All posts by Jodi M

Worker Spotlight: Hayden Powers

1. What is your position and what do you do at Black Star?
I am the assistant manager of the Pub Team at Black Star. Anyone reading this probably
knows the majority of my responsibilities, but I also am the one who buys the non-
alcoholic beverages for when you don’t feel like a beer.

2. Where are you from?
Originally from South Dakota, but I spent most of my formative years in Phoenix,
Arizona. Escaped the cold at an early age and never looked back, it seems.

3. How long have you been in Austin, and what is one of your favorite places or things about living
here?

I have lived in Austin for just over two years now. Despite it being during the bulk of the
pandemic, I very much enjoy the number of parks and disc golf courses in the city.
Coming from Phoenix, the amount of green is extremely refreshing.

4. What do you enjoy about Black Star Co-op?
The availability of information about the business itself and open channels of
communication really make me feel as though I am an important part of the co-op.

5. What’s one fun or unusual thing about working at Black Star that is different from other jobs you
had?

This is my first food service job in general, so there are a ton of things that I haven’t
experienced from the other side of the counter until recently. Since the Workers’
Assembly is responsible for running this show, including some maintenance duties, I
have had a lot of fun exploring the nooks and crannies of the building. Seems like I am
finding new hidden corners constantly.
6. What is your favorite house beer?
For the longest time it was Self Esteem, but I have really fallen in love with Roze Sap
over the last few months. Still new-ish to the beer game so I haven’t fully worked up to
IPAs yet.

7. What do you do outside of work with your free time? 
Most of my free time is spent on my computer, whether that be playing games or
watching shows. Outside of that, I spend a lot of time with my nephew, who I nannied for
the first two years of his life. Also dabble in some disc golf during those valuable free
afternoons.

8. The pandemic has limited travel for everyone, but what is one of your favorite places you visited
or trips you have taken in the past?

I actually just recently returned from a trip to Charleston, South Carolina. I had a great
time walking around the French District, visiting various historical sites, from Fort Sumter
to a plantation house, and eating the extremely fresh seafood!

9. Any Last words to the co-op members?
One of the best parts of this job is seeing familiar faces and learning peoples’ names
(after much trial and error). Just wanted to thank you all for your continued support.

March Merch

Is it just me or is it incredibly cold this March? There’s nothing weirder than Texas weather! If you already packed up your winter coats, come by Black Star and pick up a crewneck or hoodie. They also work great for when it’s finally warm and your AC is on blast. If the cold doesn’t bother you, come by and grab some green merch to get ready for St.Paddy’s! Green merch (green t-shirt and koozies) are 25% off for the month of March. With SXSW coming up next week, you’ll want everyone to know you’re an owner of the 2022 BREWERY OF THE YEAR. There’s no better way to let people know you’re a true Austinite. Member-Owner shirts come in sizes XS-XXXL, so come pick one up! If you’re reading this and thinking, “how am I supposed to drink beer out of a t-shirt?” don’t worry, we have insulated growlers ready for you to fill up with your favorite beer!

Brewery of the Year

 

Hello all!
       I am writing this article because it struck me that we haven’t yet given an official update from the brewery since last month’s exciting highlights. On February 19th, the Texas Craft Brewers Guild held their annual meeting and debuted the first ever Texas Craft Brewers Cup, a state wide beer competition. I happened to be out of town that day, so I was super bummed that I couldn’t be in attendance. But I had our Business Team Manager, Jodi, and our Beer Team Cellar Worker, Rachel, attending in my stead. As the day turned into night, I honestly forgot that the competition was happening and assumed the event had wrapped up.
       Then I got the first text. “Recalcitrant Dockhand just won Gold!!!” I immediately felt that surge of emotion I felt in 2015 when we took home the same honors for the same beer at the Great American Beer Festival in Denver. About 30 minutes went by, and I was still smiling from our win.
       The second text hit different. “OMG, Moebius just won Gold too!!!” I started yelling and told everyone within earshot. Overjoyed, I got into my car and began driving back to Austin for the night. Half way back into town I got a phone call and found out that Black Star had taken home “Brewery Of The Year” for 0-799bbl of production. I immediately rerouted to Austin Beerworks for some much needed celebratory beers. I could barely contain my excitement. Not just for me, not just for the Beer Team, but Black Star as a whole.
       It’s not often you get the bragging rights of “Brewery of the Year” but we damn sure do in 2022. This win is a distillation of every past brewer and co-worker at Black Star, every Member-Owner that has been involved in our growth as a company, and every person in the community who has supported what we do for 11 years. Community-Owned Beer means Community-Owned Wins. Come bite the medals at your earliest convenience (maybe not literally?).
Cheers!

