Hopsters Co-operative Brewery Limited

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Press Release

MEDIA RELEASE

AMATEUR CRAFT BEER LOVERS BUILD ‘HOPSTERS’
– AUSTRALIA’S FIRST COOPERATIVE BREWERY!

COMMUNITY MEMBERSHIPS OPEN IN TIME FOR CHRISTMAS

9 December 2016: Sydney, AUSTRALIA: A once crazy dream to own a brewery is now becoming a reality for a mixed group of beer loving Sydney siders that have decided to share the beer and bragging rights with everyone by building Hopsters; Australia’s first and only cooperative brewery!

“We wanted to build a brewery where everyone felt so comfortable and as though they owned the place!” Says Co-founder and director Marco Vargas. “Our mission and goals are to foster a community to connect, learn, create and have fun through beer.”

Hopsters is now taking community memberships and are also offering their first 250 Early Harvest members the opportunity to purchase additional shares at the par value and immortalizing their names on to the walls of the brewery. This is one of many joining benefits on offer – for a full list see http://Hopsters.com.au/membership.

The co-operative spirit is based on the following principles:

Collaboration – Hopsters will be a birthplace for great beer. Our members will have an integral part in designing and voting on what we brew. The beer will not simply be the Brewery’s beers, but will truly be a reflection of our members and belong to them.

Education – We believe that beer education will foster a deeper appreciation for beer. We will promote beer education through a range of on-site activities that will develop according to the wishes of our members and size of the brewery.

Community – Hopsters plans to be a viable member in the local community. We look forward to building relationships with craft brewers, other co-ops and local businesses.

Membership of Hopsters, the first ever Australian co-op brewery, is now open to the public, just in time for Christmas. Community Memberships start at $250 which includes 5 shares in the co-operative, up to Foundation members where you get part of the brewery named after you and 2,000 shares. Distribution of profits will be amongst the members of the co-operative with dividends payable as and when profit and cashflow allows it and subject to board approval.

“The Hopsters vision is a brewery owned by its members where everyone has a stake and a voice. A laid back atmosphere where you can taste a great and varied range of quality craft beer brewed from within. Hopsters is something for beer lovers of all tastes and backgrounds and aims to unite and educate people with diverse interests in fine quality craft beer.

This unique co-operative model has garnered tremendous success overseas in America and the U.K. Not to be out done, these self made Aussie craft beer lovers are making the co-op brewery dream a reality.

Visit: Hopsters.com.au/membership
Follow us: www.facebook.com/HopstersAU

– ENDS –
Media Contact: info@hopsters.com.au

About Hopsters Co-operative Brewery Limited

Hopsters is the first brewery in Australia established under the Co-operative Principles. It is a place to meet like-minded craft beer lovers who share a similar commitment to sustainability, community, innovation, and education. Members may nominate to sit on the managing Board, comprise important committees and task forces. Best of all, we have plans for members to directly participate in the beers that carry the Hopsters name by voting on styles, submitting recipes (hello, homebrewers!), and judging our continuing series of homebrew competitions. All this, plus, as a distributing co-op, subject to sufficient profitable financial performance and cash flow, profits payable based on your shares holding.

Founding Directors include: Marco Vargas, Michael O’Shea, Ross Howden, Rob Lancuba and Mitchell Hobbs

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Sign Up for the Hopsters Movement!

Want to own part of a brewery? Now you can for as little as $250.

Better yet, want to be a part of the Hopsters movement? No, the two aren’t contradictions, at least not in Sydney these days.

You see, a group of beer aficionados and aspiring brewers have launched Hopsters Co-operative Brewery Ltd. which hopes to be rolling out craft beer in Sydney sometime in late 2017. In many ways it is an ordinary brewery start-up, trying to round up capital at the same time as they sample test batches and finalize plans for the future brewery.

Except that Hopsters is structured as a co-operative, an unfamiliar legal entity and particularly rare in the beer world. Most breweries adopt a standard corporate structure, with ownership shares and a for-profit purpose, meaning both the control of and the benefits from the brewery accrue to the owners. We all get to share their beer, of course, but the profits only go in one direction.

The co-operative model turns that on its head. “We won’t make a profit in a strict sense”, says Marco Vargas, one of the founding members of the Co-operative. “We will do dividends. Surplus of the company will be distributed between its members based on the number of shares they own”. This may sound odd to many, but it is a standard procedure for co-operatives.

Co-operatives are a form of democratic, collective ownership that spreads both the risk and the decision-making authority. Without getting too technical, Hopsters in the parlance is a consumer co-operative, much like Co-operative grocery stores, etc.

$250 buys you 5 shares in the co-operative and gives you a slice of the organization’s ownership. With membership comes some key rights. “Members get a vote, priority access to beer and events, brewery discounts and a say in what beer we brew” says Vargas.

Hopsters’s plan is to build a base of a few hundred members who are invested, both financially and psychologically, in the brewery. They hope to leverage the capital raised from members into additional financing for a 20 hectolitre brewery with a full-service tap room to serve the region.

“This year is about the membership drive and a funding drive. Hopefully by next year we will be putting the wheels in motion on our own stuff”, says Vargas.

The project started, not surprisingly, over some beer. About 10 beer lovers talked about starting up a co-operative beer operation and Hopsters Co-operative Brewery Ltd was born.

“We still also have a few smaller-scale systems in the brewery for members to access as well as a tasting room, education classes and more.”

Connection to the community is a strong ethos in Hopsters. Vargas adds, names will likely be subject to member vote – another right of membership. The brewery name was selected by rank ballot of the original members and future. Members will be polled on things like styles to brew, beer names and other aspects of the brewery operations. Final decisions on beer will rest with the brewmaster, for obvious reasons, but members will be encouraged to submit ideas. “We will have events where members can bring beer and recipes. We will have competitions of homebrewed suggestions”.

At this stage in their development, Vargas couldn’t offer insights into the styles of beer or their names. The process for deciding such has not yet happened.

Because of their decision to eschew traditional capital models, co-operatives have to work much harder to make things happen. Vargas and his fellow members are in the early stages, but they are encouraged by the response so far. “Membership sales have started on December 3rd and growing each day without any real advertising”. At this rate, Vargas will be seeing a new, co-operatively-owned brewery sooner rather than later.

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