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Hopsters Is Australia's First Co-op Brewery

May your dreams of owning a brewery come true.
By Marissa Ciampi
April 20, 2016
By Marissa Ciampi
April 20, 2016

If you've always dreamed of owning a brewery, you're about to get your big shot. Initially Sydney-based, Hopsters Co-op Brewery is the first Australian brewhouse made by the people, for the people. Craft beer entrepreneur Marco Vargas is the man behind the plan and he's collaborating with mates Ross Hynard and Louie Jahjah to get this big dream off the ground — a cooperative brewery that's funded by membership.

"This is our passion project," says Vargas. "We've met a lot of home brewers who are really passionate but don't have the capacity to do it themselves, so we realised that the best way is together."

Co-op breweries have seen considerable success in US, with five currently in operation, but Hopsters is the first of its kind in Australia. "I believe it will be a strong business because everyone in the community has a stake in it," says Vargas.

The Hopsters motto "drink like you own the place" sums up the concept well. Member benefits will include access to brewing equipment, community collaboration brews, exclusive events and discounts at the brewery's taproom. Anyone from the community can join — from craft beer industry leaders to home brewers and beer geeks. "We plan to hold a monthly social where members can meet and talk beer," says Vargas.

The team's goal is to open five breweries with 5000 members Australia-wide, the first of which is set to open in Leichhardt by the end of 2016. They dream big — as in expecting 2000 members by the end of the year big. The building they're currently locked onto is owned by the same landlord as the Wayward Brewing Co., a good sign for the brewing liberties to come.

A lifetime membership costs $250 per person, which, all things considered, is quite the bargain. While they aren't taking payments until the brewery is set to go, you can register your interest to get in at ground level.

Check out Hopsters' website for more details on how to become a member.

Published on April 20, 2016 by Marissa Ciampi
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  • Reader comments...

    Chip Henriss - May 3, 2016

    Sorry they are not Australia's first. That would be 888 Cooperative Brewey and it is only the first since the early 1900s when there were many. Also they are not a workers coop. But good luck to them!

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