Our Story

Our goal is to put the natural connection between brewer and community to work to create something that truly belongs to us all. Creating infinite community and quality craft beers.

the team

  • Evan Sallee

    President & CEO; Chief Holder of Fancy Titles

    Evan Sallee grew up in Bloomington, IN before moving to Northfield, MN in 2002 to attend Carleton College. That same year he met both Niko Tonks and craft beer, and the three have never been the same since. An avid home brewer since well before he could legally drink the beer he made, craft beer has been a part of his entire adult life. After working for a few years in the Twin Cities he made his way down to Chicago to attend Northwestern University for law school. Upon graduating he immediately moved back to the Twin Cities to truly start his dream of opening a brewery that doesn’t suck. It’s still a work in progress.

  • Niko Tonks

    Head Brewer

    Niko has been working in breweries since 2010. He was previously a brewer at Live Oak Brewing Company in Austin, TX and at Sociable Cider Werks locally. He has been with Fair State since the very beginning.

  • Matt Hauck

    Director of Operations

    Matt holds a B.A. from Macalester College and a M.P.P. from the University of Minnesota. He serves as the Director of Operations for Fair State, handling a variety of fun things, from sales and distribution to being the finest wielder of a circular saw. Matt also serves as Treasurer on the board of directors for Eat for Equity. He has been a passionate homebrewer for 6 years.

our board

  • Fair State Co-op Board Elections

    So you want to be on the board…

    I mean, I totally get it. Being a FSBC board member is pretty great. There are no other meetings I attend on a regular basis that involve a delightful selection of beer. I have so much pride in the product and the company and I love being an ambassador for the brand. It’s a great professional development opportunity. There are great perks (free beer!).

    That being said, being on the board of Fair State Co-op is a commitment and is real work. We are not a social club; we have fiduciary and fiscal responsibility for the health of the business. As elected officers, we do our best to represent the membership as a whole. Sometimes this means being critical or having hard conversations. Sometimes this means being cheerleaders. This is incredibly fulfilling work (and again, we get to do it with beer in hand), but it is work!

    I’m not saying any of this to discourage anyone from running. Just the opposite! Please do run for the board. Fair State Co-op is no longer just an awesome taproom, it’s also a commercial production and manufacturing facility that brews beer for multiple distribution markets coast to coast. We need passionate, dedicated, and driven members to step up and help bring Fair State Co-op to the next level. Due to some long-serving Board members completing their terms, we have 4 seats up for election this year, 3 of which will be vacant. This is a turning point in the Coop’s history and I’m thrilled at the opportunity to bring on a new wave of ideas, perspectives, and skill sets.

    Speaking of skill sets, here are some example skills and experiences that will complement the current Board and make serving a more rewarding and fulfilling opportunity:

    • Business leadership and management experience
    • Non-profit or cooperative experience
    • Community building and organization experience
    • Comfortability reviewing and analyzing financial statements and other business documents

    I also want to offer a realistic idea of commitments and expectations for board members. So, here’s what to expect:

    • 6 in-person Board meetings per year. We meet every other month at the FS production brewery in St. Paul. Meetings run 2 ½ to 3 hours. You can find the 2019 schedule HERE.
    • 1-3 additional working sessions or committee meetings per quarter. Depending on the needs of the coop and the committees you choose to join, this number will vary. All Board members are required to serve on at least one committee.
    • 6-8 hours of onboarding work—this is a one-time thing to get you up to speed on the board policies, procedures, responsibilities etc.
    • Prep and follow-up work from the above meetings and working sessions. Again, this varies per person, but I would expect to spend 5 hours per month on additional board work.
    • Attendance at and participation in various FSBC events. We understand that not everyone can be at every event, but there is an expectation that Board Members SHOW UP! This might mean stepping outside your comfort zone or prioritizing differently.
    • Be a loud and proud ambassador for FSBC. We hope that every member is already doing this, but you will be surprised the sorts of conversations being a Board Member will lead to!
    • Free Beer! We are a volunteer board, so your time is not compensated. However, there are certainly some excellent beer perks.

