Co-op models mean you (yes you!) can own a brewery

Against a backdrop of recent corporate acquisitions of craft breweries, there’s a quiet counterrevolution gaining steam: cooperatively owned breweries. They put ownership back in the hands of beer drinkers, just a few hundred bucks at a time. Austin’s Black Star was the nation’s first co-op brewery when it opened in September 2010; it’s since inspired a handful of others in cities like Minneapolis; Seattle; and Dayton, Ohio; with many more in planning. They offer the anti-corporate-beer zealot (“Down with big beer!”) to really put his money—as little as $150—where his mouth is.

The general model is similar to that of a grocery co-op: Members chip in some cash (sometimes yearly dues, sometimes a one-time buy-in) and receive a small ownership stake in the business, including the chance to vote or run for a board of directors. Member-owners call the shots, enjoy discounts on purchases at the brewery, and sometimes receive a modest check if the business turns an annual profit. Unlike private equity groups that are suddenly eyeing breweries with great interest, co-op members shouldn’t expect a financial windfall. Instead, motivations are a bit crunchier.

Read the full article at DRAFT Magazine


Go to the GEO front page