S.-brewed beers.

An expansion in 2017, a sixth malt house, increased the annual malting capacity at Rahr from 390,000 to 460,000 metric tons — enough to brew about 12 billion 12-ounce cans of light beer or six billion bottles of craft beer.

Who's thirsty?

In general, Minnesota is very rich and storied in the history of brewing in America. Rahr has played a large role in this, starting in 1847 in nearby Manitowac, Wisconsin, and establishing malting operations here in Minnesota in the 1930s.

"The distinction of being the world’s largest single-site malting operation has bounced back-and-forth with this site, but due to our continued growth we’ve enjoyed that distinction a few times!" said Jake Keeler, vice president of marketing for Brewers Supply Group, a wholly owned subsidiary of Rahr Corporation.

"Our growth has be fueled by a few key aspects: quality and consistency, our ability to adapt to changes in the market, and most of all our people," he added.

With the boom in breweries in Minnesota, now at about 175 and counting, relationships built over time have set Rahr and BSG apart from any competition.

Keeler said Rahr Malting and BSG have a strong presence in Minnesota which has been directly impacted by the growth of breweries in Minnesota.

"Our relationships with area breweries spans from having customers pick up their orders here at our Shakopee distribution center, to being able to have personalized tours to our facilities and of course Rahr and BSG are present and support the local beer community through event sponsorships, product donations and our staff visiting the amazing number and variety of great breweries in Minnesota," he said.

Rahr Corporation doesn't rest on what has worked; it's looking to the future as well. As part of the expansion project, a 20,000-square-foot research brewery and technical center that enables Rahr to test the performance of its products in a realistic brewery environment was built.

Better products, better beer, everyone is "hoppy."

"I think Rahr and BSG’s commitment to supporting the communities we are in is impressive; whether it’s having our staff volunteer in communities, supporting the local school districts or having a hand in localized environmental stewardship, I’m always amazed and filled with pride that I work for a company that places such a high value on people and community," Keeler said.

So, if you see the Rahr elevators along the Minnesota River near downtown, know you're favorite beer likely started right there in Shakopee.


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