Fair State Cooperates: Association for Black Economic Power

If you asked someone a few years ago what kinds of cooperatives they knew of, they probably wouldn’t say “brewery.” In fact, before 2014, there weren’t any cooperatively owned breweries in Minnesota. Yet here we are today. That’s because when we started the brewery, we wanted to provide a space for the community to get together, to share ideas and skills, and of course, to drink beer. We are made up of community members, for community members.

So in the spirit of shining a light on organizations with a similar focus on community gathering and change-making, we can look to our February Cooperates Partner– the Association for Black Economic Power.

In 2016, Twin Cities residents got together to form a community organization by the name of Blexit– in efforts to “cultivate the practice of economic civil resistance.” It was through these meetings that the members began to focus on black banking– this lead to the late 2016 launch of the Association for Black Economic Power.

So what are they doing? Well, by 2019 they hope to establish a federally chartered black-led credit union: The Village Trust Financial Cooperative (VTFC).

The leaders of ABEP and VTFC chose the credit union model (rather than traditional banking) because it follows the “not for profit, not for charity, but for service” ideals. The overarching goal for VTFC is to serve the underserved within the Black community who have been previously excluded from traditional financial institutions.


The VTFC name itself was voted on by the North Minneapolis community through a 2017 campaign that ran from April to June.

Part of the establishment process involves collecting pledges from potential members. Through pledge collection on their website, ABEP is able to gather the information needed to make sure they are prioritizing the services that the community most values– and gather the proof needed to show they have significant community support and interest. Their current goal is to gain five thousand pledges from those who are interested in using the credit union once it is open.


If you’re interested in learning more about the organization and the credit union, you can come to the Taproom on February 22. ABEP will host a panel to discuss community buy-in, policy, as well as economic resistance– all within the context of the creation of the Village Trust Financial Cooperative. If you want to pledge to be a part of it all, you can do so online or at this event– pledging is open to all, regardless of race.

Plus, for every CROWLER you buy, 10% of sales will go right back to ABEP and their mission.

Don’t miss out on this great opportunity to support our neighbors on the Northside — join us!


Photos courtesy of www.abepmn.org 

Fair State Cooperates January: Juxtaposition Arts

Juxtaposition Arts Team

When Fair State began in 2014, we were the first of our brewery-cooperative kind in Minnesota. Joining the ranks of other types of cooperatives in the cities, we wanted to bring a stronger sense of community to the brewing world to share ideas and expand opportunities.

Though it’s not cooperative itself, Juxtaposition Arts (JXTA) values much of the same sentiments around community and professional growth. By inviting students across the cities, and primarily the Northside, to participate and learn within an engaged community, JXTA embodies the spirit of creative opportunity.

This month, to show our support, Fair State has partnered with JXTA to donate ten percent of all CROWLER sales to their programming.

JXTA began in 1995 and has steadily grown over the past two decades. It not only provides a community space for young urban artists to learn and practice their craft but it also offers several pathways for students to learn– through workshops and apprenticeships alike.


Juxtaposition Arts Team

One program, the Visual Art Literacy Training workshop — also known as VALT — gives students a hands-on opportunity to create art with the guidance of industry professionals. This program is the precursor to students joining the Art Lab program, in which they can become a paid artist apprentice. In this program, students choose a specific artistic focus to study and practice– from screenprinting to public art and mural art, from graphic design to environmental design.

JXTA is located on the Northside of the city, and primarily employs students who have some connection to the Northside area. They opened their first location and headquarters on Emerson Avenue in 2004, and later expanded into a building on West Broadway just a few miles from our Taproom. These spaces include galleries, offices, programming spaces, and artist studios.

Last Thanksgiving, JXTA also participated in “Black Friday on Broadway” an initiative to focus on the stores and businesses along West Broadway. At the event, JXTA sold art, t-shirts, and textiles all created by the students in the programs.

Most recently, JXTA was awarded a special $50,000 grant from the Super Bowl Host Committee Legacy Fund. This grant will help them design and build the first skate park in North Minneapolis. Youth apprentices in the Environmental Design Lab will work on the conceptualization and the design of the space, in collaboration with other local organizations.

