FARGO — While national attention is nothing new to Fargo-based Drekker Brewing Co., a recent feature article in Forbes magazine highlighted how much business is booming, even during the coronavirus pandemic.
“I think sometimes we’re probably a lot more well-known outside of Fargo than within,” Mark Bjornstad, Drekker’s president and co-owner, told The Forum.
While the brewing portion of the 15,000-square-foot operation at 1666 First Ave. N. never shut down, Bjornstad said its taproom closed its doors mid-March. By June 9, it was open for service again.
“We never fully shut down for off-sale,” he said.
In fact, business just keeps booming.
“We continued to grow, and our beer sells,” Bjornstad said. “It’s just been absolutely insane.”
Drekker pre-sells all their brews for outside markets, he said, which include Oregon, Arizona, Virginia, Washington, D.C., Wisconsin and “a decent amount” in Europe, from the Netherlands and “out a little bit from there.”
“It sells out in, like, four minutes,” Bjornstad said.
It’s also common at the brewery itself, where a recent unique India pale ale release drew “a giant line” of customers and sold-out beer.
“We put limits on how much every customer can buy,” he said, “and it’s gone.”
During the three-month closure, none of the 15 full-time and 15-plus part-time employees were furloughed. While the brewery workers were busier than ever, he said, it wasn’t difficult to find meaningful work for the rest of the staff.
The taproom was used for a series of local blood drives, Bjornstad said, and he even had his staff delivering Meals on Wheels once a week. The philosophy they adopted shifted with the changing circumstances.
“It became, 'Let’s find a new place to do something good in the community,'” he said.
While Drekker brews award-winning IPAs, they also offer “fruited sours,” which come in almost every imaginable flavor and combination, as well as more traditional beers. Bjornstad estimated that they brewed 8,000 barrels last year alone, 65 of which were “brand new.” They can have 22 different beers on tap at any given time.
“We’ve got a really great team of creative people,” he said. “These are technically really difficult beers to make.”
But not to sell, as people the world over will tell you. And, it seems, the world is paying attention.
“We’re having a blast,” Bjornstad said. “We’re having fun.”
Drekker Brewing Co.
1666 First Ave. N., Fargo