Week 22: DiscoverAarhus with fairbar
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Combining social responsibility, friendly network and great beer

We interviewed Mattis Sørensen and Mette Bøge Kousgaard and asked them how is it to manage a non-profit café run by volunteers.

What is the story behind starting fairbar?
It was initiated five years ago by Danish YMCA with the aim of reaching out to students and young people since Aarhus is a great student city. The basic idea behind fairbar is to create a place open to everyone to come in and socialise, have a good beer and also enjoy the art and music that we try to bring in.

fairbar is a non-profit café run by volunteers. What is the working community like?
We have around 120 volunteers, most of them are bartenders but many are working with events, art, music or projects so there is definitely something for everyone. They are all part of a great social network and we arrange many social events just for them. This is especially relevant for all the students who are new to the city and who don’t have that much time besides their studies but still want to get some experience.

Fair trade, organic and sustainable seem to be the buzzwords of fairbar.
We put a lot of effort into selling organic and fair trade products. We are especially proud that most of our beers are from microbreweries so we can support the small local beer producers.

How do you contribute to the environment?
All our profits go to projects that we support. Currently we are supporting a project Radiance in India that helps provide education for young people and families suffering from HIV/AIDS so that they can live better everyday life. Young Indians get the opportunity to attend courses in design, manufacturing or IT that enable them to take care of their families. We are very proud that we could send DKK 70,000 to India last year!

Where do art and creativity come in?
Every month we have a different exhibition from local artists who have the opportunity to present and sell their work here at fairbar. Quite often we also have small bands playing here live.

You seem to organise quite a lot of events at fairbar. What’s up next?
We are trying to do as many different things as we can so we have everything from arts to politics. We also take part in the happenings in and around the city such as NorthSide or SPOT Festival with our mobile bar. Next up is our favourite event TOP 10 where local breweries bring their best beers and we are off to a great night!

Why should a true beer lover choose to come to fairbar? Do you have any personal recommendations?
We have a board with twelve different and unique beers that we change very often so that every time you come you can discover new beers and flavours. Sometimes we also have breweries coming in to present and talk about their beers.
It’s difficult to recommend one beer since we have a really diverse variety but our bartenders’ favourite is the Chili Tripel from Midtfyns Bryghus so whenever it is on the tap all our volunteers come down even if they are off-duty.
I would also recommend our beer sampler platter where you get smaller portions of five signature brews which is a great way to find your new favourite beer.

"We have beer for everyone, even those who don't like beer"

How can someone become a volunteer?
You can just contact me - Mette - with a small description of yourself and I will set up a meeting where we can talk and find out if fair bar is actually something for you because even though fair bar is a non-profit business, we still have some expectations of our volunteers.

Visit fairbar at Nørre Allé 66, 8000 Aarhus C and don't forget that you can share your review on our website! To see all the events fairbar is organising, check out their website. Student discount applies.

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