To learn more about Juxtaposition Arts and their initiatives for 2018, you can visit their website. To help Juxtaposition Arts fund some of those initiatives for 2018, buy a CROWLER and automatically donate 10%.

To the community of creative opportunity — cheers!

Produce Distribution with SACA

This month the Fair State Cooperators are helping out with SACA Food Shelf & Thrift Store. During these late Summer months, SACA receives shipments of fresh produce from local farms on six separate occasions. The produce is then given out in SACA‘s parking lot. Last year, over the course of six Saturdays, they gave out over 42,000 pounds of food and averaged 225 families and households per Saturday.

This is where the Cooperators come in. On the morning of Saturday, August 12th, we will be bagging, handing out, and carrying the produce out to the cars. If it’s hot, we’ll put up canopies. If it rains, we will work inside the warehouse. Our volunteers are ready for everything!


We had a lovely morning for handing out food with SACA. Our volunteers spread out and covered the different tasks that helped send the fresh produce on its way to various homes.

We had an incredible amount of food to hand out. Bags full of cans, boxes of asparagus, pallets of cucumbers. Okay, just one pallet of cucumbers, but that is a lot, and hand it out we did.

Some folks with limited mobility needed a hand with their bags. That was always my favorite part. I walked with them, down the line of bountiful tables, and they could pick out which fruit and vegetables they wanted. In doing so we would exchange names and have a friendly little conversation. The people were always so grateful for the food, and the extra hand. I couldn’t help but smiling a big silly grin the whole time.

In a relatively quick time, the Cooperators, and some other organizations, managed to distribute healthy and fresh produce to over 250 families. I’d say that’s a pretty nice little Saturday.

Donate Your Discount

In the last 18 months, our Fair State Cooperates program has successfully donated thousands of dollars to our nonprofit partners. As the brewery and our membership expands, so does our community-based initiative.

When we first launched FSC, $1 from every growler and $.50 from every 750ml purchase went to our partner of the month. This Spring we began the transition to CROWLERs, and with it, increased giving. Now, 10% of all CROWLER and growler sales go to our nonprofit partner.

Recently, we decided to change this yet again. The idea did not come from us, however. I was playing around with the new CROWLER 3 pack carriers, trying to design a 9 pack holder, and ultimately succeeding. A couple member-owners sitting at the bar could see the pride I had in my invention, and thus decided to give it a test by purchasing nine CROWLERs of IPA. For those of you that do not yet know, every time you purchase three CROWLERs in the taproom, there is a $2 price break. This couple just so happened to have a $6 break on their purchase. Instead of pocketing their discount, they asked if the savings could be passed on to the month’s Cooperates partner. Charlie and I looked at each other, and said “yes, we’ll figure something out.” Shortly thereafter, a few of us had a sit-down, and figured out how we can make such an occurrence a standard option.

Introducing Donate Your Discount!
Now, any time you have some sort of price break in your taproom purchase, you can elect to pay full price and pass the savings along to the month’s selected nonprofit partner. The most common ways this will be used is for $2 off CROWLER 3 packs, or $1 off pints during member happy hour. By default, we will always give you the discount. Only if you state “I would like to donate my discount” will we charge full price, and pass along your donation.

The Donate Your Discount program will operate in addition to the existing 10% of sales donations.

– Davin

A Day Without Immigrants

Friday, 2.17 Update

Because of your efforts to support #DayWithoutImmigrants yesterday, we are donating $4,310.15 to The Advocates for Human Rights, and the Immigrant Law Center of Minnesota. Thank you to our community of members, friends, and employees.

To our neighbors who are facing uncertainty: We stand with you. We stand for you. And we won’t stop. To do great things and realize the potential of our humanity, we must do so together.

Thursday, 2.16

Today, numerous organizations and individuals are mobilizing for “A Day Without Immigrants” to show the value that immigrants provide to our communities. Some local businesses are closing or modifying their operations as part of a Day Without Immigrants to highlight the positive effect of immigrants on our communities and convey support for immigrants and opposition to dehumanizing, unfair, and counterproductive immigration policies. Fair State stands with these organizations, and we encourage our community of member-owners and beer lovers to do the same.

