Detroit Lakes makes business sense for Randy Peterson

Randy Peterson, Maltwerks

A couple years ago, entrepreneur Randy Peterson was finally nearing retirement mode in Fargo. The companies he founded were in good hands and he enjoyed watching his kids blossom in the craft brewery movement.

But as an entrepreneur, Randy found sitting on the business sidelines just wasn’t in his nature. In fact, his kids’ foray into the craft brewery industry sparked his creative curiosity. “On brewery tours, I would visit the malt room and wonder where they got their ingredients,” Randy said.

It wasn’t long before Randy provided his own answer in the form of a new company: Maltwerks. And his company home? Detroit Lakes.

“Small independent brewers and distillers are passionate about sustainable, locally-sourced ingredients,” Randy noted. “I worked in commodities all my life so I had the background to take that idea and run with it.”

Maltwerks manufactures locally-sourced barley malt adjuncts, grains, botanicals, fruit zests and spices that brewery and distillery producers can use to create unique brews. With a 5-state midwest market, Maltwerks can customize ingredients to the exact specs that a small brewery needs. “We’re the manifest of the craft brewing industry,” Randy says. “The big companies are providing malt ingredients they produce in the millions of tons. We are looking at producing 2,000 tons!”

It’s been well-received by craft brewers, so much so that Randy expects the company to double their work force, from seven employees now to 15 in the near future.

Why did Randy pick Detroit Lakes for his growing business? “Our customers are small, local, care about their communities,” Randy said. “I thought we also needed to be small, local, create jobs in a rural area and show that we are part of this craft movement through our own small batch processes.” He was also familiar with the area because of a lake cabin and knew water wouldn’t be an issue, either.

So Randy’s retirement has obviously been put on hold. And he wouldn’t have it any other way.

Steve Henning