Fergus Falls Community Rallies Around Beloved “Outstate” Brewery
It's no secret that Minnesota's hospitality industry is hurting.
Restaurants, bars, breweries, distilleries and wineries have all had to adapt and adjust their business models to stay afloat due to COVID-19. Some -- like notable Twin Cities eateries Izzy's Ice Cream St. Paul, Bachelor Farmer/Marvel Bar, Sleepy V’s Donuts and Betty Dangers -- have already been forced to close their doors for good while others are just barely hanging on. For many, closing up shop would be the end of a dream come true.
Outstate Brewing Company in Fergus Falls is one of those businesses desperate to keep their doors open. Less than six months since they opened, they're now feeling the economic consequences of COVID-19 and Governor Walz's responses to it. The "Experience Greater" brewery has not kept its struggles a secret, with co-owner Pat Lundberg sharing in a recent Facebook post:
As a local business owner, I have been closed down for almost eight weeks. My business was less than six months old at the time. Stimulus funds received don’t come close to our actual costs. We employed ten people, with immediate plans to employ more and up to thirty by year three. We currently have one full-time employee and no idea if we’ll survive.
Fortunately, the Fergus Falls community is a supportive one; back in April the Viking Cafe made headlines for remaining open on Easter Sunday to offer curbside Easter dinners to-go. It comes as no surprise, then, to see the people of Fergus rallying behind one of their local businesses. Earlier this week, another local eatery and icon Dairyland held a pay-it-forward fundraiser for Outstate Brewing.
But the support hasn't ended there. A GoFundMe campaign has also been created on behalf of Outstate Brewing to #KeepTheDreamAlive. A goal of $5000 has been set to go towards expenses including beer production, equipment, and utilities.
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.
If there's one thing that can be said of Fergus Falls -- and Central Minnesota at large -- it's that it's a supportive community that looks out for its own. When one business hurts, everybody hurts; and when when everybody steps in to help, amazing things happen. It's happened before, and we're looking forward to seeing it happen now.
We're all rooting for you, Outstate Brewing Company!