We founded Fair State to generate social capital in our community – we wanted to build a brewery that fully recognized that our communities are strongest when we build together. As a brewery, we have the unique pleasure of being in the business of producing a beverage that unites people in celebration and fosters community through conversation. Beer is central to that core concept of civilization – that in order to do great things and realize the potential of our humanity, we must do so together. This is why it is incumbent on us to fundamentally resist any policies that reject the core humanity of our friends and neighbors, that pit us against each other, and that seek to tear our communities apart rather than build them up.

This is why today Fair State is taking action. We will remain open because we believe that our mission of building a community can best be served by remaining a place for people to gather. Instead of closing, we will be actively supporting two local organizations that provide much needed legal assistance to immigrants and those seeking asylum: The Advocates for Human Rights, and the Immigrant Law Center of Minnesota. We have encouraged all of our employees to donate their day’s wages to one of these organizations, and Fair State itself will match these donations. We want to encourage all of you to support these causes as well. We have set up a donation page – all donations will go to support those two organizations. Also, Member-Owners will receive the usual Happy Hour pricing all day.  They have the option to pay the regular price and have the discount difference go towards today’s cause, and Fair State will match these donations.

Finally, Central & Lowry is one of the finest culinary hubs in the Twin Cities. Many of the restaurants in our community are owned, managed, and staffed by immigrants. We want to encourage all of you to support these restaurants, whether or not they choose to close today.  You can find a complete list of these businesses here.


Fair State Cooperates: 2016 and Forward


As 2016 comes to a close, so does the inaugural year of our Fair State Cooperates program. We teamed up with twelve different non-profit organizations to raise funds and awareness, while also lending a hand. Everything about this initiative has been made possible by our community of members and taproom regulars.


If you stopped by the taproom to purchase a growler in 2016, then you helped support one of Minnesota’s excellent non-profit organizations. Every growler that went home with a customer was also a dollar that went to a non-profit. Several thousand dollars donated, just by buying beer.


In addition to growlers, we also used work gloves. Every organization has its own unique needs that we did our best to accommodate. Each partnership provided a different experience for members, staff, and regulars to come together and get our hands dirty. Monthly volunteer events ranged from landscaping to bike wrenching, to preparing food, to crafting art with kids.


One day that readily comes to mind, was working with Friends of the Mississippi River back in July. A dozen volunteers gathered in the Beer Garden. Adam and Trevor from FMR gave us a quick lesson on the water table, the river, and the stuff that goes through our drains. We then split into three groups and covered the brewery’s surrounding neighborhood. Each group was equipped with a stencil, paint, and informational brochures. We cleaned and stenciled each storm drain with the message DUMP NO WASTE, DRAINS TO RIVER. It was a beautiful day, and neighbors became curious about the folks in red shirts cleaning and decorating drains. The Fair State Cooperators enthusiastically spoke to the importance of clean storm drains, shared a brochure, and made a plug for the local brewery’s volunteer program. In addition to doing some work in the wonderful weather, the day was great because we met some neighbors, and people seemed genuinely appreciative of the effort. The day finished with the new tradition of gathering back at the taproom for a couple pints on the house, and some delicious replenishing snacks donated by Eastside Food Co-op.




2016 was a great first year for the program. We had fun, made connections, and found areas to improve upon. If you have not already joined us, I hope that this is the year you spend some time with Fair State Cooperates. This Fall at our annual meeting, member-owners selected our non-profit partners for the 2017 year. Without further adieu, the line-up for next year is…


College Possible
Center for Victims of Torture
Friends of the Mississippi
Greater Minneapolis Crisis Nursery
Family Tree Clinic
Planned Parenthood
Animal Humane Society
Eastside Neighborhood Services
SACA Food Shelf
Free Arts Minnesota
Can Do Canines
Children’s Cancer Research Fund


This project has been a fun one to develop, and I am excited to see what it becomes. If you are interested in learning more, wish to get involved, or nominate future Fair State Cooperates non-profit partners, please contact me at davin@fairstate.coop.


– Davin
Membership Coordinator


July with Friends of the Mississippi

Some of the finest beauty in our state is in the water. Our lakes and rivers are a substantial part of our Minnesota identity. For July, we are teaming up with the good folks at Friends of the Mississippi River (FMR). Every time you purchase a growler in the taproom, $1 will go to support the efforts of FMR!

