Black Star Co-op: Embodying the 7 Cooperative Principles

If you didn't already know, October is Coop Month! In honor of the occasion I've compiled a list of the 7 cooperative principles adopted by the International Cooperative Alliance and how Black Star practices each one.

1. Voluntary and Open Membership

Coop membership is open to anyone of legal drinking age with a valid physical and electronic mailing address. Members can revoke their membership at anytime and have their equity investment returned to them.

2. Democratic Member Control

Black Star is a democratically controlled business, where members elect the Board of Directors and vote on changes to our Bylaws and Ends Policies. In fact, there’s an election happening right now

3. Member Economic Participation

All members are expected to contribute the same equity investment. The member elected and controlled Board of Directors distributes the Co-op’s profit back into the business for expansion and growth, or declares a patronage dividend back to the owners based on how much money they spend at the Co-op throughout the year. Members with an additional investment in Black Star do not receive additional voting rights or privileges. 

4. Autonomy and Independence

Our business is only controlled by the members. There are no outside interests guiding our business or organizational decisions.

5. Education, Training, and Information

The Co-op strives to educate the members and public through various means. The Workers Assembly and Board of Directors publish monthly articles about topics related to our mission and vision. Black Star members are leaders in the cooperative community and actively participate in the governance and training of other cooperatives and allies. 

6. Cooperation Among Cooperatives

Black Star is a member of several cooperative associations and organizations, including: the National Cooperation Business Association, the Austin Cooperative Business Association, and the US Federation of Worker Cooperatives. Workers and members serve on board of other cooperative businesses, non-profits, and associations. Black Star actively works to promote and support other cooperative businesses whenever possible.

7. Concern for Community

Our work for the sustainable development of our communities is approved by the members through our Ends Policies. We are proud to offer as many locally sourced, quality goods as possible. We work with local businesses to keep our money in the Central Texas economy, and we’re proud to be one of the first LEED gold certified brewpubs in the country.