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 does 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. Once the brewery is profitable, 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 Cooperative?
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 is Flying Bike Cooperative Brewery different from other breweries?
Flying Bike is much more than a brewery: it is a community-owned business that produces delicious beer, sourced from the membership, while also providing opportunities for beer education and a 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 is welcome to visit the taproom, and everyone (over 21 years old) is welcome to join!
If everybody can patronize 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; and members currently receive member-only discounts and event invites. Members also get access to exclusive perks such as representing Flying Bike by pouring beer at festivals, and even having their own corny keg filled with Co-op beer! Even better, members may enter their homebrew in beer competitions and help select winning brews to be produced by Flying Bike and put on tap in the Tasting Room!
When and where will Flying Bike be opening?
We have opened our Tasting Room and Brewery in the very walkable, vibrant neighborhood of Greenwood, in Seattle.
How many member-owners do you need?
As of opening, we have over 1,500 member-owners of Flying Bike. Membership is still open and contributes not only to the capital used to enhance the brewery, but also creates a strong community of people who enjoy Craft beer, and the concept of a Cooperatively run business.
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. Initially 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. Concurrently, the Board of Directors spent countless hours researching legal requirements, building a solid business plan, and vetting potential brewery locations. The result is our current 3,100 ft Tasting Room and 500bbl (annual output) brewery.
How much does ownership cost?
A lifetime membership costs $200. This amount purchases one voting share in the Co-op. This is a one-time purchase, with no recurring fees.
Is there a payment plan for memberships?
Not at this point; full payment is necessary upon becoming a member-owner.
Can a person own more than one voting share?
No. One share per person, and equal voting share as any other member. We did have an offering of non-voting perferred shares that was used to finance the build out of the Brewery.
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. 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.
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 has a paid staff, which could certainly be hired as needed from within the membership.
Is Flying Bike a 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?
Yes – the only paid staff are those directly serving beer or operating the brewery. The Board of Directors is completely volunteer. Volunteer members are always needed to provide extra services that add to the brewery experience!
How do I join? Click on the “join now” button, below!