Two years ago today, we tapped our first keg, opened our doors on Central Avenue for the first time, and began inviting like-minded people seeking excellent, innovative craft beer to join us in building a new kind of brewery. A few hundred of you joined well before we were even open – and many more became Fair State Brewing Cooperative member-owners in our first few weeks. In the past 24 months, we’ve all worked cooperatively to turn an unusual business idea into a living, breathing community brewery that turns out award-winning beer, while serving as second home and vital gathering place for nearly 1,000 current members and countless other friends.
The success we have seen has far surpassed our wildest dreams on opening. We began with a simple vision of a cooperatively-owned gathering place to serve as a community hub and bring people together over excellent beer. We have faced ridiculously stiff competition – that only keeps increasing – but thanks to our excellent team, now totaling 17 employees, we have been able to meet this challenge. Our beer has been recognized locally, nationally, and even internationally in these first 24 months of existence.
Our first year blew us away, and the second has shown no sign of slowing. We currently add, on average, one new member-owner every day, and your ranks are nearly 100-strong. In the past year taproom traffic has increased 50%. Our sales of kegs to the bars that you all frequent has increased 82%. And to top it all of, , sales at liquor stores have increased 388%. Clearly, you can’t get enough of our beer. At this point, demand for Fair State beer currently exceeds our ability to produce it – by quite a lot.
Today, we have some exciting news and we wanted to share it with you first. This fall, Fair State will be expanding in a big way:
We’ve just signed a lease for an over 40,000 square-foot brewing space just a couple miles away from the taproom in Northeast Minneapolis. While our taproom will remain in place, this new facility will immediately expand our brewing capacity five-fold, allowing us to begin to meet pent up demand and continue at a steady growth rate– in the Twin Cities and in new markets across Minnesota.
These developments will not only help get our beer into the hands of a growing number of customers – it will allow us to expand our amazing community as well. As you know, owning a share of Fair State carries important governance responsibilities, including voting rights for our board of directors and input on everything from beer recipes to how we support local non-profit organizations. It also includes significant benefits, like discounts, special access, and potential annual refunds. We’re going to be ramping up efforts to grow our membership in the coming months because we believe a strong, thriving community will be absolutely central to our continued success as we expand our operations and distribution.
In the coming weeks and months, we’re also going to be increasing our engagement with you – our existing members – to make sure you’re given every opportunity to meaningfully participate in the future of the brewery. We’re going to be asking more of you as well. Together, we’re running this brewery that has done so much. We need your continued involvement with programs like Fair State Cooperates and the Fair State Events Crew. We need your help to get the word out – to share good news with your networks, help bring in more members unity and provide input into decisions that affect the long-term success of the business. Stay tuned for more information about ways to get involved and help support the brewery moving forward.
And finally, we’re going to keep brewing outstanding, innovative beer with the help of Niko and his team. Our beer continues to be the driving focus of our business and is our number one priority –we’re really excited it will be available to a lot more people soon.
We want to personally thank you for being part of Fair State Brewing Cooperative. Our momentum stems from the strength of our community and the excitement about the brewery generated by our members, non-members and staff who spread the word locally and beyond. This is a really exciting time for the business and we are looking forward to keeping the momentum up as we continue to bring more great people into our community over the coming years.
Cheers to you!
Evan, Matt & Niko