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Arbeiter Brewing celebrates AAPI Heritage Month

Only 2% of breweries in the country are owned by Asian Americans, according to the Brewers Association. One of those is Arbeiter Brewing Co. in south Minneapolis.

MINNEAPOLIS, Minnesota — At Arbeiter Brewing Company in south Minneapolis, the beer is a labor of love. 

"We have a nod to German beers and beer brewing here so Arbeiter means 'worker' in German," co-founder Juno Choi explained. 

Choi and his friends, Garth Blomberg and Josh Voeltz, opened Arbeiter Brewing in the middle of the pandemic. 

The trio had all worked together in the past and they all have their own experience in the craft brewing industry. 

After some setbacks during the pandemic, they opened Arbeiter in December 2020 in the Longfellow neighborhood. 

Credit: Heidi Wigdahl
Arbeiter Brewing Company typically has more than a dozen offerings on tap at a time.

"We're a very welcoming and inclusive place and we pride ourselves on that," Choi said. "We like to be involved with our neighbors and we like to do a lot of charitable giving and anything that we can to kind of give back to our community." 

Arbeiter is located right next door to Moon Palace Books on Minnehaha Avenue and just down the street from the Minneapolis Police Department's Third Precinct, which was set on fire following George Floyd's murder. 

"We are at a unique place here, a sacred place. I think with a lot of things that are happening with racial justice. So I think it's important for us to continue to not only make great beer but to be good stewards of our community," Choi said. 

For Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month in May, Arbeiter is highlighting fellow AAPI-owned businesses. 

Only 2% of breweries in the country are owned by Asian Americans, according to the Brewers Association. One of those is Arbeiter. 

Credit: Heidi Wigdahl
Four of Arbeiter's crowlers, including Tokki — a Korean Rice Lager.

"It's something that I don't take lightly and something that I want to show a little bit of my heritage," Choi said. "And also make sure that I'm visible out there for the community to see that it's not just guys with beards that are owning breweries." 

Arbeiter's beer of the month is called "Tokki" — a Korean rice lager. "Tokki" is the Korean word for rabbit. The name is in honor of the Year of the Rabbit. 

"Really to me, it's special because I'm able to show some of my heritage in this beer and it also is a killer, just easy drinking, light lager," Choi said. 

During May, $1 per pint of Tokki will be donated to the Very Asian Foundation — a nonprofit that shines a light on Asian experiences through advocacy and celebration. 

Credit: Heidi Wigdahl
Tokki is a Korean Rice Lager.

As part of AAPI Heritage Month, they are also hosting many Asian American-owned food trucks. You can find the full schedule here

Laune Bread will be at Arbeiter on Saturday starting at noon, followed by Union Hmong Kitchen at 3 p.m. For Mother's Day on Sunday, 612 Teppanyaki will be there from 2-6 p.m.

Thursday, May 11's lineup includes music from DJ Chico Chi (7-9:30 p.m.) and the chance to learn more about Theater Mu — the second-largest Asian American company in the nation. 

Arbeiter Brewing Company
3038 Minnehaha Avenue
Minneapolis, MN 55406

Know a local business we should feature for our Behind the Business segment? Email Heidi Wigdahl at hwigdahl@kare11.com.    

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