Jerrod Johnson, the former co–head brewer at Surly Brewing Company, has been named the Director of Brewing Operations at Fair State Brewing Cooperative.
Co-founder Niko Tonks will remain head brewer, continuing to focus on recipe development in the original Minneapolis brewery, while Johnson will manage operations at the production facility in St. Paul, helping to develop new recipes and supervise quality control across the brewery’s current offerings.
“To me, this is a watershed moment in Fair State history,” said Tonks in the official announcement. “I think it puts more people in the right places, to make the right decisions, to spur further growth and inventiveness not only in terms of barrels produced, but in the chances we can take with our beers.”
Johnson got his start at Eugene, Oregon’s Steelhead Brewing, working his way up through various Oregon breweries like Ninkasi, Rogue Ales, and Rock Bottom, where he worked under Van Havig. He landed at Surly in 2008, where he climbed the ranks to lead brewer, assuming the role of co–head brewer in 2016. Johnson parted ways with Surly this past summer.
“I am excited to work with Fair State for many reasons,” said Johnson in the announcement. “First and most importantly, the beer. From the traditional lagers to more experimental beers, Fair State always executes at a high level. I want to make beer that I am proud of and want the world to drink. Second, Fair State has a spirit of giving and community that pervades everything they do. I love my neighborhood (NE Minneapolis) and I love Minneapolis, and Fair State is committed to both. I want my work to help my neighborhood become a better place. Third, I like the people who work at Fair State and am excited to work with them. Also, Roselle is one of my wife’s favorite beers, so she’s on board. Ultimately, Fair State makes great beer and I hope to help them continue to do so.”