Phillips was born in 1969 in St. Paul, Minnesota. He received a bachelor's degree from Brown University in 1991, and a master's degree in business from the University of Minnesota in 2000.
From 1993 to 2012, Phillips worked as the president and chief executive officer of Phillips Distilling Company, a distillery and liquor brand owned by his family. He then worked as the executive chairman of Talenti Gelato from 2012 to 2016. In 2016, Phillips co-founded Penny's Coffee, a coffee shop chain in Minnesota.
Phillips was first elected to public office in 2018, when he defeated then-incumbent Erik Paulsen (R) to represent Minnesota's 3rd Congressional District. He won re-election in 2020 and 2022.