Good Work Austin – Keeping Us Safe

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is a safe place to dine? What should they do if Covid-19 cases continue to rise? Should they deny service to guests who choose not to follow any guidelines they develop?


How can they answer these tough questions? Through cooperation, of course! Good Work Austin began as a group of local businesses advocating for the City of Austin’s paid sick leave ordinance, with Black Star Coop playing a critical activist role. GWA developed a re-opening agreement that provides answers to these critical questions for restaurants, their customers, and the community, which includes the following commitments.

  1. Reservation sites and websites will include notices that diners cannot enter the restaurant if
    they are exhibiting any symptoms of Covid-19. We will deny service to guests who do not follow
    our clearly stated guidelines
  2. Employees will be counseled on appropriate behavior at and away from work by a medical
    professional to make sure that they are not putting our community at risk.
  3. Staff temperatures must be taken daily. Anyone with a 99.6º or higher temperature will be sent
    home.
  4. Staff who have experienced COVID-19 symptoms will be sent home and must fulfill one of the
    following options: 1) receive a note from a doctor allowing them to return to work; 2) receive a
    negative result from a COVID-19 test; 3) complete a 14 day self-quarantine.
  5. If an employee tests positive for Covid-19, we will thoroughly sanitize our business and require
    staff who worked with the infected employee anytime in the last 14 days to be tested or
    quarantined for two weeks.
  6. We will include an Employee Wellness Charge to provide our employees with access to health
    care and paid sick leave.
  7. All dine-In customers will provide their names. All dine-in customers and employees will
    complete a Health Declaration.
  8. All staff must wear masks while in the restaurant. Customers must wear masks except when
    they have food or beverage in front of them.
  9. Hand washing will be enforced every 30 minutes for all staff.
  10. Staff will have no intentional physical contact and will constantly be aware of the necessity of
    social distancing.
  11. We will dedicate certain employees to service customers and/or divide spaces and redefine
    roles to further separate employees and customers.
  12. Menus will be on display, online, or be sanitized after each use. Single-use menus will be
    available by request.
  13. Hand Sanitation stations will be placed at the entrance & exit of the restaurant and outside the
    restrooms.
  14. We are committed to ensuring proper ventilation of our indoor spaces by cleaning & changing
    filters more frequently and/or increasing fresh airflow.
  15. Adopt all elements of Open Texas Minimum Standard Health Protocols for facility, customers,
    and employees.

Over 100 local businesses including coffee shops, restaurants, breweries, and hotels have signed the
agreement. Considering Black Star Coop’s guiding principles of cooperation among cooperatives and
concern for community, the Worker’s Assembly signed this agreement. Collectively following these guidelines as we continue to plan our opening will help Black Star Coop members and non-member customers make informed decisions about the risks related to the pandemic and ensure the health and safety of our hard-working Workers.

Black Star Co-op Needs YOU!

Run for the Board! Directors review and craft policies and principles, represent the interests of all Member-Owners, and collaborate with the Workersʼ Assembly.


Interested? Now’s the time to attend a Board Meeting—from your own home! Our next meeting will be virtual at 9:30am on June 28th!


Contact the Leadership Development Committee (ldc@blackstar.coop) or the board(board@blackstar.coop) so we know you’re planning on coming and can share the connection link.

e-xtravaganza Catch up with member-owners, co-op workers, and friends! Learn how your co-op is faring during these interesting times.

A friend gave me advice recently not to accept my solitary day-to-day
situation as the “new normal” but to challenge myself to achieve a
normality despite a global health crisis. This has led me to consider how
to maintain activities, responsibilities, and friendships until these
difficult times have passed – yes there are compromises to be made,
but just putting everything on hold should not be a viable option.
In the spirit of this, just as the word church is said to represent the
people not the building, I would suggest that words Black Star Co-op
represent the personalities, the ideals, the beer, and the community –
all of which can be enjoyed beyond the confines of Easy Wind Drive. So
lets get together (virtually), raise and glass, and check in on how we are
all doing.

Our first Virtual Extravaganza Members event is scheduled for Sunday, June 7th at 4pm . Fill up a growler or grab a 6 pack from the Co-op and join us to learn about how your Co-op is doing. The hardworking staff from the Co-op will give an update as to how they are doing, how the business is
adapting to its situation, and how they are making decisions at this time
founded in our ethics and guiding principles. If you are lucky, Marcus
might treat us to a little co-op trivia, and Dacia will give the board
perspective on how the Co-op is operating with reference to the long
term financial stability we are all looking to secure.
Above this we want to hear from you! How are you doing? Have you
any stories to share with your fellow members? Questions about the
Co-op? Beer ideas? Groan-worthy jokes? Bring it on!

I’m going to schedule around 30-40 minutes content as big zoom calls
are always better with a little structure. After this we can descend into
more general chat. We shall be naming and shaming those who are not drinking Black Star beer…

!REGISTER HERE!

I joke, we would never do that. But if you can stop by the Co-op,
say hi to the pub team and fill up a growler or two, they would love to
see you! I can’t wait to see you. Stay safe and all the best

Black Star Co-op Needs YOU!

