Behind the Beer: 7 Principles Pale Ale

7 Principles

7 Principles started as a set of cooperative guidelines. Now, it’s also a beer: A dry-hopped pale ale made with all Minnesota ingredients (hops from Mighty Axe in Foley/Ham Lake, malt from Vertical malt in Fisher, MN). 5.1% ABV, 40 IBU.

“I’m excited about this beer – to me, it’s a bit of a milestone to be able to source quality base malt and pelleted, ready to use hops locally,” Niko, our Head Brewer commented. “We’re sitting at the starting point for an entire industry of small, artisanal producers of raw beer ingredients, and it’s important that breweries support their efforts wherever it is possible to do so. Often local beers lack true locality, a sense (and taste) of place. We have no idea what MN terroir in beer means, but we’re starting to make strides towards figuring it out.”

We used aromatic and pale malt from Vertical malt, which yields a beer with a crisp, slight malt presence and pale golden color. It is hopped in the kettle with Cascade and Columbus hops, and the dry hop is a heavy dose of Columbus. As a result, the beer is pretty dank, with pine and citrus rind in the background.

The name is a reflection of the seven principles that guide our brewery as a cooperative business, operated and democratically controlled by our Member-Owners to meet their common needs and aspirations.

1. Voluntary and Open Membership
Voluntary organizations, open to all persons able to use services and accept the responsibilities of membership.
2. Democratic Member Control
The Democratic organization controlled by members, who actively participate in setting policies and making decisions.
3. Member Economic Participation
Members buy into the cooperative and occasionally receive a return through patronage dividends.
4. Autonomy and Independence
In agreements with other organizations, members maintain democratic control and cooperative autonomy.
5. Education, Training, and Information
Cooperatives provide education and training at all levels to contribute to further cooperative development.
6. Cooperation among Cooperatives
Cooperatives serve their members most effectively and strengthen the cooperative movement by working together.
7. Concern for Community
Working for the sustainable development of communities through member approved policies.

The opportunity to become a Member-Owner of Fair State Co-op is open 24/7. Learn more about membership here and check out this sweet deal available through Sunday, 12.3.

Why a Co-op?

Cooperates Group

by Fair State Co-op CEO Evan Sallee

People often ask us why we started Fair State as a cooperative. However, in many ways that is a difficult question to answer. Nobody ever asks us, “why a brewery,” and yet from the beginning the two have been inseparable. Without the cooperative, there is no brewery. Without the brewery, there is no cooperative. Rather than dive deeply into the metaphysical underpinnings of Fair State, I think it would be instructive to simply tell our story.

In the spring of 2011, Matt, Niko, and I gathered in Austin, TX. We had been homebrewing partners in Minneapolis but had gone in our own directions in 2009. Niko was a brewer in Austin, at the Live Oak Brewing Company. I was in law school, and Matt was in grad school. Our spring breaks coincided with SXSW, and so Matt and I journeyed down to Austin to reconnect and enjoy significant amounts of both beer and music.Berry Pickin'

At some point over the week, Niko and I found ourselves at Black Star Brewing Cooperative, the country’s first cooperatively-owned brewery (or, at least, first since the 1930s). It was there that we found that first spark of inspiration that would lead to Fair State. Black Star, it seems, was aptly named. The concept of a cooperatively-owned brewery had a gravitational pull that proved too strong for us to ever escape. Having never heard of one, we had never seriously considered the idea of a cooperatively-owned brewery. But bringing the consumer-focused nature of a cooperative to Minnesota seemed like the perfect fit. Minnesotans love beer. Minnesotans love cooperatives. We had to tell Matt.


You will be hard-pressed to find a homebrewer who has not at least given some small consideration to the thought of opening up their own brewery, and we were no different. However, for myriad reasons, we never seriously considered the possibility. There were already many breweries making fantastic beer, and we did not feel justified in entering that fray unless we had something truly unique above and beyond beer that we could offer the brewing world. However, when the three of us got together later that day we brought up the idea of bringing a cooperatively-owned brewery to Minnesota. As soon as we started talking about it, we couldn’t stop. This is when we started to realize that we might actually be onto something.

We simply couldn’t get the idea out of our head. The next day we drove to Lockhart for Barbecue – more words were spent discussing starting a brewery than the brisket that was in front of us. I remember researching Minnesota cooperative law on my phone in the back of the car all the way back to Austin.

