ONE Fermentary & Taproom Closes Indefinitely

ONE Fermentary announced its indefinite closure on Monday, July 6, 2020 // Photo by Tj Turner

ONE Fermentary announced its indefinite closure on Monday, July 6, 2020 // Photo by Tj Turner

ONE Fermentary & Taproom closed indefinitely Monday following the resignations of its head brewer Ramsey Louder, BIPOC staff, co-founder Joseph Alton, and taproom manager Kel Perlick. The brewery is facing mounting criticism that its majority owner Sally Schmidt did not do enough to adhere to its mission of being a brewery welcoming diversity and fostering inclusion.

The announcement of the closure was posted to Twitter and Instagram by ONE Fermentary. It stated that the brewery had “closed its doors indefinitely to weigh our future options. We thank everyone for your support and patronage in the past.”

Louder was the first black man to co-own a brewery in Minneapolis, and the second in Minnesota. It was learned recently amid him leaving ONE that he owned 5% of the brewery, despite being made the public face of the brewery in its push to showcase a commitment to diversity. And though the brewery set out to create a space for BIPOC employees and visitors, a company social media statement written by Louder in the wake of the death of George Floyd, which talked about the Black Lives Matter movement, was edited to remove the reference.

“I regret not arguing that it should have been kept in,” Louder wrote in an Instagram comment. “This is why I stated last week that ‘I want to be in a space that can proclaim that Black Lives Matter.’ In that moment, it was made clear that I couldn’t.”

In another statement, Louder wrote that “The brewery that I see is one that represents BIPOC folks not only by creating a space that is welcoming to them. It also is a brewery that exists where BIPOC lives. A place that employs BIPOC intentionally.”

Before announcing the closure Monday, majority owner Sally Schmidt wrote on the ONE Fermentary Instagram page that when she began with the brewery, she wanted to contribute to diversity and inclusion efforts in Minnesota’s brewing scene.

“My mission remains the same, but I realize I could have done more,” she wrote. “While we hired a diverse staff, I could have ensured that we sought out more diverse suppliers, hired more staff with various levels of experience to provide opportunities to those normally shut out of the industry, and created a better path to allow committed staff to learn and grow.”

In that post, she stated her intention to reopen the brewery on July 7 after “taking a week to reset while we prepare to implement both our short-term and long-term plans.”

[Updated: 9:00am, July 7, 2020]: Schmidt declined to comment for this article, saying in an email that she would make a statement at a later date.