    So there you have it! We have several events coming up where you can find out more, but if you have questions, you can contact the board at any time by emailing: asktheboard@fairstate.coop


    Michael Obermire
    Chair of the Board of Directors, Member #811



    Meet the Board: Sunday 3/24, 3-5pm & Monday 4/1, 6-8pm at the NE Taproom

    Board Application Deadline: Wednesday 4/17 at 11:59pm

    Meet the Candidates: Thursday 4/25, 6-8pm at the NE Taproom

    Member Meeting & Election: Sunday 4/28 at the St. Paul Production Brewery

    Thank You Party & Board Announcement: Saturday 5/4 at the NE Taproom

  • Megan Murphy

    Board Member

    Megan is a proud member-owner of Fair State Brewing Cooperative (#577), and hopes to contribute her passion for craft beer and community-focused business practices, as well as knowledge of accounting, to the Board. When Megan isn’t working, she enjoys reading at local cafes and hunting for Lake Superior agates (sometimes successfully). On Thursday nights, you will likely find Megan in the taproom sipping new and unique beers, in the company of other coop members and friends.

  • Kate Ballard

    Records Officer
    Kate is an elementary ESL teacher with Minneapolis Public Schools. She has been a patron at Fair State since its early days and is a proud resident of Northeast Minneapolis . She could not possibly be more excited to have the opportunity to serve on the FSBC Board of Directors. She hopes to contribute to the community focus of the board’s work and to serve as a representative of the fabulous members and community that she is proud to be a part of. (Has she mentioned community? It’s really important to her.)
    She can often be found in the taproom with her boyfriend John and their two canine companions.
  • Michael Obermire

    Board Member

    Michael’s day job is at Brewers Supply Group (BSG), a supplier of premium ingredients to craft brewers, winemakers, home fermentation retailers, craft distillers and cider makers throughout the US and Canada. Prior to that, he worked in retail grocery in California, working closely with beer, wine, and spirits distributors in the region. Michael earned his MBA from the University of Portland, where he discovered his passion for craft beer and the cooperative spirit of the craft beer industry. Despite living in St. Paul, Michael loves to sip on a Pils or IPA while eating tacos at the taproom.

  • Jason Pattit

    Board Chair

    Jason is a professor in the Opus College of Business at the University of St. Thomas where he teaches strategy in various MBA programs. Jason is an avid homebrewer and he is excited to bring his passion for craft beer and his expertise in strategy to the Board to help Fair State achieve its mission of producing award-winning beers with a focus on quality, community, and cooperation.
    Jason and his wife Katherina are regulars at New Beer Thursday, and they frequently bring their whole family to the warm and inviting taproom.

  • Elliot Ginsburg

    Board Member

    Elliot Ginsburg is a partner at Garner & Ginsburg, P.A. where he represents franchisees and dealers.  On behalf of his clients, Elliot has dealt with a variety of legal issues including fraud, breach of contract, statutory violations, and violations of the covenant of good faith and fair dealing.  He also represents a growing number of brewers and distillers in various areas, including trademark, regulatory, and other business matters.

  • Julia Gallagher

    Board Member

    Julia has spent the last nine years working in various capacities in Twin Cities theaters and currently works in the Production Dept at the Minnesota Opera. She is one of the earliest members of Fair State, having been aware of the brewery since its inception and also serving as an early taste-tester of potential recipes. She was an active volunteer in FSBCs initial phases and served as the volunteer & catering coordinator for the launch party back in March of 2013.  She is thrilled to serve on the board and is excited to bring her non-profit sensibilities to the co-op model, with focuses on member and civic engagement.  Julia spends every Wednesday evening in the taproom with her husband and friends, trying (and failing) to conquer trivia.

  • Sarah Olson

    Vice Chair

    Sarah is a hop-lover and IPA enthusiast, long-time supporter of the local beer scene, and an early member-owner of Fair State Brewing Cooperative (Member #58) having joined months before the taproom opened. She’s been on the Board since the very beginning. Outside of the Board, she is a product owner for a financial services company, focusing on mobile technology, and she and her husband live in North Minneapolis. She has enjoyed this opportunity to play a more active role in FSBC and to champion their mission to create a vibrant, growing community that celebrates quality and cooperation.

  • Tom Thaden

    Board Member

    Tom works for CHS as a Regional Sales Manager where he works closely with Energy Managers and General Managers to help grow their energy business at their local cooperatives. He and his wife Katie have been married for 25 years and are the proud parents of two sons. Brett (23) lives in Brooklyn Center and just started at William Mitchell College of Law, and Matt (20) is a sophomore at UMD in Duluth, MN studying criminology.

    In his spare time he enjoys an occasional round of golf as well as playing baseball for the Burnsville Bulldogs 35 and over baseball team. He and his wife enjoy traveling and finding local breweries and beer festivals. Cheers.