Now Hiring: Full-Time Brewer

Fair State Brewing Cooperative is seeking a full-time, production Brewer to join our brewing staff in St. Paul, MN.

A little about us: Fair State is one of a very few cooperatively-owned breweries in the US. We began operations at our brewery/taproom in August of 2014. We were fortunate enough to be named one of RateBeer’s 10 best new brewers in the world for 2015, and in 2017 expanded into a 40,000 sq. ft. production brewery in St. Paul, MN. We focus on traditional German-style beers (especially lager beer), sour beer (ranging from kettle sours to 100% barrel-fermented mixed culture beers), and hoppy beers. Our products are available in Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa, and the Dakotas, as well as a handful of markets on the Eastern Seaboard and the West Coast. As a member-owned cooperative, we take seriously our ability to positively impact the communities in which we do business through our events programming, our approach to doing business, and Fair State Cooperates, our philanthropic and volunteer program.

We continue to operate the taproom and original brewery in Minneapolis, but we now perform most of our brewing and packaging for distribution in Saint Paul, which is also where our marketing and administrative staff are located. We have grown substantially in every year of our existence, and we are positioned to continue this growth in the coming years as well. As such this position and our business needs will continue to grow and evolve

Currently we operate a 7.5bbl brewhouse at the taproom location, and a 4-vessel 30 barrel brewhouse at the St. Paul location, where we also package our beer in cans and kegs.

We’re looking for a dedicated, hardworking, and knowledgeable person to join our team. . The ideal candidate would have significant brewing experience;  be willing to work across all brewing, cellaring, packaging, and quality operations; and be willing and able to contribute to our continued growth and excellence.

We are in the process of cross-training staff in order to improve our flexibility and to provide staff with development opportunities. Brewers at Fair State are responsible for more that producing wort; they are expected to collaborate with staff across the production process, to participate in all aspects of production from grain to pallet, and to be leaders in upholding and improving our internal processes.


  • Wort production on a 30bbl 4 vessel DME brewhouse
  • CIP/Sanitation of FVs, BTs, and the brewhouse
  • Cellar work including transfers, dry-hopping, centrifuging, and carbonating beer
  • Yeast management (harvesting, pitching, cell counts, etc.)
  • Cleaning kegs and kegging finished beer
  • Packaging beer (kegs and cans)
  • Conducting raw and finished materials inventory counts and following inventory management processes
  • Dealing with barrels (wine and spirit): filling, transferring, blending, cleaning, and maintenance
  • Interfacing with brewery management software, and extensive record-keeping
  • Contributing to a safe working environment by following safety procedures
  • Representing Fair State at events, as necessary
  • All the squeegee and mop work that you can handle
  • Maintaining a clean and orderly work environment
  • Operating the forklift, scissor sift and vehicles as needed
  • Participating in continuous improvement activities
  • Contributing to recipe and process development as needed

Desired Skills / Experience

  • Experience working in a production brewery
  • In-depth knowledge of the brewing process
  • Willingness to work hard, often at odd hours, and on a consistent schedule defined by our production needs
  • Ridiculous dedication to the aforementioned mop and squeegee work
  • Ability to make informed decisions independently based on appropriate information
  • Impeccable attention to recordkeeping, with excellent verbal and written communication skills
  • Very strong arithmetic, problem-solving, and mechanical skills
  • Ability to troubleshoot, find solutions under pressure, and change tasks quickly while maintaining focus and a constructive attitude
  • Willingness to work hard, find root causes, and support long-term improvements
  • Dedication to learning, improving, and contributing to a dynamic and growing team
  • Commitment to ensuring compliance with company policies and procedures
  • High school diploma or GED
  • Experience with sour beer generally, and barrel-aged/mixed culture beers especially, is a plus
  • Experience with Orchestrated Beer a plus


