ONE Fermentary & Taproom Reinvents the Craft—and Culture—of Beer

In the North Loop, Ramsey Louder’s goal isn’t only to produce a diversity of beverages—beers, ciders, wines, and more—but to welcome a more-diverse clientele
Brewer Ramsey Louder oversees a hub of experimentation at ONE Fermentary & Taproom, using a variety of fermenting vessels for a surprising range of flavors
Brewer Ramsey Louder oversees a hub of experimentation at ONE Fermentary & Taproom, using a variety of fermenting vessels for a surprising range of flavors

Photo by Nate Ryan

ONE Fermentary & Taproom is a challenge to the Minnesota craft beer scene. And there’s nothing Ramsey Louder takes to more eagerly than a challenge.

ONE, the experimental new brewpub in the North Loop, brews its own beer and acts as a lab for collaborating breweries, who bring their wort to Louder and let his team transform the immature beer. Unique for their variety of fermenting vessels—including classic steel tanks, oak barrels, foeders, and even a concrete tank—ONE revels in the creative aspect of brewing and how, with the right collective of minds, things can take a radical turn. The goal is not only to produce a diversity of beverages—beers, ciders, wines, and more—but to welcome a more-diverse clientele.

“In my mind, it was a one-in-a-million opportunity,” Louder says. “Something that was brought up organically was that they wanted this place to be more welcoming to all sorts of people. Coming in, that was gonna be important, but it was brought up before I could even bring it up.”

Photo by Nate Ryan

A Brooklyn native, Louder came to brewing after following a girlfriend to St. Paul almost a decade ago. He fell in with a group of homebrewers who hung around Harriet Brewing trading secrets, and he quickly got jealous of their skills and knowledge. He started buying gear to compete with them. As their setups grew more sophisticated, his did, too. Eventually, he took a volunteer gig at Dangerous Man Brewing so that he could study under owner Rob Miller.

Within a few years, he was head brewer. Not long after that, he was moving off to Michigan to become a cellarman for New Holland Brewing. Now he’s back in the Twin Cities, ready to combat a problem that’s bothered him from his first days at Harriet.

“People will ask, ‘Why aren’t there more queer people or people of color involved in craft beer?’” he says. “And they’ll answer, ‘Oh, they don’t like it.’ That’s not the case. The question has to be, ‘What are you doing different?’ It happens every day in all industries.”

As Minneapolis-St. Paul’s first black brewpub owner, he sees opportunity where others see obstacles. “If you don’t reach out to people who aren’t part of the majority, all you’re gonna get is the things that the majority likes,” he says. “You need to have people on your team who aren’t part of the majority, and they need to feel like they can speak comfortably. Otherwise you’re just spinning your wheels. Sometimes you have to take a chance on people. People took a chance on me, and it allowed me to be here.”

Photo by Nate Ryan


Minnesota Monthly: What did you when you were first introduced to homebrewing?

Ramsey Louder: I started to think about how beer was made. It was never a thing that I considered. My friends, they were all in this homebrewing club. Making alcohol yourself—I didn’t know if it was even legal. Then, I wanted to do it myself. I started out with an extract kit, and I saw some of my friends were doing all-grain, so I wanted to step up to that. It blew up from there.

How did you get your start with Dangerous Man?

They asked if I wanted to check IDs, and I’m glad I said yes, because it set off a chain of events. I got to know [owner Rob Miller], and I’d ask him questions about my homebrew. He told me to just show up on brew days, and I took him up on it. A year into that, [former head brewer Keegan Knee] left to go open Modist, and I stepped up into being a lead brewer.

Your background is in criminal justice. When did you realize you wanted to make a career switch?

What I was doing was lucrative, but I hated it. Moving here, I got really into biking. I remember seeing a dude out there biking, and it was snowing. I took that as an internal challenge, so I started biking in the winter, and I got really into it. A friend of mine, we got close and decided to take a long-distance bike trip. We went out to Seattle, and I biked all the way to San Francisco. I had a lot of time to think out there. You’re doing 60 to 70 miles a day, and you’re biking single file. I was thinking about life and what’s next. Do I keep going down that path, or do I take a chance at something else? That’s when it dawned on me that [brewing] could be a thing.

After Dangerous Man, you moved to Michigan to work at New Holland. What was it about the job at ONE that made you decide to move back to Minneapolis?

[ONE consultant Joe Alton] reached out to me in June or July of 2018. He presented this idea to me in broad strokes. In my mind, it was a one-in-a-million opportunity. Something that was brought up organically was that they wanted this place to be more welcoming to all sorts of people. Coming in, that was gonna be important, but it was brought up before I could even bring it up.

Why does craft beer has a problem with diversity?

People will ask, ‘Why aren’t there more queer people or people of color involved in craft beer?’ And they’ll answer, ‘Oh, they don’t like it.’ That’s not the case. The question has to be, ‘What are you doing different?’ It happens every day in all industries. If you don’t reach out to people who aren’t part of the majority, all you’re gonna get is the things that the majority likes. You need to have people on your team who aren’t part of the majority, and they need to feel like they can speak comfortably. Otherwise you’re just spinning your wheels. Sometimes you have to take a chance on people. People took a chance on me, and it allowed me to be here.

You’ve made a commitment to diversity and inclusion. How do you make that happen?

It’s something that we have to be intentional about. It makes a difference to people who come in the space. A lot of it is the people that we work with. Networks are super important. Our mural and logo were created by a group of creatives of color. Then, there’s the programming. We’re trying to get hip-hop karaoke in here that was created by another POC group. We’re trying to be intentional and make decisions that show that.

But we need to hold ourselves accountable. It’s not gonna happen overnight, and we haven’t cracked the formula. Hopefully we’ll have made more progress than failures, but we’re the place where, if we make a mistake, we’re gonna acknowledge it and learn from it. We’re not just gonna point a finger and run from it.

What do you want your legacy to be?

I’ll always be the first black owner of a brewery in Minneapolis, and I hope I can look back and say I helped not be the only one.

ONE Fermentary & Taproom
618 N. Fifth St., Minneapolis
fermentary.one

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