Boom Island Brewing to leave north Minneapolis after shooting: “We’ve had enough!”

“The problem is we got heroin, crack cocaine, all sorts of crystal meth deals going on."

Edgar Linares
September 10, 2018 - 6:56 pm

By Edgar Linares

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A deadly weekend shooting on the 2000 block of Washington Avenue in North Minneapolis has one business owner saying enough is enough. 

The Friday night shooting left 42-year-old Steven Fields of Richfield dead on a sidewalk and wounded three others.

By Edgar Linares

Another causality of the shooting - Boom Island Brewing Company - whose owner says they‘re tired of the crime and it’s time to pack up and leave. The shooting happened just a few feet away from their building. 

The brewery has seven full-time and six part-time employees. Boom Island's Belgian-style beer is sold in restaurants and liquor stores, but taproom business has never really picked up. 

“We’re in the middle of an industrial nothingness,” said Kevin Welch, owner of Boom Island Brewing. “The problem is we got heroin, crack cocaine, and all sorts of crystal meth deals going on left and right every single night." 

Welch said when he opened up the business on Washington Avenue in 2011, he hoped to transform the area. “I’m building a little bit of Belgium right here in north Minneapolis,” he said. He now dreams of opening up a taproom that doesn’t have to close at 9 pm for customers' safety.

“At 9 o’clock in the evening the taproom hours are just getting rockin and rollin,” said Welch. “On a great weekend we’ll get 35 to 40 people walking through the door. Because they’re afraid to come to North Minneapolis.” 

Welch commends Minneapolis’ Fourth Precinct for stepping up patrols, but says for the last eight months he’s been begging the city to put up mobile cameras. He says finally, after Friday’s shooting, there’s one there. 

By Edgar Linares, Kevin Welch and his dog Susie

However, for Welch it’s too little, too late and now he’s looking to relocate. As of Tuesday, he’ll begin looking at new properties and he’s already been approached by businesses in Plymouth and Minnetonka. Welch plans to launch a crowd-sourcing campaign to raise funds and hopes to relocate by end of the year.

“It’s a bad neighborhood, I know that. I knew that when I was getting into it,” said Welch. “It’s a total shame.”

Minneapolis police tell WCCO-Television violent crime overall in the city is down 21 percent from this time last year. On the city’s north side, violent crime is actually down even more, 33 percent.