We had a number of unwise or downright silly ideas about what we could do with this business model. The idea spent most of its formative first few months as a hybrid homebrew shop, beer club, and brewery. Throughout all its iterations some core themes emerged – community, quality, cooperation. Throughout our years of being amateur beer geeks, we always lamented that there was not really an easy way to get more involved with our local breweries, few though they were at the time. However, here was a model that would quite literally make the consumer the owner. We could harness the power of democracy to build a brewery of the people and for the people.

And at its core, that has always been what being a co-op means to us. We wanted to build an engaged community of beer lovers of all stripes, and we wanted to build a brewery that would make beer worthy of their commitment. Beer and community for us are akin to the chicken and the egg, two inextricably linked halves of a singular concept. We firmly believe that businesses can and should be forces for good in our communities, that there is more to the bottom line than the bottom line. We strive every day to put this into practice, to live up to the potential that our cooperative has.

We’d love to have you join us in our collective perspective. A lifetime cooperative membership is $200, or $20 over 10 months. Visit to learn more.
Board Member Speech

National Night Out with Fair State

Celebrate NE Parade

Fair State invites our Members-Owners to be proactive in their communities while also being leaders in demonstrating our cooperative values. National Night Out is an annual nationwide event that encourages residents to get out in the community, holding block parties and getting to know their neighbors as a way to encourage crime prevention.

So, Fair State wants to help throw your National Night Out block party. Here’s how you can have a chance to get FREE BEER to share with your neighbors & friends.

  1. Submit your application to host a National Night Out block party, or find out if one is already happening in your neighborhood.
  2. Fill out our brief Google form here.

Applications for Twin Cities-area Members can be found here:


St. Paul

If you register your event by July 18, you can block your street for free. Registration from July 19-26 is a $100 fee. No registration accepted after July 26. Lucky beer recipients will be notified by the end of July 27.

This opportunity is for Members of Fair State Co-op. Want to participate? Join in our collective perspective.

Beer Bucket

Member Week to Remember

Thank you to everyone that came out and took part in our first ever Member Week here at Fair State. All said and done, we had seven back to back days of events. Here are a few of the highlights for me:

Every good day begins with breakfast, and the same holds true of a week. Members filled up the big table with contributions from their kitchens (I brought donuts from Durango’s kitchen).

On Thursday we were joined by our friends at Planned Parenthood, Our April Fair State Cooperates partner. They brought an ample supply of art supplies for our volunteers to get creative with.

In additional to our full roster of Cooperators, a handful of taproom patrons grabbed markers to join in the fun. Our craftiness quickly flowed beyond the big table to satellite tables, benches, and the floor. Dozens of vibrant posters were made and will be used for Planned Parenthood’s annual Solidarity Day.

We closed the week with a party. Opting to forgo the party hats, we focused on the beer. Member-Owners enjoyed half-priced beer from open to close. The day was well attended, and some folks decided to join right then and there! As we always like to see your faces, we also took a bunch of portraits. Keep your eyes to the north side of the taproom to spot all the new additions to the Member Wall. Here is one of my favorites…

introducing Member Week!

We are quite proud of the more than 1,000 Member-Owners that are the foundation of our cooperative. These people have supported our business through patronage, our neighbors through volunteer initiatives, our community through social gatherings, and so much more! To highlight and highfive these great folks, we are throwing our first Member Week. April 1-7th will be packed full of events celebrating membership, cooperatives, and coming together around good beer. Everyone is Welcome!
(members get some special deals)

Members First – Potluck Brunch
& Super Member Happy Hour 12-2pm.
Crowler Debut,
Stand-Up Comedy at 8:30,
Member Happy Hour all day.
Cribbage Night 6-8pm,
1/2 off you first beer with another co-op’s card,
Member Happy Hour all day.
Fair State-sponsored music and $2 off all FS pours at 331 Club. Music at 8:30pm.
Co-op Trivia with Tommy.
Fair State Cooperates Planned Parenthood Poster Party 7-9PM. Sign up here.
Member Thank You Party
1/2 off all pours for member-owners, all day!
Member Wall photobooth 4-8pm.

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
Membership Coordinator


New Way to Join!

All great things take time. Just ask the stuff sitting in the lager tank. Now that we are in year two as a cooperative brewery, we’re looking to make it even easier to join!

Up until recently we asked people to pay a one-time sum of $200 for an individual, or $300 for a household, to become lifetime member-owners. While the one-time payment is still an option, there is now an option for monthly payments! People asked, and we answered.

For $20/month (individual) or $30/month (household) you can now own a part of your local cooperative brewery. The payments will be spaced over ten months, but your membership will begin immediately and last a lifetime!   …Join here

If you have any questions about joining, or are wondering about monthly payments for gift memberships, please contact