Outstate Brewing Company is a small production brewing/tap house with big dreams and potential nestled along the beautiful banks of Otter Tail River in downtown Fergus Falls, MN. A long anticipated dream that finally came to fruition in 2019 after many delays, Outstate opened its doors in celebration with the community at the end of November. In spite of its infancy when the Coronavirus pandemic struck in March, the brewery taproom had already become a popular gathering place for good beer, community fellowship, and delicious food truck eats . The taproom itself boasts friendly staff and patrons (who may be invited for an impromptu production tour), inviting atmosphere, large indoor and outdoor stone fireplaces, a large retractable window wall which opens to the great outdoors and stunning patio areas along the river. While enjoying the craft beers or flights of beer presented in hand-crafted miniature canoes, many nights are celebrated with a live music background or rousing sing-alongs as not only does Outstate make great beer, but it also has extremely talented musicians! The atmosphere is infectious and celebrates all good things in life and the beautiful outdoor Lakes Country vibe.
Patrick Lundberg, head brewer, and Dan Mohagen are the co-founders of Outstate Brewing Company. Patrick worked in youth ministry for 20 years which is where he met Dan who was a volunteer. Patrick had been a home brewer for many years and was further intrigued when he lived in Fort Collins, CO as his neighbor was one of the longest standing head brewers for New Belgium. Patrick and Dan then worked together again in real estate when Patrick retired from full time ministry work. Over the years, Patrick continued to spend countless hours creating home-crafted brews and would often gift them to clients and friends which was very well received. A couple years ago, Dan approached Patrick. Dan and his family realized a need in the community. There was a strong desire to bring jobs to the Fergus Falls community via a wholesale/manufacturing endeavor as well as to provide a special gathering place for community fellowship. Appreciating Patrick’s passion and talent for creating craft beer, the Outstate Brewing Company business dream was created.
In the 4 short months Outstate was open prior to the pandemic, the business started taking off. The taproom, even in the months considered off season, proved to be fruitful and it became a popular place for the community to gather. Multiple community events were also attended. The production side grew rapidly to 60 accounts including local area bars, restaurants and liquor stores. The staff count grew to a total of 10 people. “I knew we had exactly what we were hoping for. One day, we had a table of some retirees who hadn’t seen each other for awhile. And, they came in with their crock pots, took up the longest center table in our taproom, and just sat there for 4-5 hours. They then walked around the taproom offering others cheesecake and different things. And I thought, YES, this is it!”, stated Patrick.
The past 8 weeks have been extremely challenging for Outstate. They have gone from 60 accounts to about 6 and only able to sell growlers at the taproom. In all honesty, the growler sales barely cover the pay for staff to pour; they are desperately missing the taproom and account funds. Staff has been whittled down to one full time person while Patrick and Dan are not receiving paychecks. However, in spite of all this, both Patrick and Dan are working tirelessly to can as much beer as possible, build up accounts to expand to the Twin Cities area, and prepare for a safe future re-opening. Recently, on May 11th, they were even featured on WCCO radio to share their story. We believe Outstate is an important asset to the Fergus Falls community. It has great potential to continue to grow and support revitalization efforts and be a popular destination of the lakes area. It also has dreams of wide production sales in the future so that we all may experience a little “outstate”. If able, please consider a donation in support of Outstate Brewing Company. All funds received will go toward their expenses including beer production, equipment, and utilities. Any and all support is so appreciated! If there are other ways you would like to help, please reach out to Outstate via website or Facebook page.
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