FAIRMONT — Fairmont may soon be home to a new business in the form of the Fairmont Brewing Company. Owner and operator Joseph Riemann recently had a request for proposal approved by the Fairmont City Council to secure the Fairmont Senior Citizens building in downtown Fairmont. Riemann grew up in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, and went to college in Minneapolis. He shares how he was drawn to Fairmont.
“My wife and I have a blended family, we have about five kids together from previous marriages, and once COVID hit we started thinking about what working from home could look like,” Riemann said. We wanted to get a better work-life balance as well as improving where we lived.
“We really like the lakes up in Minneapolis and so we thought that if I’m working from home, home could be anywhere so let’s look for some lakes and maybe a more affordable place to live.”
Riemann shared that with the riots that took place in the Twin Cities over the summer of 2020, he was looking for a safer place to raise his children.
“So we looked around and found Fairmont. We took a weekend in September and drove into town and almost immediately seeing the logo on the water tower and driving past the lakes we wondered where had this gem of a city been? The idea of a city of lakes and being able to afford living so close to a chain of lakes just seemed exactly like what we were looking for.”
Riemann shares that he moved here in October and got married at the Yacht Club in November. Since then, he’s had his eyes set on becoming a part of, and contributing to, the Fairmont community.
“With the idea of entrepreneurship, we kind of looked around at some things that we liked, and one of those was the craft beer scene in the city,” Riemann said. “We noticed that, unlike a lot of small towns, there wasn’t a brewpub so that was something that hit high on the list.”
With that in mind, Riemann started talking to potential funders and Linsey Preuss, Fairmont economic development director, as well as some others.
“Everyone had the same kind of overwhelming response of saying that we need a brewpub,” Riemann said. “So we were looking at some commercial real estate a couple of months ago and what potential places might look like when we heard about this building [Fairmont Senior Citizens Center] going up for sale, and we jumped at the opportunity.”
Now that Riemann’s request for proposal has been approved by the city, he states that several different financial steps still need to be taken.
“Right now we’re in the process of talking with the bank and we’re also working with both the city revolving loan fund and Region Nine [Development Commission],” Riemann said. “We’re also working with SMIF [Southern Minnesota Initiative Foundation], basically, the who’s who of normal loan funds who do economic development in Southern Minnesota. So it’s just a matter of tying up all those, which a lot of that was dependent upon an actual physical location.”
Despite all that still needs to happen, Riemann shares that he is excited about the future.
“We really fell in love with Fairmont, and we’re hoping to have the brewery be more than just locally brewed beer. We really want to try and lift up the people and history of Fairmont,” Riemann said. “We’re excited about it.”
For those interested in keeping up with Riemann’s progress, they can sign up for emails at www.fairmontbrewing.com. Riemann states that he hopes to be open sometime in the summer this year.
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