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

  • Fair State Team Growth


    Happy summertime from Fair State. We have been enjoying lots of tropical pale ales and super crisp lagers next to the grill, and we’ve also been making some additions and changes to our team that we’re really excited about. We thought you might be, too:

    Some of you came by to celebrate Charlie’s last shift behind the bar. As our Taproom Manager and sometimes promotional model, Charlie has been an outstanding ambassador for the beers and community that are the hallmarks of Fair State. He’s switching to a back-of-house role in order to have more time to lead the charge in taking good care of our physical space and curating a fun and inclusive mix of programming. Charlie is now leading a new group of Beertenders, instilling the spirit of Charlieness throughout the taproom. We are excited to see this team, which now includes Sean Lipinski, Alicia Bird, John Wynn, and Patric Driessen, grow under his leadership.

    We’ve been excited to spend more time introducing customers in greater Minnesota to Fair State. We’re currently hiring for our Street Team in Bemidji, Brainerd, Duluth, Mankato, St. Cloud, and Rochester for the first time, in addition to the Twin Cities region. We have also hired a new full-time Sales Representative, Anthony Pukay, to help us be an even bigger part of the outstanding craft beer culture in Twin Cities bars, restaurants, event spaces, and liquor stores.

    As our production volume has grown and we’ve introduced new products, the complexity of our brewing operations has greatly increased. As such, we have identified the need to create more nuanced production roles.

    To this end, we just posted a Lead Brewer job. Niko will continue to be our Head Brewer and will rely on the Lead Brewer to manage the day-to-day operations of our brewing and cellaring team. This will give Niko the time to focus more on driving innovation at Fair State. He will commit more of his time to new product development (including fun limited-releases in cans and lots more special, taproom-only beer), guiding our brewing philosophy and direction, and managing special projects.


    We’ve hired a number of Packaging Technicians over Winter and Spring and now have a great team of skillful, energetic people to get our beer ready for sale. Specifically, we’d like to call out Jake Graham, Chad Hoffer, Anders Bloomquist, and David Anderson for doing a great job putting our favorite beer into our favorite cans. We’re going to lean on them, even more, when long-time employee Jim Pankratz, currently our Warehouse and Packaging Manager, moves to Iowa. We’ll initially hire another Warehouse and Packaging Manager and then split that role out so that we can do more special canning projects and implement some more sophisticated materials handling practices.

    IPA Cans

    As we adapt and grow, there will surely be more additions and changes, and we’ll look forward to sharing them. In all of this, our goal is to deliver enjoyable beer of outstanding quality and to honor the festive and inclusive community that has supported us for the last three and a half years. We’re so grateful for your work, patronage, and membership.


  • 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

  • Jason Pattit


    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 homebrewed for many years with his father Ron when he worked as a chemical engineer. 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 frequently bring their
    children to the warm and inviting taproom for a family dinner.

  • 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 Morrison


    Sarah is a hop-lover and IPA enthusiast, long-time supporter of the local beer scene, and an early member-owner for Fair State Brewing Cooperative (Member #58) having joined months before the taproom existed. She’s an a business-development-focused professional with experience in the food and beverage industry working for a local tech start up that builds mobile apps for real estate companies. She’s eager to help Fair State Brewing Cooperative develop their business and grow their presence in this beer-soaked market. She’s excited to be part of the Board and have the opportunity to play a more active role in the beer community and believes, as Fair State does, that through quality beer we can build a vibrant, growing community that celebrates quality and cooperation.

  • Tom Thaden

    Vice President

    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.

  • Read Winkelman

    Read Winkelman has been involved with Fair State since August of 2013 when he and his wife Deirdre signed up for a household membership as #62. Read has served on the Board since the Fall of 2013. Read’s regular job is Vice President of Sales with a software company serving the higher education and healthcare markets.
    When he’s not at the FSBC taproom, Read is spending time with his wife, 3 kids (Grace, Eamon, and Quinn) at their home in St. Paul.
  • Mike Schacherer

    Board Member

    Mike is a VP and Creative Director of Minneapolis design agency Little. In that role he has been involved with Fair State since the beginning, working with Evan, Matt, and Niko through the brewery’s naming, branding, and taproom design. He’s currently involved with Fair State promotions and packaging design, and won’t rest until there’s an infinity-pint tap handle in every bar and fresh Fair State 6-packs in every beer cooler.