  • Must be at least 21 years of age as of the time of application
  • Able to operate a wide variety of small hand tools.
  • Able to read, comprehend, and communicate with others using written and spoken English.
  • Able to sit (including drive) or stand for prolonged periods of time
  • Able to stoop, crawl, twist, turn, lift, kneel, climb ladders and stairs.
  • Able to manipulate valves and clamps.
  • Able to regularly lift/carry heavy objects (55 lbs) repeatedly and safely.
  • Able to occasionally move very heavy objects (160 lbs).
  • Able to comply with safe chemical handling procedures, including personal protection equipment such as gloves and goggles.
  • Able to safely work on ladders and elevated platforms and in confined spaces
  • Able to safely operate vehicles and material handling equipment (e.g., vans, trucks, hand trucks, scissor lifts).
  • Able to use a computer.
  • Able to work in a production environment with noise, strong odors, wet surfaces, and movement.
  • Able to read and interpret numerical and graphical reports
  • Must have a valid driver’s license, reliable personal transportation, be able to safely operate vehicles, and be able to pass insurance driving record review
  • Able to work in a fast-paced environment with high-pressure deadlines, time constraints, and distractions
  • Able to deal constructively with conflict and disagreement

Compensation and Benefits

This is a full-time, hourly position. Compensation is $22 / hr.  As a full-time employee, this role is also eligible for:

  • Health benefits
  • Paid holidays
  • PTO, accrued at a rate equal to 4 weeks annually
  • IRA with employer matching up to 3% (eligible in 2020)
  • Employee Assistance Program
  • Discounted membership in our cooperative (after 6 months)
  • Credit for Fair State clothing merchandise at hire
  • Annual safety clothing & equipment stipend
  • Employee beer stipend
  • Fair State merchandise and beer discounts

To apply, email a resume and cover letter to Applications will be accepted and interviews conducted on a rolling basis, and we’re looking for someone to start ASAP.

It’s Time for Zoot!

We all know the feeling of the first true spring day in Minnesota–you look out the window, and suddenly it’s fresh green grass, full pink buds and sunbeams. Zoot! is the beer for that day. It’s a witbier, and those typically have a creamy mouthfeel, fruity yeast flavors, and a hint of citrus and spice. Zoot! has all of that, plus a little extra springtime kick.

We started with a straightforward witbier, but instead of adding citrus (in this case, grapefruit and lime) in the beginning during the boil, we add it in the fermenter to capture a sharper, fresher zip. We also blend in some kettle sour beer–enough to brighten up the final beer with a refreshing tartness without overpowering the delicate yeastiness. Zoot! pairs especially well with Pad Thai, granny smith apples, and the first day you break out your favorite shorts.


Zoot! is now available at a craft beer retailer near you.
We strongly suggest calling the retailer ahead of time to check their current availability.

Call your senator to support Fair State Co-op

We need your urgent help to support Minnesota breweries seeking to sell growlers, crowlers, bottles, and cans from our taproom. The MN Senate is voting on two amendments, the Growler Cap and Vessel Size Expansion amendments, this week. These two amendments remove restrictions that prohibit MN breweries from offering beer in the vessel size that is most appropriate for our customers.


If these amendments pass, Minnesota breweries of all sizes will be able to sell beer

from their taprooms in vessels between 350ml – 2L (a standard can – a European Growler).


What would the success of these amendments mean for you?

  • You can buy growlers from any Minnesota taproom that wants to sell them
  • You’ll gain access to more shelf-stable beer in smaller package sizes
  • You’ll see more breweries canning, and therefore, selling their beer in liquor stores


What would the success of these amendments mean for your favorite MN breweries?

  • Breweries get to decide which package sizes best suit their beer and their customers
  • Higher-production breweries would no longer have to halt growler sales as they grow


What you can do:

CALL and EMAIL your senator and tell them to support the Growler Cap and Vessel Size Expansion amendments when they vote on the Omnibus Liquor bill (SF 2130) in early April.


Lookup your senator here:


Sample Script

Hello Senator __________. I live in your district and am a customer of (local brewery). I’m a fan of Minnesota Craft Beer and the impact craft brewers have on our community, tourism, and economy. I think the vessel size restrictions imposed by existing law are unfair to Minnesota craft brewers and customers. When you vote on the Omnibus Liquor Bill (SF 2130), I encourage you to support the Growler Cap and Vessel Expansion amendments, which would allow Minnesota breweries of all sizes to sell beer from their taprooms in package sizes that make sense for their business and their customers. Your vote can impact more than 160 small businesses in Minnesota. Thank you for your support. 


