Fair State Brewing employees vote to unionize and join local hospitality union

Fair State Brewing Cooperative announced Wednesday it has unionized, after more than a year of discussion.

The brewery operates a taproom and brewery in the Northeast neighborhood of Minneapolis as well as a larger packaging brewery in St. Paul’s Midway neighborhood.

After a majority vote, eligible employees presented their request to the brewery’s chief executive officer and member-owned board of directors and received agreement.

“I am proud of the self-determination our team has shown by taking on the responsibility of organizing to make Fair State better,” CEO Evan Sallee said in a statement. “This is one more step to building the business that we have envisioned from the beginning – one where workers and consumers each have a say and stake in a business, working together to build something beautiful and thriving.”

Employees will join Unite Here Local 17, which is a local hospitality union representing roughly 6,000 workers throughout the Twin Cities.

"I’ve been proud to work at a place like Fair State that doesn’t simply talk about community and democracy but attempts to structure itself to live up to those ideals," Anders Bloomquist, a warehouse specialist, said in a statement. "Fair State Brewing Cooperative set a standard for its first six years, and now all of us together will set another standard for the next six years."

It is the latest move in recent unionizing efforts by employees at local drinking establishments.

Hospitality staff at Surly Brewing Company’s beer hall announced their intent to unionize in August. In the midst of that effort, Surly announced it will close its beer hall indefinitely on Nov. 2.

Meanwhile, employees with Tattersall Distillery announced this summer an intent to unionize and in an update on the distillery’s website, announced employees will also be represented by Unite Here Local 17.