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Let There Be Beer: Los Alamos Beer Co-op Moves Forward

on April 18, 2013 - 1:05pm
Members of the Los Alamos Beer Coop solicit memberships and enjoy  favorite beverages at Skiesta. Photo by Bonnie J. Gordon/ladailypost.com
 
By BONNIE J. GORDON
Los Alamos Daily Post
 
The Los Alamos Beer Co-operative wants to establish a brewery and a taproom in Los Alamos as a place for the community to gather and enjoy locally handcrafted beer.

The Co-operative will also support and promote the local craft beer community.

For the past 14 months, a group of local beer lovers has been working to make this vision a reality.

“The key is getting members,” board member Micheline Devaurs said. “The more members we have, the faster we can reach our goals.”

The Beer Co-op will operate on the same model as the Los Alamos Food Co-op, board member Steve Watts said. Watts is the general manager of the Food Co-operative Market.

“At first, people thought we’d be doing all the work,” Watts said. “That’s not the case. We’ll own it, not run it. We’ll hire a staff to run the business.”

A Co-operative is a business that is owned and directed its membership.

A member of the Los Alamos Beer Co-operative will have a say in how the brewery and taproom are operated, be able to elect the Board of Directors, and help set the long term goals and policies of the co-op.

Anyone over the age of 21 can become a member-owner.

The group has a working model, Black Star Co-op Pub and Brewery in Austin. Black Star Co-op is a Co-operatively-owned and worker self-managed brew pub. Black Star opened its doors in 2010.

“There’s nothing more enjoyable than going to a business you own. That will be the success story,” Watts said.

“Los Alamos is a community that wants fresh-brewed beer,” Watts said. “We also have a big community of home-brewers. Virtually every community has a local brewery. We want to bring one to Los Alamos”

It’s not just about beer, though.

“My passions are to create somewhere to gather across generations and leveraging the assets of our town,” Devaurs said. “The brewery and taproom is a way to accomplish these things.”

Devaurs sees the Beer Co-op as a recruitment and retention tool for Los Alamos National Laboratory as well as to promote tourism.

“We’re such an outdoor community. People can hike or bike and then enjoy a beer before they head home,” Devaurs said.

The Beer Co-op is working on a business plan and wants to commission a market study by a disinterested third party to assess potential sales, most workable size, etc.

There are several ways to participate in the Beer Co-op. Lifetime memberships are $250 plus tax. Not only will this earn special discounts and benefits, Lifetime Members will be equity share-holders, eligible to share in potential profits.

Annual memberships are $50 plus tax and will expire one year after the Beer Co-op opens for business. Annual members will have full participation and voting rights as Co-op members.

People can also support the Beer Coop by purchasing Class B Shares Investment shares at $100 plus tax. Visit www.losalamosbeer.coop to learn more.

The Beer Co-op Board is enthusiastic and full of energy for the project. “This is something we believe in and we’re going to make it happen,” Watts said.

Join the Beer Co-op at 6:45 p.m. today for “Beer and a Movie.”  In addition to a film about women involved in brewing, Alana Jones, general manager of Santa Fe Brewing will speak briefly on her experiences in the brewing enterprise and SF Brewing will serve beer for $5.  Proceeds will benefit the Beer Coop. 

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