... is the unique brewery and family friendly taproom slated to open in 2016 at the historic Johnson Standard building in the heart of downtown Hallock, MN. Renovations are underway, brewing equipment is being sourced, and fundraising is complete. The brewery's Kickstarter campaign began at the end of December of 2015, and today, they have surpassed their goal raising over $18,000. The founding quartet, comprised of brothers Ryan and Josh and their wives, Lindsey and Ashley, look forward to serving the people of Hallock by bringing great brews and community-minded business to rural Minnesota. Read on to hear all about Revelation Ale Works from half of the founding team, Lindsey and Ryan Evenson.
Talk about the beginnings of your business. What inspired you begin this endeavor?
Lindsey: We were quick to buy a farmstead in Hallock after moving our family back to Minnesota from Oregon’s Willamette Valley where we were surrounded by hop yards and craft breweries. It was there that we fell in love with craft beer and began brewing in our garage and making friends with hop growers. With a protected field on 17 acres, we planted hops and reaped a great harvest the first year. We dreamed of opening a brewery for years, but with small kids at home, we figured they could start with the hop farm until the kids got older.
Meanwhile, Josh, Ryan’s brother, and Josh’s wife, Ashley, moved back to Minnesota from Oregon as well. Just as passionate about craft beer and local products, Josh and Ashley said they would love to go in on a brewery with Ryan and me. We decided to go for it and developed a business plan in the fall of 2015, purchased a great old building in Hallock, MN, began renovations, and launched a Kickstarter campaign to raise funds.
Hallock has been more than supportive. At the first whisper of Revelation Ale Works coming to town, we’ve had local business, investors, subcontractors, and neighbors corner us at every opportunity asking how they can help. This community has really encouraged us that Revelation Ale Works is in the right place at the right time. Seeing Far North Distillery’s success has also been inspiring. Great things are happening in Northwest Minnesota!
Have you always been creative? What forms or channels have you explored in your creative journey?
Lindsey: Ryan has always been a dreamer and innovator, looking for unique business opportunities and ways of doing things. This drive is what pushed Ryan to start home-brewing. It didn’t take him long to graduate from kits to all grain brewing. Ryan even built his own kegerator out of a chest freezer to accommodate his home brews.
Ryan: Lindsey also loves beer but leaves the mashing and sparging to the brothers. She brews Kombucha, a fermented tea with various health benefits. Lindsey has a background in food writing, T.V. and teaching. However, she didn’t discover Kombucha until recently when Josh and Ashley introduced her. It was love at first taste.
Josh is the manager of a local food co-op and he and Ashley are always on the cutting edge of cool. They visited us in Hallock to share some products from Josh’s business, Dakotah Beard Oils, along with some Kombucha. After making Dakotah Beard Oils a success, they sold this business to focus on Revelation Ale Works.
How has your business evolved? How have you evolved? Ryan: Starting with a hop yard, we are growing from the farm to the glass. We are really excited to brew local, fresh ingredients. This wouldn't have been possible if we didn’t start in the dirt.
Now that we’re firing up the brewery, we are looking to expand our hop yard substantially, and working on promoting hop farming in our neck of the woods. Starting at the same time we did, Johnny Barbosa is the only other hop grower we know of within 100 miles. We’ve been working with him and are excited to brew truly local hops, something most Minnesota breweries can’t do for lack of nearby hop growers.
It is exciting to be on the forefront of this growing agricultural and fresh hop-brewing trend. Going even further than that, the spent hops and grains go back to our farm as chicken feed and compost that later gets added to the hop yard, coming full-circle.
Why is local important? Lindsey: Living and doing business locally is a sustainable way of life that will keep our small towns in Minnesota vibrant.
Craft beer is all about local. Because we started with local hops and are opening in a local landmark building, we are backyard brewers down to our core. That’s where the name Revelation comes from; we had a great idea to brew beer as a means to strengthen community while also getting to brew beer! It’s a revelation!
Ryan: The idea is to be the kind of business that sends down roots into our local economy to give our rural area more to hang on to. When we earn local dollars, then turn around and spend locally we improve the quality of our lives, the lives of people around us, and the lives of future generations.
We are excited to be a part of Hallock’s downtown revitalization. We are looking forward to being an employer, offering great jobs that keep people here at home. We are planning to support other local businesses and farms with our purchasing choices. We’ll be giving a portion of sales to the Hallock Volunteer Fire Department and other local charities and causes.
When people drink a Revelation ale, they’ll know that they are not only supporting a local brewery, but many other local business, as well as the city of Hallock.
How has living in Minnesota influenced your creative work, specifically through your new brewery? Ryan: Minnesota is thirsty for local, craft beer and hungry for fresh hops.
The dreamers and do-ers that are getting into these fields now are collaborative, generous, creative, and excited about growing this industry together to meet and generate demand. This kind of community collaboration emboldened us in a way that we wouldn’t necessarily have been anywhere else.
Also, the richness of Minnesota farm land made it possible for us to start growing a plant that used to be plentiful in this state back before prohibition but since then, has all but disappeared.
Far North Spirits has also started pushing for more rye production in Kittson County, putting Hallock on the map for rye with their Roknar Rye Whiskey. This initiative inspired our Firehouse Red RYE Ale. Rye will be a grain that we’ll do a lot with because of Far North Spirits. We couldn't be happier.
What do you see for the future of your Revelation Ale Works? Lindsey: For now, we are excited to keg for area bars and restaurants and open our taproom a few days each week. In the future, we would like to have a much larger brewing system and bottling line and distribute to the entire state of Minnesota and upper-Midwest and beyond.
Our current brewing system will be for experimental ales exclusive to Hallock.
Here’s where things get really fun. We’d like to have three barrel systems and taprooms in other small Minnesota towns and historic buildings. Each location would have several taps with our staple beers plus a tap with their very own experimental that people can only get in that town’s taproom. Ideally, we could connect with a farmer in these towns to also grow local, fresh hops for their Revelation taproom. Of course after that, we’d like to take over the world.
Where did you grow up? What kind of community was it?
Lindsey: I am from Alaska and came to Minnesota for college, Minnesota State University, Moorhead. It was there that I met Ryan. He introduced me to small town Minnesota in Thief River Falls where he, Josh, and Ashley are from.
Hallock, in its sparsely populated corner of Minnesota, has an independent feel that I remember from Alaska that is complimented with the quintessentially Minnesotan deep-rooted community and sense of everyone around you having your back that Ryan, Josh, and Ashley grew up with.
It’s like stepping in to a Norman Rockwell illustration with wifi, distillers, deer walking down the street, a food cart set-up down the block, and a craft brewery on the corner. It’s the best of all the places we’ve ever lived!
Do you feel like brewing through Revelation Ale Works allows you to contribute to something larger than yourself? Ryan: For sure! That’s what Revelation is all about! The big idea, the revelation, is that Revelation Ale Works can be about more than beer and business.
Revelation Ales Works… to serve people by brewing up the best beer hops and barley can produce. to bring amazing craft ales to beer drinkers everywhere, even out-of-the-way places. to bring fresh, local, Red River Hops in to your pint. to provide jobs in rural communities. to partner with other local businesses to preserve and strengthen small towns. to serve as an outlet for our love of rural America, family, local business, brewing, and beer . . . really good beer.
Being a brewery that is more than just a business is why we are Revelation Ale Works!