Run for the Board! Directors review and craft policies and principles, represent the interests of all Member-Owners, and collaborate with the Workersʼ Assembly. Interested? Now’s the time to attend a Board Meeting—from your own home!

Our next meeting will be virtual at 9:30am on May 31st!
Contact the Leadership Development Committee (ldc@blackstar.coop) or the board (board@blackstar.coop) so we know you’re planning on coming and can share the connection link.

Covid – 19 Update

In accordance with the City of Austin, State of Texas, and the US Federal Government, Black Star Co-op is currently operating for to-go only food and alcohol sales. As we navigate this difficult situation, we are remain cautious yet dedicated to providing our community with the highest quality of food and drinks that you have come to know and love.

The current situation remains fluid, and our menu and hours may adjust on a day to day basis. Currently, we will be open with a full (semi adjusted) lunch and dinner menu from 11am – 9pm daily. Please check in for daily updates here at our website, or on any of our social media platforms.

Curbside pickup is now available, so feel free to call ahead for food and/ or beer. We are doing our best to minimize contact and respect sanitization practices as directed by the CDC and COA.

We appreciate the support that we have already received from our regular patrons, member-owners, and the community at large. Please stay safe, and continue to support your friendly neighborhood brewpub if you are able.

Best of luck, everyone.

Be Our Guest Taps

Hey folks, hope all is well on your end of things. As we get closer to our 10 Year Anniversary Party, there will be less guest beers but I will make sure y’all get nothing but the best no matter what. With that in mind, please note that our Special Tap Saturday for March will be on the 28th featuring Real Ale’s Black Quad, their fantastic Belgian-style quadrupel that is part of their Bomber series.

We will be rotating different hard seltzers to see what you like best. Right now we have Austin-based Shotgun Seltzer’s Ranch Water w/ Agave & Lime. As far as current guest beers, we have some delightful brews such as Firestone Walker’s Luponic Distortion #15 IPA, Ranger Creek’s Imperial Brown bourbon barrel-aged brown ale, 4th Tap Co-op’s Brut of All Evil: Wine IPA, Orf’s Oocheenama white ale and more; meanwhile, on deck, we have Save The World’s Cherry Bonus Pastor Belgian-style scotch ale/wee heavy, (512) Brewing’s Working Class Zero pale ale, Woodcreek’s Texas Star Bock Vienna lager and Hedgehog’s newest ale called Mango Tango, a farmhouse ale with mango & habanero, plus so much more. Hope to see you soon. Cheers!

So What is Blacklands Malt Anyway?

If you have visited Blackstar anytime recently you will have seen numerous beers on the menu proudly stating that they are brewed using local Blacklands Malt from Leander, Tx. Ok, it sounds good to be drinking something local but what makes Blacklands so special? I went on a mission to find out…
The first thing I found was that prior to 2012, no barley, wheat, or rye was grown and malted in Texas for use in beer and spirits…..ever! This it seemed crazy to me, it’s not like we are short of space! Now some farmers grow it for animal feed, but all the craft brewers were importing from hundreds or even thousands of miles away! It also seemed crazy to Brandon Ade who back in 2012 commissioned public research with Texas A&M into cultivating barley for the Texas climate. Named after the “Blackland Prairies” a grassland stretching from Dallas to San Antonio, Brandon and the team finally realized their dream of 100% Texas grown barley malt in 2016!
Their mission is to promote sustainable food production and bring agricultural back to a local level, reconnecting consumers with their natural ties and local agriculture. BlackStar has had a long relationship with Blacklands for many years but we can’t take credit for a Texas business that has been groing from strength to strength, from Balcones to Jester King, ABW to Oskar Blues, Blacklands is become the malt of choice for many Texas industries. The word has got out too, their “Brown Field 10 Texas Munich” Malt won the 2020 gold medal from the craft masters guild.

Now if you are still reading, I assume that you are really into your beer, and want a little more detail. What makes a good malt? Like brewing the process of converting barley to malt is simple enough. You take some barley, you germinate it to get the enzymes just starting out and then you dry it in a kiln halt the process at the optimum time for brewing. But like brewing, while the process may be established, perfecting it can take a lifetime of finesse. For example. That gold medal winner we mentioned earlier had to be perfected for over 6 months using a proprietary steaming method in their kiln to produce a high-dried, melanoidin-rich, Munich-style malt from their Texas grown, high-nitrogen two-rowed barley, to give a rich malt, and light toast character, well suited for rich, aromatic full-bodied beers. And if you said that whole sentence in one breath you deserve a gold medal yourself! If you are looking to taste some Blacklands malt, stop by Black-Star Coop for a house beer, and see how that local Leander sunshine, community focus and small scale attentive agriculture makes the difference.
Got further questions? Feel free to ask the bar staff for more info on our beers or reach quiz me about what I learned at our next members extravaganza… March 5th!
Many thanks

Run for the Board!

Take your love of Black Star Co-op to the next level by running for the Board! Every fall Black Star Co-op Member-Owners vote for at least three Board of Director positions. Directors review and craft policies and principles, represent the interests of all Member-Owners, and collaborate with the Workersʼ Assembly. To run for the Board, you must:


 Be a fully invested Member-Owner;
 Attend at least one Black Star Board Meeting within the last year;
 Attend a Candidate Orientation Session at Black Star; and,
 Submit your Declaration of Candidacy form.