Worker Spotlight: Matthew Sears

1. What is your position and what do you do at Black Star?

I work in the kitchen. We kind all kind of switch up and cover difference roles, but I do a lot of
line work and some specials.

2. How long have you been cooking and where?

I’ve been cooking for about 6-7 years in different places around town. I heard about Black Star
from Jeff (former Black Star head chef) and thought it sounded interesting with the structure of
the coop and way everyone gets to contribute.

3. Where are you from?

I spent time as a kid in Oceanside, CA, but I was kind of an “army brat” and lived in a lot of
places.

4. How long have you been in Austin, and what is one of your favorite places or things about living
here?

I came to Austin 2007 and studied Photography and Communications at St. Edwards. I played in
a couple bands and eventually found an interest in the food scene. It really seemed to blend my
artistic interests and the more I got into it the more I kind of fell in love with it.

5. What do you enjoy about Black Star Co-op?

Great beer and how the whole vibe aligns with my values. I’ve worked in all types of
restaurants, and I really like the co-op model here at Black Star. I heard about the coop from
Jeff, who told me about how the kitchen team runs things and it sounded interesting, with a lot
of opportunity for real contribution and making a mark.

6. What’s one fun or unusual thing about working at Black Star that is different from other jobs you
had?

If you have something to say you have a voice and a chance to raise your idea or suggestion.
You get a chance to exercise autonomy and to give feedback on how things are working. That’s
unusual in the industry. If you want to do something different, then hey, make a proposal and
bring it up with the team.

7. Do you have a favorite house beer?

I’d say right now Self Esteem or Midtown, also Roze Sap when we have it. My preferences have
changed over time and I still enjoy a wide variety of beers, but tend toward the lighter styles at
the moment.

8. What do you do outside of work with your free time? (Or what do you imagine yourself doing if
pandemic restrictions weren’t still in place?)

I  like to play music and eventually I’d like to do some recording. I play the guitar, as well as
some bass and piano. I also enjoy playing video games. One of my recent favorites is Dark
Souls. There’s a new game coming out from the same publisher that I’m looking forward to
playing called Elden Ring, which was produced in collaboration with George R.R. Martin, the
creator of Game of Thrones. It looks incredible, with fantastic world building and characters.

9. If you could snap your fingers and become an expert at something, what would it be?

I’d really like to become an expert in the Japanese art of butchering yakitori style. There is just a
really interesting and different approach to the way they will cut up, say a chicken, that
produces these really efficient and flavorful cuts with very little waste. It’s a different approach
than a traditional western method for butchery.
I’ve had a longtime interest in both the food and the culture of Japan and would love to travel
there one day. Some of my favorite places in town to get my food fix are Tatsu-Ya and Michi
Ramen. There is also a really great ramen place called Ramen 512 that started as a pop-up but
now has a physical location.

10. Any Last words to the co-op members?

Look forward to more good stuff from the kitchen! As things get more and more stable with the
pandemic business and staffing, I think we will have more interesting things. For instance, the
Basque-style cheesecake that we had recently was my idea and it seems to have gotten a good
reception from the members and customers, which has been gratifying.
Also, if you have feedback for us, let us know. We are always interested to hear from our
members about what they are enjoying or would like to see. We have a lot of good ideas, and
hopefully we can start exploring some of them as things continue to pick up.

Worker Spotlight: Abbie Rose <3

 

 

Last week, Board Director James Farris had the opportunity to sit down with Black Star’s Abbie Rose.

