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January Update: Board Retreat, 6 Month Plan, Preferred Shares & February Social @ Designbook

We're excited to share some big developments since our last update in December. On the afternoon of January 9th, board members met for three hours in the City Market conference room for a strategic planning retreat, at which we worked on a six month plan aimed at building our co-op's capacity in preparation for opening our brewery! After some additional refinements, the board officially approved the plan on Friday, and we'll be moving forward on a number of fronts in the coming month. A more detailed summary will be made available to paid-in co-op members soon, but a few key elements include:

  • Hiring a book-keeper to professionalize our financial systems in preparation for scaling up.
  • Sprucing up the website.
  • Hiring an attorney to assist in drafting our preferred stock offering and help us make sure, as we prepare to scale up, that we are in good legal compliance and are prepared to effectively navigate the alcohol licensing system.
  • Hiring a part-time membership recruitment and administrative staff person whose primary goal is to help the co-op reach 300 paid-in members in six months.

Using our cash on hand, we will be able to cover the costs of developing the preferred stock offering and hiring the book-keeper, but will be relying on funds raised through our preferred stock offering to cover the additional costs. The board has authorized the issuance of at least 200 non-voting preferred shares at $100 per share, which, while the exact details have yet to be finalized, will likely have the following characteristics:

  • The shares will pay a maximum annual return of 6%, paid from the first slice of the co-op’s profits, with any remaining profits going to voting members pro-rated by patronage. In addition, since this first round is higher risk (early stage) than the larger offering we plan on doing once the capacity-building plan is complete, we’re also considering adding $3 per share per year to the redemption value for the first three years so as to lock in a minimum rate of return for early investors.
  • There will be no secondary market for the shares, and they may only be sold back to the co-op. Redemptions may not be requested for the first three years, and the co-op has the discretion to defer redemptions until a time at which it would not be harmful to the business to redeem shares.

The co-op's goal is to raise a minimum of $20k through this offering, and, since the above details were circulated among our 60 paid-in members earlier this week, at the time of writing we have received $9,200 in commitments, both in the form of up-front payment, as well as purchasing additional shares on a monthly basis. If, given the above terms, you are interested in participating in this round of investment in our co-op, please email the amount you are interested in investing to At this stage of the game, even small investments make a big difference!

Finally, if you've been considering joining the co-op, the rubber is hitting the road, and your membership would be most appreciated. A voting share is $100, and you can join by paying via the website, sending a check to our P.O. box, or paying in person at our next event. Speaking of next events...

Saturday, 2/13, 4-7pm - Home Brew Social @ Designbook
In the midst of all this big-picture, strategic work, we've still had time to pull together a great event for our February Home Brew Social, which will be hosted this month at the offices of Designbook near the corner of Bank and Church Streets in Burlington. Not only do we have a good mix of home brews coming together for the event (including two Chaga beers), but Designbook has invited several other food and beverage start-ups, so there will be a variety of interesting things to sample, in addition to our beer! If you're planning on attending, please RSVP to the Facebook event, as well as to the Eventbrite (so our hosts can accurately estimate the headcount).

Finally, if you're planning on bringing your own homebrew to share, please submit it via this form ASAP so we can have an accurate list for the ballots we hand out to samplers!