Fair State Brewing Cooperative: Pahlay’ahlay
When Fair State CEO Evan Sallee decided to open a brewpub in Minneapolis in 2011, he looked to a business model popular among Midwest farmers but practically unheard of in the beer world: the co-op, in which members own part of the brand, vote to elect a board, and get a share of the profits. Fair State began with about 250 members and now has more than 1,300, whose benefits include limited-production beers, a VIP happy hour at the tap room, and access to community events sponsored or put on by Fair State.
It’s been so popular that the brewery recently expanded to a new 40,000-square-foot facility to keep up with demand for brews like the tropical pale ale Pahlay’ahlay. It’s even offered counsel to other new co-op breweries, a growing roster that includes Seattle’s Flying Bike Cooperative Brewery, and Bathtub Row Brewing Co-op, in New Mexico.
“Once people see this model and realize that it can exist, they kind of have the same reaction we did,” says Sallee. “Which is, why doesn’t this exist where I live?”
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