1.    What is your position and what do you do at Black Star?
I’m on the kitchen team and I was elected to the role of Worker
Development earlier this fall.

2.    Where are you from?
I grew up in Boerne, Texas in the Hill Country.

3.    How long have you been in Austin, and what is one of your favorite
places or things about living here?
I moved to Austin after college in 2010, I’d always kind of known that’s
where I was headed and I couldn’t wait to get here. The city has changed
so much but my favorite parts, the natural beauty, the greenbelt and an
abundance of good friends, have mostly stayed the same.

4.    What do you enjoy about Black Star Co-op?
I love all of the people involved, from the workers assembly to the
board of directors to our member owners and regulars, Black Star has
this magnetism that draws some really cool and interesting
personalities. I also love the opportunities this co-op creates for
mentorship, community engagement and experimentation with people-centric
alternatives to standard business practices.

5.    What’s one fun or unusual thing about working at Black Star that
is different from other jobs you’ve had?
I’ve never worked in a kitchen with such a healthy culture of respect,
communication and collaboration. It’s the most refreshing thing to not
have to worry about showing up to a toxic environment every day just
because you love working with food, especially as a woman. The industry
is growing up and we’re starting to see demands for better conditions
and safer work environments across the board with restaurants and I’m so
grateful to be where I am and proud of Black Star for being so ahead of
the curve with that kind of thing. Also just the level at which my input
has had an impact literally from day one never ceases to blow me away,
it’s a very good feeling to know that you have a say in matters at every
level of the organization.

6.    What is your favorite house beer?
I don’t always drink beer but when I do, I drink Self Esteem.

7.    What do you do outside of work with your free time? (Or what do
you imagine yourself doing if pandemic restrictions weren’t still in
place?)
These days I’m more of a homebody than ever before and it’s been nice to
lean into that. I spend most evenings with my fiancé at home, working on
projects, cooking big meals or just hanging out, and spending time with
my family and friends. I keep telling myself I’m going to make room for
painting again but we’ll see when that happens.

8.    The pandemic has limited travel for everyone, but what is one of
your favorite places you visited or trips you have taken in the past? Or
where would you like to go, if you could take a trip anywhere?
My fiancé and I have been talking lately about our dream honeymoon and I
spend a lot of time thinking about that. We want to take a few weeks,
buy Eurail tickets and live on and off the train all over Europe. In our
perfect world we hop on the train, cozy up in a sleeping car and spend
the day wherever we happen to be when we wake up in the morning.
Hopefully the world will heal enough in the next year to make something
like that happen, but either way it’s really nice to think about.

9.    Any Last words to the co-op members?
Just thank you, honestly, thank you so much for supporting us and what
we do here. These last few months have been a real rollercoaster dealing
with staffing and infrastructure problems out of anyone’s control on top
of continued strangeness from Covid times and if we were a different
kind of place we may not have weathered the storms. I love this place
and I want to keep working here for a long long time and it really is
the support and patronage from our member owners that are going to make
that possible, so really, I can’t thank you enough <3

Board Candidates

 

Graham Green

A Brentwood local, keen beer drinker and home-brewer graham is originally from the land of cask
beer (England) but has acclimatized well to Austin since moving here in 2013. His wife (an austin
original), claims he becomes a little more Texan every day, a claim he disputes. His main gig is in product
marketing for a local engineering firm, where he employs strategic, project management and
evangelism skill that he hopes to bring to the black star board. His side gigs include, playing trombone in
a local jazz band, spoiling his small white fluffy dog, and eating good cheese – all skills and activities with
less direct use during board meetings, but who knows what the future brings…. Graham is excited about
continuing to serve the black star coop members and contributing to support and build a quality
neighborhood pub!

Candidate’s Questions:
1. Why are you interested in serving on the Board of Directors of the Co-op?
I was talking to a worker at the coop the other day, and he explained how at BlackStar, for the first time,
he has a voice. He has a say in how the business runs, and in his own destiny with it. This is the
difference between our coop and the average bar you might walk into. We have a business model where
people come together, so that everybody is valued, and everybody wins.
However, this doesn’t all come for free. To make it work will take time, effort, and belief. I have served
on the board for three years now. It’s not been the three years I expected, but together with the
workers assembly we have built a stronger position coming out of the pandemic than going in.
I feel I’ve spent my first term on the board learning, about our Co-op, about our people and about our
needs. A second term would allow me to contribute more as I can hit the ground running.