The Senate may vote on SF 2130 as early as April 2, and they need to hear from you first! Just 5 minutes of your time could have a massive impact on the MN Craft Beer scene.


Read more from the MN Craft Brewer’s Guild HERE.


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:


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

Fair State Co-op Hard Water Brewed Seltzer


Hard Water Brewed Seltzer is now available at a craft beer retailer near you.
We strongly suggest calling the retailer ahead of time to check their current availability.


Fair State Brewing Cooperative releases Hard Water Brewed Seltzer for distribution in Minnesota on April 1, 2019. Hard Water Brewed Seltzer is a bubbly-water party starter crafted with whole ingredients and just enough party to make it pop.

Consumers have driven explosive growth in hard seltzer over the last two years, and a number of craft breweries, international spirits conglomerates, and corporate macro breweries have jumped into the category to meet demand. Fair State Brewing Cooperative has developed a product that honors the Co-op’s commitment to brewing a quality product with craft and integrity and that gives consumers something genuinely different.

Hard Water Brewed Seltzer celebrates the fun side of seltzers with bright, striking packaging, sophisticated flavors made from whole ingredients, and a 16-oz “tallboy” format that’s perfect for patio season, backyard barbeques, and concerts.

Hard Water Brewed Seltzer is available in two flavors: Lemongrass + Ginger + Lemon and Hibiscus + Orange Zest. Both are brewed with whole, real ingredients that give the seltzers distinctive colors, unlike clear seltzers made from processed extracts. “The ‘whole ingredients’ thing was a choice that had to get made pretty early on,” said Head Brewer and Co-Founder Niko Tonks. “In the end, I’m happy to produce a product that doesn’t look like our competitors.” The Co-op fell in love with hibiscus when it created Roselle, a tart and floral beer brewed with hibiscus, and to date has brewed several beers with lemongrass, including LӒCTOBӒC, a refreshing sour beer that also included ginger, and Party Forward, a hazy IPA.  Lemongrass + Ginger + Lemon Hard Water Brewed Seltzer pairs exceptionally well with Pad Thai and Hibiscus + Orange Zest is the perfect companion to a piece of decadent chocolate cake.




Strata DDH Hazy IPA


Strata is now available at a craft beer retailer near you.
We strongly suggest calling the retailer ahead of time to check their current availability.

Single Hop DDH Hazy IPA | 6.2% ABV | Behind the Beer
Head Brewer, Niko Tonks, on the evolution of Fair State Co-op’s newest hazy beer, Strata;

“Strata is a hop that is currently grown exclusively by Indie Hops, from Oregon. We’ve been buying from Indie Hops since day one, and we were lucky enough to get some of this hop way back when it was known as x331 experimental. So we made an IPA that we called “x331,” and then a couple of other IPAs after that, back in the taproom-only days. Spirit Foul was the first can release beer we used Strata in heavily, and the only other canned beer that had Strata in it was Mr. Falcon. 

We brewed this as a single hop beer because Strata is a new hop variety that we think is incredible and that people probably have not fully experienced it yet. It’s been used in lots of things, but I haven’t seen many beers made exclusively with it yet. It’s not very often that you are exposed to a new hop variety that really blows your socks off. 

I like brewing with new ingredients from small producers, even when it can be a challenge to source enough for things like this. I think we’ll see a ton more Strata acreage going in over the next few years, and I wouldn’t be surprised if Strata ends up being right up there with the big name hop varieties. For that reason, it seemed like we should do whatever we can to raise its profile and make sure people know it’s a hop they should be on the lookout for. Acreage for Strata is very limited still, so it’s a challenge to get enough to do things like this!”

Strata is on draft in the taproom 2/28. Strata is packaged in 16oz cans which are making their way to stores the week of March 5th. Look for Strata in MN, WI, SD, IA, and ND.


Brewer’s Statement on Journeys + SIdequests


One of the best parts of being a brewer in a small setting is that ideas seem closer at hand, thoughts easier to pull into liquid reality. A great many wacky things – apple brandy barrel-aged barleywine made with heirloom grains and re-fermented on blackberry puree, for example – just don’t make sense for broad distribution, but are possible on a small scale.

