Not long ago I profiled Temperance Brewing, a Saskatoon brewery working to drum up memberships to create western Canada’s first full-fledged brewery coop (read it here). My most recent Planet S/Prairie Dog column also profiles the new project (read that here).
I will admit most of the content is not new – really what is the point of re-writing things just for the sake of re-writing? – but I still think it is worth highlighting.
I like the concept. Get average consumers to buy into your brewery, giving them ownership which increases their interest in your success. They get some insider benefits and the democratic right to participate in key decisions, and you have built a significant crowd of brand ambassadors. They, naturally, will talk you up among their friends, because they are invested emotionally.
Of course, coops are not just about those practical business outcomes. They are grounded in longstanding principles of democracy, member involvement and empowerment. That is the second reason I think the model is super cool. Why not trying to run a brewery based on democratic principles, where the fruits of the success are shared by many, rather than just a couple of co-founders?
Temperance’s membership drive continues apace, and they still hope for a grand opening in 18 months to 2 years. They are the proverbial David in a beer industry rife with Goliaths (well, just a few, but, man are they big!). Who knows if it will ultimately succeed. All we can do is sit by and watch – or buy a share or two and be a part of making it happen!