2. What goals would you like to see Black Star Co-op achieve in the next year? Five years?
In the next five years I would like Black Star to grow our presence in the community. This means
reaching a wider audience and building a deeper relationship with each person we touch. Not only will
this be good for the business, but it will allow us to evangelize our values.

3. What qualities and past experience do you have for serving on the Black Star Co-op Board of
Directors?
I work for a large tech company here in Austin where I specialize in go-to-market strategy and marketing
evangelism. The primary short/medium term need for the coop is to get more people into the pub and
raise our topline. This will give us more flexibility to get beyond day-to-day operational stress and start
investing strategically for the long-term success of the coop. This is a marketing a sales function, which I
have experience in and can advise effectively.

4. Name one way in which you’d like the Black Star Co-op Pub and Brewery to stand out from other
local brewpubs.

BlackStar is a community as well as a pub. It is a made by its people more than its building or even its
beer. I would like to see BlackStar continuing to invest in the great people in the workers assembly,
supporting member/owners, and bringing in the local community too.
BlackStar will stand out from other brewpubs when more people here in Austin describe it as “my pub”,
rather than just “a pub”.

5. What is your favorite Co-operative Principle and why?
I think the democratic processes within the coop are important (no 2) but my favorite is 7 – concern for
the community. As stated earlier in this brief – BlackStar has an opportunity to lead by example with a
set of values and business model that allows everyone to win. I do not believe that BlackStar should
become some kind of political action group but we can influence those around us towards a better and
more just society (full of happy, beer drinking people).

 

 

Autumn Kervella

Hi! My name is Autumn and I’m a rare Austin Native! I grew up in the Crestview neighborhood and
come from a family of Black Star Co-op Members! I graduated from Trinity University with a degree in
Communication, but currently work in Education Tech and am also a small business owner (Brew Pub +
Coffee Roasters in the Philippines)! I enjoy all things craft (beer + food) and I look forward to working
and getting to know you all soon!

Candidate’s Questions:
1. Why are you interested in serving on the Board of Directors of the Co-op?
I’ve grown up in the neighborhood, in the beer world and basically at Black Star, through the
involvement of my parents. It’s time to be involved myself! I am looking forward to continuing the
growth of Black Star and assisting in any way possible!

2. What goals would you like to see Black Star Co-op achieve in the next year? Five years?
Black Star is a wonderfully unique organization that I think is just more or less unknown to most
Austinites. I want to see the reach of Black Star grow this year, specifically on Social Media. With the
continued growth of Austin- specifically outward into smaller neighborhoods (like
Crestview/Brentwood), Black Star will have the opportunity to grow as a known neighborhood pub more
and more. With new apartments popping-up everywhere and the growth of the FC team the
opportunities for growth in these 2 demographics is very exciting!

3. What qualities and past experience do you have for serving on the Black Star Co-op Board of
Directors?

In addition to seeing Black Star grow over ten years as a customer, I have also lived across the US and
abroad and witnessed a lot of similar ideas – and been a part of creating my own brew-pub. Two years
ago, I opened a small brewpub and Coffee Roasters in the Philippines and much of my passion and
excitement was due to seeing Black Star grow! After working in the industry and being a small business
owner, I bring a similar experience. I worked specifically in marketing and social media for the business,
which saw a 300% growth in one year. I am also an active member of my community and regularly go
out, so I look forward to spreading the word about Black Star.

4. Name one way in which you’d like the Black Star Co-op Pub and Brewery to stand out from other local
brewpubs.
Black Star is so socially responsible and involved in city and community efforts and organizations – a fact
I believe most customers don’t realize. I would like to see the continuation of these efforts and to
highlight them amongst community members and member owners. Meals for the homeless, paid time
off, Wish You Were Queer ( brewed in collab with Out Youth!) are just a few of things I think our
member owners could be more involved with. By featuring some of these efforts I’d like to see the
community support grow around the principles that make Black Star so unique.