On Saturday July 16th, 1-3pm, Fair State Cooperates will be joining FMR for a volunteer event to stencil storm drains.

Event Description:
After a brief introduction and presentation about run-off pollution at the brewery from FMR’s Stewardship Coordinator Adam Flett, we’ll head out to the nearby streets for the stenciling activity. Armed with spray paint, a stencil and traffic cones, we’ll stencil “Keep ’em Clean, Drains to River” next to storm drains. Volunteers also distribute educational door hangers to nearby homes and businesses, making a visual connection between the newly stenciled drains and local water quality, and what they can do in their home and yard to help protect our local waters.

The event will last two hours and you can sign up here!

Volunteers are encouraged to wear comfortable footwear, and clothing that can survive a little paint (a red Fair State Cooperates shirt, perhaps)

We will begin and end at Fair State. Pints & snacks (from Eastside!) to follow the stenciling!

March with Second Harvest Heartland


This month we are teaming up with Second Harvest Heartland, one of the largest food banks in the country. Last year, they provided over 77 million meals to nearly 1,000 food shelves, pantries, and partners throughout Minnesota and Wisconsin.

Every growler that you purchase this month will send $1 to Second Harvest Heartland to support their excellent work.

Fair State Cooperates: Coming up on Saturday the 19th, a group of twenty Fair State members and friends will lend a hand, and help sort food donations at the Golden Valley location. This volunteer event is already filled up, but stay tuned for monthly opportunities to get involved with Fair State Cooperates.

February with East Side Neighborhood Services


Our February partner is East Side Neighborhood Services (ESNS), a nonprofit human services agency that provides basic needs resources and social services. With a focus on individuals, families, and neighborhoods in Northeast and Southeast Minneapolis. Formed in 1915, the organization recently turned 100, and has helped 11,500 individuals (in 2010 alone) through a broad range of community-based social services.

Every growler purchased in February will send $1 to help ESNS with their great work.

Fair State Cooperates: On Saturday the 6th, ESNS will be hosting their annual Twin Cities Snowshoe Shuffle. Team Fair State, defending champions (of the spirit, and second place finishers), will be competing once more against other local breweries. And while that happens, Fair State Cooperates – our volunteer crew – will be helping ESNS with event day logistics. Keep your eyes open for more ways to get involved with Fair State Cooperates!

Fair State Cooperates – Animal Humane Society



Happy New Year, everybody!

Today we are excited to announce a new program at Fair State, a collaborative effort between the brewery, our member-owners, and the community that we call home.

Introducing Fair State Cooperates. Every month we will be teaming up with a different local organization, as selected by our membership. Starting today, $1 of every growler sale will be donated to our featured partner organization of the month. At some point during the month we will facilitate a volunteer opportunity for our member-owners to help out as best the partner organization sees fit. A chance to put down the pint, and get the hands a little dirty.

final color_AHS logo web ready

To kick things off, our first partner is the Animal Humane Society of Minnesota. Every growler of Fair State beer that you purchase in January will help to fund the important work that they do with our fuzzy friends. In lieu of a large volunteer event, the Animal Humane Society has asked us to run a drive to collect much needed items for the animals. This could include anything from leashes and toys, to treats and cleaning supplies. There is an extensive list of super helpful items (much you’d never think of) available here. Please take a look and see what you can do to help. We will be collecting these items in the taproom throughout the month of January.

For more information, please visit the links below or stop by the taproom. We have a variety of materials on hand. If you are interest in getting more involved with the Animal Humane Society,  there are opportunities for individuals to volunteer and become important contributors to the lives of these animals.

Stay tuned for more events and opportunities with Fair State Cooperates. And thank you for being such an awesome and supportive community! We are excited for all the good things to come.

Last October at our annual meeting, member-owners created a list of organizations that they would like to work with for fundraising and volunteer initiatives in the year to come. If you have any questions or wish to nominate an organization, please contact our member coordinator Davin Haukebo-Bol at davin@fairstate.coop

List of needed items

Animal Humane Society