Now that our Saint Paul Brewery is running with a great team, it’s taken a lot of pressure off of our original, tiny brewery in Minneapolis. That equipment, and I, are now begging for a chance to brew the kinds of “What if?” beers we never had time to do before.

Our new annual bottle club, Journeys + Sidequests, is that chance, and the beers in our 2019 edition, Bag of Tricks, feature difficult-to-source or extremely local ingredients, non-traditional collaborations, and processes that we don’t normally have the time or resources to pursue. Most of them are barrel-aged or fermented, many of them are higher in the ABV register than we normally go, and all of them take risks.

I’m excited for Journeys + Sidequests because it’s an opportunity to really stretch creatively, and what makes it truly special is knowing that there are people along for the ride. You can join from now through January 31, and then we’ll start dropping bottles in February. As a gift for joining, we’ll send you some excellent merch, and you plus a guest will also be invited to a party later in the year. If this sounds as fun to you as it does to me, then I hope you’ll show your support and join now so that we can dial in our plans. Plus, member-owners get $50 off using the coupon code we’ve sent (check your email!)

We know it’s a risk to sign up for something like this, but we’re confident this particular adventure will be worth it. Thanks for being with us for so many great beers along the way, and here’s hoping you’ll share many more with us in 2019.

Niko Tonks
Co-Founder and Head Brewer
Fair State Brewing Cooperative


Click to Join the Party!

FSB 2018: Behind the Beer

FSB 2018 | Behind the Beer
Head Brewer Niko Tonks, weighs in on our heaviest beer to date…

“FSB is different every year – 2014 was a smoked RIS, fermented clean in stainless. 2015 was a barrel-aged gigantic stout fermented with Saison yeast, 2016 was a very similar approach but slightly scaled back – that beer was probably the driest imperial stout ever produced – and 2017 was a blend of barrel-aged clean stout and 3 year old Brett. old ale. For 2018, we’re putting FSB in cans for the first time, and we decided to take a pretty serious left turn from our previous approach of cultivating dryness and unorthodox fermentations. This year’s beer is squarely in the ‘pastry stout’ category – it is massively viscous, much sweeter than previous years, with tons of chocolate and roast notes. We also added a trace amount of orange zest, and a pretty big slug of vanilla.

FSB employs a pretty extreme brewing process, involving easily double the amount of malt we use in our regular beers, and some super extended-length boils, to produce the signature viscosity and complex finish. Joe, our resident pastry wizard, spent two overnights at the brewery shepherding the longest and most intense brew days we’ve ever attempted.

FSB was the first beer we ever named, approximately 10 months before we even opened. FSB are our initials, but they’re also the initials of the Russian state security agency that followed the KGB, and so the Russian Imperial Stout connection was too much to ignore. We make a bunch of different stouts throughout the year, but FSB is always the wackiest, biggest, and lowest volume one.”

FSB 2018 is packaged in 16oz cans which are marching out to craft beer stores this week. The taproom will have bottles and draft of an exclusive variant featuring cold press from Duluth Coffee Co, and a double dose of vanilla. On tap Thursday the 13th, and limited bottles Saturday 12/15 at noon.


Raspberry Roselle: Behind the Beer

It’s December! Which means Raspberry Roselle is here to brighten your long winter nights with a lovely combination of tart and jammy berry flavors.



Head Brewer Niko Tonks goes behind the beer with Raspberry Roselle…

“RASPBERRY ROSELLE WAS A NATURAL FOR US – Hibiscus, the overriding flavor in Roselle, and Raspberry (which we clearly add to this beer) are mutually reinforcing, and play very well together.

We’ve been making Raspberry Roselle for at least six months longer than we’ve been selling it. The idea to make a fruited version of Roselle is as old as the beer itself, and the first batch of the Rasberry Roselle is a pretty funny piece of Fair State history. Back in the day, we didn’t have a whole lot of equipment or flexibility, especially with regards to packaging beer in bottles, so the first time we made Rasberry Roselle, we just ran some finished beer into a blending tank, added raspberries, waited a while, tried it, loved it, and went to package it. What we didn’t anticipate, however, was the sheer amount of fruit puree that would make it into the bottles. Needless to say, we didn’t sell any of it, and we all enjoyed super thick fruity pours of Rasberry Roselle at home for many months thereafter. The stuff tasted too good to not do it again, and the second time we nailed our process a little better. We’ve produced it in December every year since, as a bright and fruity antidote to seasonal affective disorder.