5. What is your favorite Co-operative Principle and why?
My favorite principle of the co-op is #5, as it is concerned with the education part of the co-op,
specifically to “inform the general public – particularly young people and opinion leaders”. Educating the
community about co-operatives in general and the value of it is what makes Black Star stand out from
other brew-pubs in Austin. Providing education and peaking interest in younger people in the
community lends to growth and social awareness.

 

 

Jeffrey W. Ouellette

 Jeffrey W. Ouellette is a technology and culture progress advocate for the global built asset
industry (buildings and infrastructure). Leveraging his past 30+ years of experience in design,
construction, and software development and marketing, he is an independent consultant for local,
national, and international companies and organizations that desire to utilize standards and industry
best practices as they work to become more digitally adept. Jeff’s work provides him an opportunity to
regularly travel around the world and enthusiastically experience beer, food, and social culture in all its
many varieties… stories he will gladly share with you over a pint. He has been a resident of Austin since
1996 and is married to a native Austinite, Rebecca, with whom have two kids and a dog… all frequent,
and appreciative, patrons of the Co-op

.

Candidate’s Questions:
1. Why are you interested in serving on the Board of Directors of the Co-op?
I have been a member-owner since 02/23/2018, less than a year after my family first moved into
Midtown Commons. The Co-op has been my go-to refuge through thick and thin, being able to celebrate
or commiserate with my family, friends, and fellow patrons. It is an integral part of the community I live
in and source of many new friendships and comraderies. I feel like it is important for me to serve and
participate more deeply in an organization that I believe in and cherish.

2. What goals would you like to see Black Star Co-op achieve in the next year? Five years?

I would like to see the Co-op get its sales, hours, and staffing back up to prepandemic levels in the next
year, even slightly exceeding them. In five years, I would like to see us have more events with more
community partners. I think people really appreciate when establishments like the Co-op work to
support local non-profits – charities and social-service organizations – providing opportunities for patrons
to “give a little, get a little” in a social atmosphere. It would also be nice to host more unique live music
events in semi-regular fashion (e.g. Austin Bluegrass Improv).

3. What qualities and past experience do you have for serving on the Black Star Co-op Board of
Directors?
I am lucky enough to travel the world through my professional work and experience pub, food, and
social life in many other cultures. I hope that sharing such experiences can give the Co-op members,
board, and workers inspiration in finding new opportunities and ways of bringing the co-op experience
to more people. My current consulting role has me working with other non-profit organizations and my
previous professional experience also includes product marketing and sales for an international
software company. I hope I can bring ideas from those experiences to make the Co-op an even better
experience for even more people.

4. Name one way in which you’d like the Black Star Co-op Pub and Brewery to 6 stand out from
other local brewpubs.

I think the Co-op’s 7th principle, Concern for Community, can be further leveraged and promoted, by
engaging our local community organizations in a way most pubs don’t even consider and then getting
more press coverage for day-to-day operations as much as community-centric work and events. It may
be easier for the Co-op to stand out in a nexus of neighborhoods like Crestview/Highland/Brentwood,
where the pub options are scarcer, but it is even more compelling to expand our idea of “Concern for
Community” throughout the city and influence the behavior of consumers and other businesses.

5. What is your favorite Co-operative Principle and why?
#2 – Democratic Member Control. In an age where no one feels like they have any control or influence
over so many aspects of their life, having an opportunity to give a voice to your concerns and desires for
something that you are involved with on a daily, or casual, basis, is meaningful and unique.

 

 

Book Your Holiday Event with Black Star!

Let’s face it, we’re all overwhelmed. We’ve been through a lot, and even the haters are starving for a little human hugs and affection. So if you’re overdue for a little get together with family, friends, or co-workers, contact us today to schedule a stress and deposit free holiday event. Our space can accommodate groups of up to 60 in our casual, friendly, and cozy environment. Don’t stress, y’all. Keep it simple and Eat. Drink. Cooperate.

