After much work, patience, and perseverance, the member-owners of the Bluenose Gopher Public House coop had a lot to celebrate this past weekend during the official Grand Opening. The new drinking establishment in Granite Falls puts an interesting spin on two of the most important legacies left behind by Andrew Volstead; the cooperative movement and prohibition.

According to the chairperson of the Bluenose Board of Directors, Sarina Otaibi, this is the only cooperative-run public house in Minnesota. Otaibi also who also a local Granite Falls City Council member as well as a coordinator for the Preservation Alliance’s Minnesota Main Street program.

The grand opening coincides with the weekend of National Beer Day, a national celebration that marks the formal end of Prohibition in 1933. The Grand Opening was very well attended and featured free sampling courtesy of local breweries and wineries. The idea for some kind of community-owned drinking establishment in Granite Falls goes back several years.

Initially, the group aimed to set-up their own brewery, but after not meeting their financial goals, they decided to adjust their strategy and instead create a public house serving only Minnesota-made drinks. The group received a major boost when they received a $75,000 loan from the Southwest Initiative Foundation back in 2017. This development, along with continued fundraising from both members and non-members alike, helped push the project from conception to the drawing board. It would be another year before all the construction work was wrapped-up.