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Dallas McCulloch poses beside a fresh blend of peach cider made in his home brewery. It has been converted into alcohol.
Dallas McCulloch has beer on the brain. He loves beer. He has traveled the world tasting beer. Plus, the 25 year old has his own beer brewery set up in his house. But his brewery is only the first step. He is creating a cooperative beer brewery in Grand Rapids for all beer lovers to sip some booze. It’s called High Five Co-op Brewery.
He said it’s similar to Black Star Co-op Pub and Brewery located in Austin, TX. This business is “owned and directed by the people it serves: its membership,” according to its website.
Anyone can become an owner of the Black Star Co-op Pub and Brewery after buying one membership share for $150. Each member has one vote “to elect the Board of Directors who set the long term goals of the Co-op.”
In consumer co-ops, the owners of the business are also patrons. McCulloch said the point of the business isn’t to make its business owners rich, but to provide an enjoyable place for its owners—and others—to drink and learn about beer. Offering an inside-look on a brewery session is one way he wants to educate the public about beer.
Initially, McCulloch took his idea and presented it in December 2011 during the 5x5 Night at the Grand Rapids Art Museum. He called his idea the “Super Beer Co-op.” McCulloch presented his “Super Beer Co-op” idea and won.
Ben and Allison O’Connor, owners of O'Connor's Home Brew Supply at 613 Lyon Street, said McCulloch’s beer co-operative idea is “good business.” They understand McCulloch’s idea to be more of an educational experience about beer.
“I’m going to try to get involved with the co-op as much as I can,” Ben O'Connor said.
McCulloch used some of his winnings to go to Texas to check out how Black Star Co-op Pub and Brewery operates.
Now back in Grand Rapids, McCulloch said the High Five Co-op Brewery has its own website, Facebook Fan page—449 followers and growing—and Twitter feed.
McCulloch said a good location for the co-operative brewery would be somewhere between downtown and Eastown, where he and many of his potential patrons reside.
“Somewhere in easily stumbling distance from where a lot of the patrons will be living,” he quipped
McCulloch said he knows good beer. Growing up in a Scottish family, he was “exposed to a lot of Scottish style beer, which is amazing compared to the piss water that’s the majority of the beer consumed in the United States,” he said.
As McCulloch brewed his beer, he tried different recipes to get the right flavor. He said he even won a gold medal in a competition sanctioned by The Beer Judge Certification Program for home brewing and had one of his recipes used at HopCat, a local bar.
He said he has no ambition to be a billionaire. He just wants to enjoy beer.
“I want people to get excited about beer,” he said. “I want people to get excited about working in a community together, the awesomeness of beer, and how awesome Michigan is.”
I enjoy meeting new people and writing about the things that are important to them. I hope to become a professional journalist one day.
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