 

Email: info@blackstar.coop

Phone: 512-452-2337

The Fish & Chips Co-NONE-drum

Over the past year at the Co-op I have learned everything there is to know about our fish and chips and the cult-like following that it inspires. The people love it and the people gotta have it and the people feel all of life’s disappointments when the people can’t get it. Because I love fish and chips and I love giving the people what they want, I am here to set the record straight and hopefully put minds at ease.
 Black Drum (Pogonias cromis to be exact) is the flaky white fish we use for this dish. It has a clean, briny flavor and fries well in a wet batter. However, the fish itself is quite sensitive and many variables affect it’s availability and it’s market price. The first factor is how they fish for Black Drum. It must be sport fished (caught with rod & reel), the size must be between 14in-30in, and it is caught using flat-bottom/shallow water boats. They are found in the jetties and shallow channels around the gulf near structures and feed mostly on shrimp, crab, and oysters near the muddy shores of the gulf. Because of this habitat they are sensitive to  temperature changes and increased barometric pressure. This means extreme weather makes them run to deeper water making it more challenging to be caught by the fisherman in the flat-bottom fishing boats they use. During winter storm Uri the Drum populations became almost non-existent. Following that storm was the beginning of hurricane season and tropical depressions that brought weeks of rainy days and then we rolled into the heat wave we are currently experiencing. All of this to paint a picture of the stress that these animals have been under and why it’s making it hard to catch enough to keep up with demand.
 Due to all these factors we, as a leadership team, decided to move to a catfish dish for the summertime. Austin is, after all, an inland city and sourcing from the Gulf is a luxury that only became apparent during the pandemic when the luxury was no longer there. Our catfish is farmed nearby in Texas and is not as affected by the weather in the Gulf of Mexico. Rest assured that every time we place an order with our seafood distributor we inquire about the status of Black Drum and it’s availability and when they believe it should level out. I know how important this dish is to our community here and I want to provide the people with the things that make them happy. As soon as our weather becomes even a little bit predictable and the fisherman get back to fishing we will restore the Fish and Chips to it’s fabled glory and good times will be had by all. I hope this was informational and we appreciate the understanding of all our guests when dining with us at Black Star.
Salud.

Members Assembly and Thirsty Thursday

It has been quite the 18 months hasn’t it my friends! But this month as
the Austin sun returns to bake our fair city, we have an opportunity to
celebrate all that we have: our resilience, our humanity, our co-op, our
cold beer and our member owners!

In recognition of all that we have endured, BSCO would like to thank and
recognize all the members who have persevered with us in recent times
with a celebratory event, happy hour and social. Let’s get together,
review the state of the business, pull some (free for members) pitchers
from behind the bar, snack on some chips, and feel just a little bit of
that stress float away.

You are invited at 6pm on Thursday July 1st to join us at BSCO to meet
with your fellow member/owners as well as the worker assembly and board
members. We shall review the annual report, conduct feedback activities
relevant to the operation of your co-op, hear the vision the kitchen,
beer and business teams have for the coming year, and drink a beer or
two. Or three (responsibly).

We recognize that as our membership grows, we should not limit this
event to only those within reach of the pub. We alas, cannot post you a
beer, but I shall set up a zoom link so that you can chat questions and
have your say with regards to the operation of your co-op. Please email
me at graham.green@blackstar.coop for login information with subject
line “Thirsty Thursday”.

Many thanks and all the best. See you on July 1st @ 6PM.

Volunteer Opportunity: Report Committee

Dear Valued Member-Owners –

The Workers’ Assembly and the Black Star Board are currently preparing
the 2020 Report to Member-Owners.  We are looking for one or two
volunteers to assist in reviewing the report, asking any questions, and
providing a stamp of approval.  This volunteer opportunity will require
anywhere from 1.5 to 3 hours total, over one or two meetings.  The first
meeting will be held on May 19th from 6:00 PM to 7:30 PM.
If you are interested in joining us in this work, please contact Dacia
Schoolfield at dacia.schoolfield@blackstar.coop.

Prost!