Australia's first co-op brewery garners support

Hopsters Co-op Brewery 2016A group of Sydney businessmen are seeking community support to set up a co-operative brewery in the city, the first of five they hope to open around Australia.

Hopsters Co-op Brewery aims to attract 5,000 member-owners who want to fund a facility where brewers and consumers come together to learn about, make and enjoy quality craft beers.

“While there has been a boom in the craft beer industry in Australia and the rest of the world, the concept of a co-operative brewery is somewhat new,” Hopsters’ business plan says.

“In [the] USA, since 2010 there are now five co-operative breweries in operation and many more in the planning stage.”

A lifetime membership costs $250 per person. The founders say the co-op would therefore need to recruit more than 2000 people in order to fund the venture through membership fees alone; a milestone they hope to achieve before the end of this year.

“We have 100-plus people on standby right [now] just from friends and a couple of Facebook craft beer geeks’ groups, we haven’t reach the community yet,” founder Marco Vargas told Australian Brews News.

“We will do an investment round if necessary, the six founding members are businessmen.”

Vargas said the group decided on the co-op model because they are “not doing it for the money, but for the love of beer”.

He said they are currently negotiating a location with a landlord who owns another property occupied by a brewery in Sydney’s inner west.

“He will be a member of the co-op as well. He has been through the whole process, which means to Hopsters Co-op Brewery, time is on its side while we get all the necessary approvals, licenses, etc,” Vargas said.

“Our selected location is Leichhardt. We will reach the local communities from Annandale, Leichhardt, Haberfield, Lilyfield and surrounding suburbs to join as well.”

Drink like you own the place
Hopsters’ motto is, ‘Drink like you own the place’. Member benefits would include access to exclusive events and discounts at the brewery’s taproom, as well as having their say on crowdsourced beers and gettinginvolved in the brewing process.

Vargas said beers produced by Hopsterswould also be available on tap around Sydney as well as in packaged format.

“We will go big. The goal is to do five co-ops in Australia, the next one will be in Melbourne, then Brisbane, then Perth and Adelaide,” he said.

Back to Historical