Raspberry Roselle’s process mirrors that of “regular” Roselle very closely, in that it is a kettle or hot side sour, fermented clean with a relatively neutral ale yeast. We add a very large amount of raspberries to the tail end of fermentation, which ensures proper fermentation but limits the amount of delicate fruit aroma and flavor we lose to carbon dioxide scrubbing during active fermentation.


Raspberry Roselle is a fun yearly counterpart to U-Pick, the mixed fermentation whole local fruit beer we make once a year. With Rasberry Roselle, you get a very “jammy” raspberry flavor that seems sweeter than it is, even. With U-Pick, you get a slightly more nuanced whole fruit presentation that skews towards being, for lack of a better word, “seedy,” and indicative of wholly unprocessed fruit. I wouldn’t say one is necessarily better than the other; they are different and interesting presentations of fruit character both. Fruit flavors and aromas are very delicate and will degrade with excessive age. As with all fruited sour beer, Raspberry Roselle is best consumed fresh.”



Rasberry Roselle is now available at our Northeast Mpls taproom and at a craft beer retailer near you. Use the locator below to find the Raspberry Roselle retailer nearest you. We strongly suggest calling the retailer ahead of time to check their current availability.



Brut Squad: Behind the Beer

Brut Squad, our bone-dry IPA is on shelves in Minnesota now!

What is a Brut IPA? Think dry, aromatic IPA with very little residual sugar. We’ve stripped down the malt bill on this one to really let the hops shine.

Head Brewer Niko Tonks, on his decision to brew a Brut IPA:

Really, with this one, I just wanted to try out making a Brut IPA. Most beer trends, to me, seem to come with one downside or another (usually related to the overuse of adjuncts or the reliance on sweetness), and Brut IPA, to me, is just exactly what I’d want in an IPA, to begin with, so it’s cool to have it be a thing people are seeking out. It’s a fun beer to brew, also, which helps. I think one of the interesting, and sometimes frustrating, thing about IPAs is that the style has expanded to be an entire category, and new things are always coming and going. Oftentimes these new trends take the form of “more is more”— the attractive thing about Brut IPA is that it seems more interested in stripping things away and providing a sensory experience more focused on the hops themselves. Dry, effervescent, and aromatic are things that I would always hope to use to describe an IPA (or really, a beer in general), so getting to focus on them is fun for us.

Our goal with Brut Squad was to produce a beer that’s primarily recognizable as a killer, super aromatic IPA. We stripped the malt bill down as far as we could, and added a whole bunch of Citra Cryo and Idaho 7 hops, which make for a tropical, citrus, lemon-y beer that’s easy to crush.


“Brut IPA and Light beer have a lot in common”


One really fun thing about Brut IPAs is that they are the lowest sugar, lowest carb, lowest calorie IPAs out there. A 12oz serving of Brut Squad has something like 0.5 grams of carbohydrates more than a Bud Light, for example. Brut IPA and light beer have a lot in common — trying to drive down the finishing gravity/residual sugar in a beer as much as is humanly possible, using a specialized enzyme which is much more effective than the enzymes naturally present in malted barley at turning starches into simple sugars. Yeast are only able to eat certain forms of sugar, and with most beers and most yeast strains they will hit a wall after a while, and be unable to completely digest all of the available sugar. When you add this special enzyme to a fermentation, it moves ahead of the yeast, breaking all of the sugars in the beer down into their simplest forms. This means that yeast can completely digest the sugar that is there, and produce the driest, highest alcohol environment possible, given the starting sugar concentration. In practice, what this means is that your typical Brut IPA will be dry as a bone, with zero residual sweetness, which means that bitterness is pushed towards the fore. We’ve intentionally kept the bitterness level in Brut Squad to a low level, which allows for a balance between dryness and hop aroma without being a punishingly bitter beer.


Read More about the birth of Brut IPA’s in this article from Punch.