2017 Keynote: Surly’s Omar Ansari

Omar Ansari

We are excited to announce Omar Ansari, founder of Surly Brewing Co., will give the keynote address at Homebrew Con.

Don’t miss it!

The Welcome Toast and Keynote Address is Thursday, June 15 from 5:00 pm – 6:15 pm.

All attendees are invited, including those who registered for the Social package.

The Story of Omar Ansari and Surly Brewing Co.

Omar Ansari founded Surly Brewing Co. on December 31, 2005; building a new business in the same building where his parents built their industrial abrasives business 40 years before. From the sale of the first keg of beer in February 2006, to changing a Prohibition-era Minnesota state law which allowed Surly to build a state-of-the-art Destination Brewery, Ansari has nurtured and developed more than a business – he’s helping to lead a craft beer movement in Minnesota.

Ansari’s passion for brewing was sparked in 1994, when at age 24 he was given a homebrewing kit. He spent years homebrewing out of his garage while working for his parents’ business. In 2002, Ansari and his wife welcomed their first child, Max, and instead of traditional birth announcements, Ansari created a beer to celebrate the occasion. Response from family and friends was favorable of course, for the baby, but also for his homebrew. This sparked his entrepreneurial spirit and motivated the new father to take his hobby to the next level.

Ansari’s entrepreneurial streak came from his Pakistani father and German mother, both first-generation immigrants who started their Brooklyn Center abrasives factory in 1965. Ansari took over the business in 2002, but soon found that he didn’t have the same passion for abrasives that he had for making beer. So, with the support of his family, he decided to retrain as a brewer and convert part of the Ansari Abrasives factory into a brewery.  Educating himself in the art of brewing, he rounded out his training with an apprenticeship at New Holland Brewing in Michigan and returned home to build the Twin Cities’ first new brewery in more than two decades.

In 2004, the brew house inside Ansari Abrasives and Surly Brewing Co. was born. By the end of 2005, the entire factory was converted to a brewery. The company was named for “the anger fueled by the inability to find good beer,” and that quest drove Surly’s early beer styles and still lives on today.

In late 2014, a decade after he began building his first brewery, Ansari opened the doors to his new Minneapolis brewery: a $34 million, 50,000-square-foot facility with a Beer Hall, full service kitchen, massive Beer Garden, events center and an award-wining, world class restaurant, Brewer’s Table. With the addition of eight new 600bbl fermentation tanks in 2017, Surly is capable of brewing more than 100,000 barrels of beer each year.

Now more than a decade after the first keg was sold, Surly has been cemented as one of the nation’s fastest growing and forward-thinking craft breweries — pouring all over Minnesota, Iowa, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota, Wisconsin and Chicago – and their innovative and irreverent Surly attitude continues to define the independent craft beer movement in the Twin Cities.