Our story starts on the rugby pitch, where founder Evan Sallee, Niko Tonks, and Matt Hauck first met while playing for rival teams. The competition turned into friendship and while homebrewing together the idea of founding a brewery started simmering. Then, the notion of a cooperatively owned brewery came to life when the three founders had beers together at Black Star Co-op in Austin.
Our founders believed the operations of craft breweries were opaque and that there was a gap between being a homebrewer and owning a brewery. The founders’ hope was that the co-op model would provide a way for consumers to be more involved in operations while also bringing co-op values to the Minnesota craft beer scene.
Member support drives our success.
The founders' vision resonated with family, friends, and neighbors. Early on we received support from local retail partners and nearly three hundred members joined the co-op before the taproom doors even opened. On September 6, 2014, Fair State Co-op became the first cooperatively-owned brewery in Minnesota, and the third in the country. In the years since we opened, co-op members have helped design beer recipes, picked fresh berries for our annual fruited sour, volunteered countless hours through our Cooperates program, and formed meaningful relationships with each other and our staff.
The cooperative’s membership is currently over 1,500 and growing every day. In 2017, we added a 40,000 square foot production facility to meet growing demand in distribution. At the original Northeast brewery, we continue to brew innovative small-batch beers that feature hard-to-source and local ingredients. Often these limited beers are only available at the taproom or through the cooperative’s bottle subscription program, Journeys + Sidequests.
Each month we support a different non-profit organization through donations and volunteerism.
Join the Co-op
Co-op members get special discounts and preferred access to our beer.
The Leadership Team
Founder, Head Brewer
Founder, Brand Ambassador
Director of Brewing Operations
Director of Sales
Brand Experience Manager