High Five Co-op Brewery makes it official with membership buy-in party

It will be high fives all around for the organizers of The High Five Co-op Brewery when they host the first membership buy-in party at Harmony Brewing Company on Sept. 9 at 6:00 p.m.

The cooperative, which will be the first brewing co-op in Michigan, began as a winning "pitch" by Dallas McCulloch at 5x5 Night (the pre-cursor to Start Garden) in December 2011. 

The pitch earned McCulloch $5,000, which began the very long process of officially organizing a co-op.  

Joshua Smith, board member, summarizes the timeline.

"Dallas won the $5,000 in December 2011. We held regular open meetings from that time until our board elections in August 2012. Since August, the board formed and finalized the co-op's bylaws, submitted their articles of incorporation to the state on July 4, 2013, and announced its legal existence as a co-op in the state of Michigan via the Facebook page." 

As far as membership goes, Smith says certificates will be sold for a one-time fee of $150. "Purchase of a member certificate makes you a member of the co-op, which is limited to one certificate per person. You must be 21 or older and Michigan resident. A member certificate entitles a person to an extended membership to the co-op."

Benefits of being a member include an equal vote in board elections and general issues the board deems important for a poll. It also entitles an individual to an opportunity to run for the board of directors, employment opportunities, member discounts, and a variety of brewing options and member-only benefits.

Smith says they hope to never close buy-in opportunities and to also eventually have memberships that can be purchased online. He also advises to watch for a Kickstarter campaign and for information on investments over the $150 buy-in price. 

"The cooperative business model puts its membership first. We're building a community of beer enthusiasts, entrepreneurs, and local business supporters to create a place that we own together, and that we frequent together, because we love it."

The co-op is still in the process of identifying a location, but is keen on staying the Eastown or East Hills neighborhood if at all possible.

You can get more information about the buy-in, including needed documents, and follow the progress of the organization at beer.coop and or on Facebook

Source: Joshua Smith, High Five Brewery Co-op
Writer: John Rumery, Innovation and Jobs News Editor