Interested? Now’s the time to attend a Board Meeting—the next one will be March 29 th at 9:30am at Wheastville Coop on Guadalupe. Contact the Leadership Development Committee so we know you’re planning on coming: leadershipdevelopment@blackstar.coop

Shine On June Crazy Kombucha

Howdy y’all, Ish, your Black Star beer buyer here. Hope you have been enjoying both our house & guest beers. If you missed the Special Tap Saturday featuring Jester King’s Rare Corals (Batch 2), there is still some left, so hurry on over to grab the last dew pours. This coming Saturday, 1 February, we will hosting our local JuneShine rep. Besides JuneShine’s Blood Orange Mint Hard Kombucha on draft and in cans, there will also be some free glassware and great company — but if you can’t wait to try some, come on over as we just added it on the tap wall.

After that, our next Special Tap Saturday will be on 22 February featuring a rare gem from Cascade Brewing — the 2015 version of Figaro, their Chardonnay barrel-aged sour golden ale with dried white figs, lemon peel, and orange peel.
Of course, our tap wall presents the craft beer enthusiast a range of choices that currently includes: Roughhouse Brewing’s Little Reward (Festbier w/ Pretzels), Rahr & Sons’ Midnight Cab (Cabernet Barrel-Aged Dark Saison) and Middleton’s Third Coast IPA. On deck, we have some gems like new Houston cidery City Orchard’s Cherry Red, Vista Brewing’s Lady Bird Texas Wit with Native Herbs, San Gabriel River Brewery’s Wee Heavy, Buffalo Bayou’s Figaro FigaroFigaro Figaroooo Belgian Quadrupel with Figs, and many other Texas brews.
Hope to see you sometime soon this leap year. Cheers!

2020 Mindset

Did you know that the Black Star Board of Directors has two, all-day retreats a year (in addition to monthly board meetings)? The board retreats are a vehicle for taking time to solve problems, lay the foundation for future work, and to generally spend blocks of time to flush out ideas and next steps. The board retreats are a critical component of the board’s work, and this January retreat was no different.
We started the day with hot coffee and breakfast tacos, and quickly moved into a fun and engaging teaming exercise. Every year, as some board members rotate off the board and are then replaced with new team members, it’s important to establish commonality and a sense of connection, as we collectively prepare to embark on the shared experience that is better known as “THE Black Star Co-Op.” The teaming exercise was simple, fun, and got everyone moving and talking. The first part involved identifying and drawing four pictures that represent ourselves. With only a few minutes to draw our pictures, you had to be spontaneous and quick. Suffice it to say, there were also a lot of shared jokes about NOT being the next Picasso. From there, each team member had only three minutes to share his or her pictures with the group, and explain why the picture was drawn, what it represents, and why it’s important. To conclude the exercise, we had to, as a group, decide on six different categories of pictures, group them together, and label them. This exercise was a fantastic way to find
commonality, connection, and to better understand our group. Picasso or not, this exercise was a great success.
From there we moved into a series of training sessions. First there was an introduction to the board tool framework, building the pyramid of work structure that starts with the bylaws, and ends with the foundational tools used. Then we moved into policy governance training: what it is, why it’s important, how it’s used, etc. Using the Decision Tree for Acting on Internal Monitoring Reports, we stepped through an example of policy monitoring from a recent board meeting. We also had working conversations surrounding situational reviews: if this, then that. These conversations
help establish our expectations for the year, as well as set the tone for how specific situations will be addressed.
After a quick walk to lunch, we spent the lunch hour collaborating on various blog content ideas. Everyone (literally) came to the table, completed homework in hands, and we brainstormed ideas surrounding engaging content to communicate with our loved ones, YOU, the member/owners. The ideas ranged from historical context, to member spotlights, to supply chain, to beer. These ideas will ultimately translate into monthly articles from your board.
The afternoon session centered around board committee work. Heading into 2020, the board has three chartered committees: Membership Development, Leadership Development, and the Finance Review & Report committee. We broke into our various committee groups, edited and updated the committee charters, and then also updated each committee’s ROA document. The ROA document (Result, Objectives, and Activities) is a new tool that was introduced at he summer retreat last year. This tool will be used to shape each committee’s work for the year, as well as establish
metrics for performance. Performance will be tracked so that we can evaluate, objectively, our progress over the year. Each committee chair then had ten to fifteen minutes to present the committee charter to the group, followed by a detailed review of the ROA.
Whew. What a day! On the whole, it was a fantastic retreat. In addition to establishing cohesive team bonds, we all contributed to the 2020 board plan; we know what to do, when, and by whom. Ultimately, we welcome this year’s new board members into the fold:

  • James Farris, three-year term
  • Gabe Prado, three-year term
  • Ryan Vanstone, one-year appointed term

We have a lot of work in front of us because 2020 is shaping up to be a big and exciting year for the co-op; I’m happy to
be a small part of it.

Prost!
Dacia Schoofield
President

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