How do I Join?
By its simplest definition, a cooperative is a business that is owned and directed by the people that it serves, its membership. A member of the Flying Bike community will actually OWN one membership share, and all members have equal voting power (one vote) to elect the Board of Directors and set the long term goals and policies of the Coop. After the brewery is operational, the excess net savings of the business can be distributed to the membership on the basis of patronage. Anyone over the age of 21 can become a member-owner.
Flying Bike Membership FAQ:
What is a co-op?
A co-op is a member owned and directed enterprise that operates for the mutual benefit of all members and others in the community. More info on Cooperatives can be found here.
How will Flying Bike be different from other breweries?
Flying Bike is more than a brewery: it is a community-owned business that produces delicious beer, sourced from the membership, while also providing opportunities for education and community meeting space.
Why do co-ops have memberships?
Co-ops are built on member-ownership. Members own and help make decisions about how the business is run. Members also provide the financial foundation of the business.
Do you have to be a member-owner to drink at Flying Bike?
No. Everyone will be welcome to visit the taproom and everyone is welcome to join!
If everybody can shop at the Co-op, why become a member-owner?
Member-owners provide critical community support for the Co-op. Their ownership share and involvement in the business make the Co-op possible. Also, member-owners receive specific benefits – they vote for the Board of Directors of the Co-op and on other matters brought before the membership; members will receive patronage refunds as the Co-op becomes profitable; they will receive member-only discounts and information. Members also get access to exclusive events. Even better, members may enter their homebrew in beer competitions and help select winning brews to be produced by Flying Bike!
When and where will Flying Bike be opening?
We hope to open in early 2015 in a walkable, vibrant neighborhood in Seattle. Negotiations with potential leases are on-going and we hope to provide more information soon. June 2014 update – check here!
How many member-owners do you need?
We have over 800 member-owners of Flying Bike and our goal is to reach 1000 members before the brewery opens. However, should we fall short of this membership goal, it will not necessarily delay the launch of the brewery. It is very rare for cooperatives to obtain enough start-up funds through membership fees alone, and this is one reason that the Co-op has chosen to offer preferred shares to raise additional capital. To accrue enough capital through membership fees alone, we would need to recruit over 2,500 people.
What is the Board of Directors?
The Board of Directors is responsible for legal and financial decisions that affect the Co-op. The Board is elected by the members around the Co-op annual meeting.
What has the Co-op done so far?
Planning for Flying Bike began 2010 when 15 people began working to open a brewery. The co-op has focused on building a membership base, reaching out to our community, supporting area businesses, hosting member only events as well as outreach events, and sourcing member-driven beer through homebrew competitions. The Board of Directors has spent countless hours researching legal requirements, building a solid business plan, and vetting potential brewery locations. The next step is to build sufficient capital to follow through on our plan.
Also: Check out what we accomplished in 2013!
How much does ownership cost?
A “Founding” membership is $150. This amount purchases one voting share in the Co-op. This is a one-time purchase, with no recurring fees. Once the brewery is open, a member-owner share will be $200, and doesn’t carry the “Founding” member distinction.
Is there a payment plan for memberships?
Not yet. At this point, full payment is necessary upon becoming a member-owner.
Can a person own more than one voting share?
No. However, if a person wants to help the Co-op by providing additional financial assistance, they may invest additional capital by purchasing non-voting preferred stock during our Member Investment Campaign.
If I move or just decide to quit the Co-op do I get my money back?
Flying Bike has members all over the US; you don’t have to live in Seattle, or even Washington, to be a member!
A member’s voting share is returned to the Co-op when membership in the Co-op is terminated under the conditions set forth in the Co-op’s Articles of Incorporation and Bylaws However, only members in Washington State are eligible to purchase Flying Bike preferred shares. If the Board finds that a member is no longer eligible to own Shares in the Cooperative or who has otherwise become ineligible for membership, then the Board has the right to redeem the Shares at an amount equal to the value of the consideration for which the Shares were issued. Upon such redemption, the ineligible holder ceases to be a member, to have voting rights and to receive a patronage dividend.
Can the Co-op be financially successful?
Yes! We are very confident of this. Our business plan shows the potential of profit by the second or third year of operation, using very realistic assumptions. The intent is that the Co-op will have the ability to generate profit so that we can provide additional services to the membership and the community. Future decisions will determine how the funds are used. Some of these actions may include enhancement of the services offered in the brewery, expansion of the brewery, reduction of prices, increased dividends for members, increased wages, or investment in community projects. The membership, through the Board of Directors, will make the decisions about these actions.
If I buy a preferred share and for some reason the Co-op doesn’t open a brewery, do I get my money back?
If the Co-op ever goes out of business, its assets will be liquidated and funds will be used in the following order: liabilities will be paid to secured and unsecured creditors and the remaining cash will be distributed to shareholders and members. Currently, Class A preferred shareholders (the current offering) would be next in line, receiving up to the amount each shareholder’s investment. However, keepy in mind that it is unlikely that all of an owner’s preferred stock investment could be returned if the Co-op ceases operation before the store opens because some expenses will have been incurred and no income will have been received. We have built pro forma financial statements to confirm for ourselves and for potential member-owners that a brewery can be opened and be successful. We have a high degree of confidence in the future of the Co-op, but the investment does have risk. You must review the Disclosure Statement before making any investment decision.
Will I get my money back if the Co-op closes after a brewery is opened?
If the Co-op ever goes out of business, its assets will be liquidated, its liabilities will be paid and the remaining cash will be distributed to shareholders.
Will the Co-op need money in addition to memberships?
Yes. Flying Bike will also conduct fund-raising, seek loans from members, and may borrow money from outside sources. Success in all of these depends on having sufficient memberships, so they are the fundamental source of capital and the foundation of the Co-op.
Can I work there? / Will I have to work there?
You will not be required to work or volunteer at the Co-op. When the brewery opens, we hope to make volunteer opportunities available to interested members, when allowed by Washington State law. The brewery will have paid staff, which could certainly be hired from within the membership.
Will Flying Bike be non-profit?
Yes and No. Flying Bike is incorporated under the Washington State Nonprofit Miscellaneous and Mutual Corporation Act. However, we are not considered a non-profit under federal law, and thus, contributions to Flying Bike are not tax deductible. Flying Bike will not be profit-driven. Some businesses exist to earn a profit for their owners. Cooperatives exist to provide a service to their owners. A well-run Co-op needs to be able to earn a modest profit. This profit allows the Co-op to invest in the growth of the business to better serve its member-owners, to invest in the community, or to take other actions consistent with its mission. Additional profit that results from members’ patronage will be refunded to them. A portion of this refund will be in cash or vouchers. The balance may be in increased equity in the Co-op. The Board of Directors working with all the member-owners determines these actions.
Do you have paid staff?
Currently, No. The Board of Directors is completely volunteer. Before the brewery opens we will hire additional staff, including a brewmaster and a general manager. Once open, we’ll have paid staff working in the taproom. Volunteer members will provide extra services that add to the brewery experience!
How do I join? Click on the “join now” button, below!