Member-Owned Full Barrel Cooperative to Open Burlington Brewery | Food News | Seven Days | Vermont's Independent Voice

Food + Drink » Food News

Member-Owned Full Barrel Cooperative to Open Burlington Brewery

By

Full Barrel Cooperative members (from left): Brook Martenis, Evie Kolk, Windy Jones, Peter McConville, Matt Cropp (kneeling), Casey Thomas, Jessica Avison and Mellisa Cain - MELISSA PASANEN
  • Melissa Pasanen
  • Full Barrel Cooperative members (from left): Brook Martenis, Evie Kolk, Windy Jones, Peter McConville, Matt Cropp (kneeling), Casey Thomas, Jessica Avison and Mellisa Cain

Vermont's first community-owned brewery, Full Barrel Cooperative Brewery & Taproom, hosted an outdoor beer garden on October 15 behind its new half-barrel brewery. It was the inaugural public event at the 6-year-old co-op's first permanent home at 12-22 North Street.

More than 125 people attended, according to Matt Cropp, a founding co-op member and board president. They drank beer brewed by two co-op members and ate food from neighborhood restaurants Kismayo Kitchen, Knead Bakery and Nunyuns Bakery & Café.

The brewery has federal and city permits to brew and sell beer, but it had to give away beer brewed off-premises at the event due to a backlog at the Vermont Division of Liquor Control that has delayed its state license, Cropp said.

With that license in hand, a five-member operations team led by brewmaster and board member Windy Jones will produce a rotation of Full Barrel beers in the 200-square-foot basement room. The nanobrewery will be open to the public for tastings and growler fills on Friday and Saturday nights.

Cropp said the co-op hopes to vend Full Barrel at farmers markets while continuing to hold partner pop-up events in larger spaces, as well as member homebrew tastings and collaborative educational offerings.

Full Barrel was inspired by cooperative breweries in Austin, Texas; Minneapolis; and Seattle, said Cropp, 34. The goal was to create a gathering place owned by community members and built on something they cared about.

"My generation is into craft beer," he said. "It's kind of like our Elks or Eagles clubs."

Since its 2015 founding, the co-op has grown to 144 members, each of whom has bought at least one $100 share. Full Barrel raised money for the new brewery's equipment and overhead — about $21,000 — largely through shares, Cropp said. The co-op model will eventually return any brewery profits to members.

The original print version of this article was headlined "Cooperative Kegs"