Hmong brewery in St. Paul could be first of its kind

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Said to be the first of its kind in the country, a Hmong-owned brewery will soon be a reality in St. Paul. 

Vine Park Brewing Company is both a brew it yourself and a micro, or nano brewery. But it will soon be a Hmong-owned brewery, as well.

Over the last 23 years, customers at Vine Park Brewing company have made everything from Take a Chill Pilsner to St. Paul Porter. But soon, there will be a new beer on tap, as well a group of new owners.

Touyer Moua and three friends started brewing their own beer at home a few years ago.

They came to Vine Park for the first time to brew a batch with their own recipe last year and they liked it so much they brewed enough to give samples at the Hmong Freedom Celebration Sports Tournament in St. Paul. 

“After the festival, they came in and told me what a huge success it was and that they could have used twice as much. Everyone loved it. They ran out, they told me there's a market there," said Andy Grage, owner of Vine Park Brewing.

So the four Hmong immigrants made an offer to buy the brewing company with plans to produce their own Tyga Bite beer, named after a Hmong slang expression.

Moua believes it will be the first Hmong-owned brewery to make and bottle its own beer in the country, if not the world.

"This is something we don't see. The Hmong, they enjoy drinking beers as part of the culture for ceremonial rituals. Let's learn how to make beer and see if we can get a taste Hmongs would enjoy and hopefully one thing we can call it our own," Moua said.

First, Moua said Tyga Bite beer will be aimed at the Hmong community, but he hopes its popularity grows like the name of the brewery that will produce it.

"It’s a stepping stone for a new joy for our people,” Moua said.

The sale of Vine Park becomes official on Thursday morning.

The new owners will be giving samples of Tyga Bite beer at the Hmong Festival at Como Park this weekend.