The Minnesota State Fair draws hundreds of food and beverage companies ever year, including many owned by St. Thomas alumni.

Below are six of those Tommie-owned bites and brews at the 2019 great Minnesota get-together, as well as where to find them at the fair. We also caught up with Matthew Schwandt ’09, owner of Bauhaus Brew Labs, about his favorite thing about being part of the fair – and how his St. Thomas School of Law education helps him own a burgeoning beer business.

  • Milissa Dias ’94: El Burrito Mercado (at the International Bazaar)
  • Pat ’92 and John ’88 Mancini: Mancini’s Char House and Lounge (north side of Carnes Avenue between Nelson and Underwood streets)
  • Brad Ribar ’82: Corn Roast at the State Fair (southeast corner of Dan Patch Avenue and Nelson Street)
  • Casey Holley ’02: Able Seedhouse and Brewery (Ball Park Cafe)
  • Matthew Schwandt ’09: Bauhaus Brew Labs (Ball Park Cafe)
  • Brian Berge ’96 and Kevin Hilliard ’96: Insight Brewing (LuLu’s Public House, Andy’s Grille, and Minnesota Craft Brewer’s Guild)

We caught up with Matt Schwandt to ask him a few questions about being part of the state fair with his burgeoning brew business.

A beet in a Minnesota State Fair cup.

What’s your favorite thing about being part of the State Fair as a business owner?

Our favorite thing about having Bauhaus beer at the State Fair is the opportunity to share what we do with so many different people from all walks of life. Our reach is ordinarily pretty focused on select markets in Minnesota and Wisconsin, so being able to get our beer in front of State Fair crowds is really awesome. Also, even though our brewery is now in its fifth year of operations, we still geek out about seeing our beer out in the wild. When I used to go to the Fair as a kid (I grew up in Golden Valley), I never could have imagined that I’d be involved with producing a product that would be a part of the Great Minnesota Get Together!

What, do you draw from your time at St. Thomas into how you run your company? 
When I was attending UST Law School, I learned early on that law school isn’t so much learning about the law as it is learning to think like a lawyer. What that means in practical terms is being proficient at spotting issues, analyzing those issues in light of relevant facts and drawing logical conclusions. I honestly don’t think a day goes by that I don’t draw on that thought process in my work at Bauhaus. Whether I’m doing a cost analysis on a new product to determine pricing, or working with our marketing team to develop a communications strategy, or any number of other things that pop up in my day-to-day, the thought process that I learned to adopt through my legal education has been an invaluable resource.
Do you have any advice for young professionals/entrepreneurs about owning a business? 
Launching Bauhaus was my first foray into the world of entrepreneurship. And even after five years, I still feel like we’re just “winging it” a lot of the time. But the more entrepreneurs and fellow brewery owners that I talk to, the more I realize that this is simply how the vast majority of small business owners feel most of the time! So, I guess my advice to anyone thinking of starting their own business would be to avoid falling into the trap of undermining your own abilities because of the dubious narrative that “everyone else is better or more experienced.” As long as you stay confident in and driven to implement your vision for your business, you have all the potential in the world to be successful.
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