Client Spotlight: Fran Fyten

WomenVenture client, Fran Fyten is the owner of Fytenburg Brewing

Client Spotlight: Fran Fyten

Fytenburg Brewery: A New Way of Looking at Historic Beer, “Foam is Sexy” 

Frances Fyten knows how to start a conversation. Walking into a photoshoot, toting a six-pack and a curvy beer glass, she states with a smile, “I hope it’s okay I brought beer!”

Frances, who goes by Fran, is part historian, part cultural anthropologist, and a complete joy to speak with. Her love of art, science, and history is evident within minutes of meeting her. After pouring the golden-colored ale into her curvy beer glass, she looks at the thick rim of foam at the top and declares, “foam is sexy!”

Fran knows quite a bit about beer. In fact, you could say it’s in her blood. In 1680, one of her ancestors opened the “White Horse Inn & Brewery” in Sint Odiliënberg, Netherlands. The opening of this quaint ale inn for wayward travelers led to 340 years of exceptional beer and brewing legacy in her family. Her great-great-great-great-grandfather immigrated to the Twin Cities in the 1860s, working as a teamster and serving St. Paul's bustling Upper Levee brewery neighborhood, and her great-grandfather worked at the historic Jacob Schmidt brewery in St. Paul. Additionally, her father has been a brewmaster for as long as Fran can recall. She describes her first experience with beer as a family affair: she sat at the dinner table with her family and noted, after having a sip, how fruity the beer on their dinner table was. She laughs as she recalls her first beer fest at the age of eleven with her parents. She found the experience exciting!

While Fran embraces a rich heritage of brewing, she also maintains a heritage of clever entrepreneurship. After watching her dad’s entrepreneurial journey building a brewing business from scratch and assisting her family creatively pivot business strategies because of the COVID-19 pandemic, Fran is venturing into the brewing business. Fran and her family’s experiences in creating a community around the curious, the artistic, and the scientific side of beer are the foundation for her vision for Fytenburg Brewing.

Fytenburg Brewing, Fran’s brewing business, creates exciting conversations about science, art, and culture in brewing. Take foam, for example: foam is not merely a visual aesthetic floating on top of the beer. While foam on a beer sets atmosphere and ambiance and produces an important olfactory experience, there is a scientific reason for its existence. Fran explains how foam dissipates carbonation and helps aroma expand; you miss this experience when you don’t have healthy foam. If you miss the foam, carbonation is trapped in the beer and could lead to feeling bloated and full. Fytenburg Brewing provides this holistic and scientific approach to a beverage that was arguably one of the first cultivated foods.

Fytenburg Brewery offers elevated epicurean ales and lagers, “affordable luxuries”, as Fran coins them, in intimate settings. Her vision is a beautiful marriage of fermented food and gut science, to create a product that is superbly crafted. The ales and lagers she serves will be more than beer: they will be conduits to conversation steeped in curiosity and history, a balm to those who care about their health, food sources, and authenticity. In an intelligent industry that uses only a handful of ingredients to make a wide variety of styles, Fran is offering a new, yet historic, experience within the thriving Twin Cities beer scene.

Fran is a WomenVenture Small Business Essentials graduate, a Certified Beer Server through the Cicerone program, and studied at the Siebel Institute of Technology, one of the country’s premier brewing schools. Fran will open an intimate location for brewing experiences in her facility space, located in the historic Schmidt brewery horse stables in St. Paul, in the future. Experience her “affordable luxuries” at the St. Croix Brewing Company in Stillwater, owned by her mother, in the spring of 2023 with opening the “Public House” taproom. Visit her at Fytenburgbeer.com for more information.

The future is foamy for Fytenburg Brewery.

Author: Lily Griffin, WomenVenture Event Coordinator