Liquor in the front, racing in the back: An upstart craft distillery in Minneapolis will be the first in the U.S. to offer a British form of bike racing to all its patrons.
Beer and bikes are huge in the Twin Cities. Heck, wherever you are, it’s a good time to enjoy craft brews and well-built bicycles. But the market for both is about saturated.
Enter Minneapolis’ Royal Foundry Craft Distillery. Live now on Indiegogo, Royal Foundry intends to launch a fresh take on libations: British craft cocktails. And as a bonus, it’s going to provide a new sport for bike nerds: cycle speedway.
That’s right, a place to drink European small-batch hard liquor, then strap on a helmet and race bikes in circles. Ladies and gentleman, we have a new hipster hobby.
Opening in summer 2018, Royal Foundry will add a touch of cockney to Minneapolis’ cocktail scene. According to the brand, the distillery will use imported grains, botanicals, and recipes to produce “fine spirits made in the classic British tradition.” Plus, food trucks will offer traditional English fare (kippers, anyone?), and a bowling lane for the obscure bar sport of “skittles” will sit inside.
But it’s the outdoor entertainment that will really provide a limey flavor. A 70-meter cycle speedway track will sit just outside the bar. Spectators can order a bevy and head up to a viewing deck to watch.
But truly brave souls can sign up for a race, no certification required. The only stipulations are that you wear a helmet, bring your own bike, and sign a waiver. For those who don’t know – pretty much every American – cycle speedway is a flat-track event that typically pits four riders in a four-lap sprint.
The course is clay, and the track is short. Competitors use single-speed bikes without brakes. Usually, this is a stripped-down mountain bike or large BMX-style ride. The idea is to sprint and turn Tokyo-drift style through the turns without sliding too much. Watch this example:
New Minneapolis Craft Distillery
For clarity, the cycle speedway will not be affiliated with Minnesota’s National Sports Center Velodrome. That facility hosts a different sport, track racing, on a steeply banked track.
Co-owner and chief distiller Andy McLain has family in England and was exposed to the sport through them. His wife, Nikki McLain, told us Andy wants to “bring something new and dynamic to the cycling community in Minneapolis and help to grow the sport.”
According to the McLains’ research, Royal Foundry will offer the first such cycle speedway in America. The track will be open to all. Depending on the reception, it may host youth leagues through the summer to help get kids into the sport.
The McLains hope to raise $250,000 through Indiegogo to help get production underway. When finished, Royal Foundry will sit inside a 150,000-square-foot warehouse space on the north side of Minneapolis.
We can’t wait to see this come to life. Who can say no to craft cocktails and bicycles?