Stutrud to be honored at 2019 Howl at the Moon Gala on April 11

Chad Richardson
Communications Director
International Wolf Center
763-560-7374, ext. 225

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – These days, it seems like a new brewery is opening in Minnesota on a weekly basis. In the mid 1980s, though, there wasn’t a craft beer scene, there were no taprooms and nobody had even heard of a growler.

Despite that, Mark Stutrud wanted to change careers, going from a social worker to a brewer. He wrote the nationwide brewer’s association about his idea and, to his surprise, they discouraged him from launching a brewery. He wouldn’t make it in the business, they said.

Stutrud ignored their advice and, in September 1986, the first kegs rolled off the line at Summit Brewing Co. and into Twin Cities bars. Since then, the Minnesota institution has kept growing. Summit is the state’s second-biggest brewery.

This pioneering spirit and dedication to his craft led to the International Wolf Center to name Stutrud as its 2019 Leader of the Pack Award winner. Stutrud will be given the award and honored at the Howl at the Moon Gala on Thursday, April 11, at Midland Hills Country Club.

“I’m very honored,” Stutrud said. “Absolutely surprised and very honored. The International Wolf Center, I know, is very focused on education. Wolves are an example of how absolutely complex our ecosystems are. When organizations like the International Wolf Center can provide education on the earth and all of its inhabitants, that’s a very important function.”

The Center’s Executive Director, Rob Schultz, said Stutrud was nominated by a member of the gala committee and was quickly endorsed.

“Mark’s brave decision to open a brewery, against the advice of several people, shows he’s a man of firm convictions and a decisive leader,” Schultz said. “Those are traits we love to honor with this award. We’re thrilled he will be the recipient of this award at our upcoming gala.”

Tickets for the gala are available by visiting this link.

Stutrud will be joined at the gala by his wife, Susan, and several members of Summit’s leadership team. For many years, Summit has given back to food banks, art museums, music causes and numerous charitable fundraisers and events.

“A part of our longevity is connected to the fact that we’re very engaged in the Twin Cities community,” said Stutrud. “We’ve been deeply supportive of a number of causes through the years. That also really helps us to be a consistent part of the fabric of the community.

More about the brewery

When Summit opened, Stutrud did so with a wealth of brewing knowledge in his back pocket. He received professional training from brewing legends Charles A. McElevey and Frederick H. Thomasser. He completed the courses of Brewing Theory and Practice and Brewing Microbiology and Microscopy at the Siebel Institute of Technology, Chicago, Illinois. In July of 1991, Stutrud was awarded the J.E. Siebel Memorial Scholarship and received his Diploma in Brewing Technology from the Siebel Institute. That technical background meant that Stutrud had the necessary tools to produce consistently great beer.

“I think our longevity has to do with the fact that we were technically sound when we introduced Extra Pale Ale and, a few months after that, Great Northern Porter,” he said. “We knew that we had to understand the industry and the different tiers of business within the brewing industry, as well as being very good technically.”

Summit, the first Minnesota brewery built in Minnesota since the repeal of Prohibition, laid the framework for others to follow. And follow they have. There are now approximately 180 breweries operating in Minnesota.

“We were sodbusters,” Stutrud said. “That’s not easy work. You’re turning over that virgin soil and it allows other people behind you to cultivate a little more easy. That’s been a part of our role.”

The International Wolf Center, founded in 1985, is known worldwide as the premier source for wolf information and education. The mission of the Center is to advance the survival of wolf populations by teaching about wolves, their relationship to wildlands and the human role in their future. The Center educates through its website, its ambassador wolves, museum exhibits, educational outreach programs, International Wolf magazine, and a beautiful interpretive center in Ely, Minnesota.