Yellow City Co-op Brewpub is a cooperatively owned brewpub. So what does that mean? Well, to understand what cooperatve ownership means, it's helpful to understand what our co-op is and how it works and why we're opening a brewpub this way.
To break down our business model, it's essential to know that there are two things going on here:
1. The Co-op
2. The Brewpub
Yellow City Co-op is a cooperatve association organized and incorporated under the Texas Business Organization Code, Chapter 251. Are you lost? Don't be. Whereas some businesses are partnerships, and some are limited liability companies, and some are corporations, we are a cooperative association. What this means in practical terms is that the ownership of Yellow City is invested in the membership. So the simple equation looks like this:
Membership = Ownership
And this is seriously true. If you become a member today you become an owner today. The ownership of the Co-op will always reside with the membership - not with the investors, not with the directors, and never with a corporation or outside entity. So the Co-op can be thought of as the ownership entity that will open and operate the brewpub, which brings us to the distinction between the Co-op and the brewpub. While Yellow City was formed to open the brewpub, the Co-op is not the brewpub in a strict sense. For example, say the brewpub is incredibly popular and successful (which it will be), and five years down the road the board of directors or the membership (or both) decide to open a production brewery at a second location. Then the Co-op would open this brewery, and the Co-op would then be operating both a brewpub and a brewery. Our business scope would change, but we would still be the same cooperatively owned business, although we might then consider changing our name to "Yellow City Co-op Brewing Co." or something like that.
The point is, the brewpub is a co-op, but the Co-op is not necessarily a brewpub. Confused? Think of it this way: if you owned a brewpub (which you can, incidentally; but we mean if you owned it by yourself), you would not cease to be yourself just because you owned and operated a brewpub. And we want you to be yourself! So it is with Yellow City. If the Membership wants Yellow City to open a gas station, then we'll figure out how to do that. If the Membership wants to get into the grocery business, then we'd figure that out, too. The point is that the Co-op is going to open this brewpub, which is currently our only ambition, and so we need a full body of owners who are invested in the effort. The operating brewpub will of course be staffed by professionals and run as a for profit business, but it will always be run for the benefit of the Membership. Want to benefit? Then become an owner today!