Worker Spotlight: Amy

What do you do at Black Star Co-op? 

 I’m on the pub team, slinging drinks and happy memories.

Where are you from? 


What’s you favorite beer currently on tap?

Old Sour Dewberry (the Old Sour Portberry cask is great too)!

What’s your favorite late night drunk snack?

Spicy chicken wings from Rockin’ Rice. 

What’s the last book you read? 

 Octavia Butler’s Wild Seed series. 

What’s your favorite cooperative principal? 

Democratic organization is a beautiful thing, especially in the service industry!

If time were no issue, which completely impractical skill would you work to perfect? 

Whistling — I want to whistle like Jodi someday.

Preferred music station at work? 

Sam Cooke *swoon*

What Is the Title of Your Future Memoir?

Big Things Come in Small Packages: Exploring the Beauty in Little Things/Good Eats, Good Beer, and Human Liberation. 

2014 Fall Members’ Assembly Meeting Wrap-Up

On Sunday, October 26th, we held our Fall Members’ Assembly Meeting, which concluded the voting period for the new Board of Directors and the four non-profit organizations to support in the upcoming year. We had 5 great candidates running for 4 available seats on the Board of Directors, and a slate of 20 local non-profits.

Here are your newly-elected Directors:

  • Joe Silva
  • Charles Hueter
  • Michael Handy
  • Cole Noppenberg

We look forward to working with the following organizations in 2015:

Congratulations, everyone!

The Board would like to thank everyone for running, and it would especially like to express its deep gratitude to the out-going directors: Erin O’Bryant and Johnny Livesay. These Directors have greatly contributed to the Co-op during their service on the Board, and their contributions will have long-term positive effects on Black Star for years to come.

During our meeting we heard from the Annual Report Review Committee, were updated by the Workers’ Assembly on the Co-op’s operations, and discussed our expansion plans. The membership approved three changes to the bylaws. Lastly, member-owners participated in a vision discussion about how our Ends might grow in conjunction with our expansion to a second location. Check out the wrap-up on the vision discussion here. If you have any questions about the meeting, please contact us at

A Season of Comfort: Black Star Co-op’s Fall Menu

One of the best things about having a kitchen dedicated to the production of local seasonal cuisine, is a menu that is constantly rejuvenated with new items throughout the year. If you hadn’t noticed, we launched a new menu last week. The most significant change is the markedly expanded entrée options. Hearty favorites like our homemade Spätzle and Bowl of Red are back on to warm the soul (chicken soup has had it’s day in the sun, let it rest in peace). We’re showcasing our local organic meat providers with three classic dinner dishes: Pot Roast made with 44 Farms underblade, a Legend Meats sourced Pork Chop, and Roast Chicken from Holmes Farms

If you look elsewhere on the menu you’ll notice we’ve made other appetizing additions. Fried Gulf Oysters are set to become major players in the coming months, and the Czar Salad is our take on the always classic caesar salad. Even some of our perennial favorites have undergone renovation. For example: the grilled cheese sandwich is now prepared on fluffy, buttery pullman loaf slices. 

Come explore our new menu and let us know how you like it. 


The House That Beer Built: In the “Home” Stretch

Our Directors and member-owners met up on Monday September 22nd for a Member-Owner Extravaganza–a chance to sample some fine house brews, tasty snacks and to encourage further donations for the Black Star Co-Op Board of Directors-endorsed fundraising project “The House That Beer Built.”  Attendance was great, and Director Steve bought pints for those who donated $20 or more on the spot.

During the week of September 21-28, the pub and WA donated $1.00 to the project for every pint of High Esteem served, raising $519 more.  Director Scott Kelley held a fund raising beer tasting and gathered $585 more, bringing our total raised to $4,586, a fine showing versus our goal of $5,000.  

There is STILL TIME to volunteer, and to donate.  If you are interested in donating, visit the BSC Team Page at and click “Donate Now” on the right. Build volunteers can click on this link for Saturday shifts on November 2, 9, 11, and 18.

The dedication of the House That Beer Built for the Huerta family (plus 6 other families!) will take place on Saturday, November 22nd from 4-6 pm on Barteny Cove.

For more information, contact Board Member Steve Basile at

Austin Habitat For Humanity is an IRS certified 501(c)(3) organization and contributions are tax-deductible and are eligible for matching by your company. 

Austin Beer Week Calendar

Austin Beer Week, that beautiful time of year when we Austin celebrates its burgeoning craft beer scene, is nearly upon us and Black Star Co-op’s calendar is stacked.  For convenience’s sake, we’ve collected all the events we’re hosting during ABW in this here blog post: 

October 26: Black Star Co-op at Austin Homebrew Supply (offsite)
Join Black Star Co-op Brewers Chris Hamje & Andy Martinec for a meet-and-greet at Austin Homebrew. They’ll be dispensing free beer and free information at 2pm.

October 27: Independence Beer Food Pairing
We’ll be celebrating Independence Brewing Co.’s birthday with special food pairings for a couple of their milestone beers – their 9th Anniversary Black IPA and their 10th Anniversary Dry-Hopped Barleywine, as well as their solid core offerings of Power and Light Pale Ale and Convict Hill Oatmeal Stout.

October 28: Circle’s Cocktail Shindig & Old Sour Dewberry Release
Join us for a fresh take on Circle’s beers as we transform them into mojitos and punches, cheladas and fizzes.  We’re also releasing favorite house beer: Old Sour Dewberry.  OSD is tart, malty, fruity,  and sour-mashed with premium English malts & black traeacle. (The beer gets its name from member-owners Dan & Joelle Dewberry, who designed it for the benefit of all)

October 29: High Esteem Pint Night
We’ll be highlighting one of our hallmark beers to celebrate Austin Beer Week–High Esteem.  Free pilsner glasses will be awarded with a purchase of “the most confident beer on the planet.

October 30: Jester King Mystery (???) Release
Jester King is gifting us a jack-in-the-box of sorts, a mystery beer the will be unveiled to us and you in tandem on Oct. 30th. So please, come and see which of Jester King’s assorted cast of cartoonish faces make a surprise appearance. 

October 31: House Pumpkin Casks
We’ll be tapping Recalcitrant Dockhand pumpkin casks (pumpcasks) on All Hallows’ Eve. The process: hollow out pumpkins, put beer in pumpkins, serve beer from pumpkins. The result: a devil-be-damned delicious beer. 




September 2014 Board of Directors Meeting Minutes

Call to order at 11:03. 


Johnny Livesay (D)

John Vinson (D)

Charles Hueter (D)

Erin O’Bryant (D)

Kenley Maddux (D)

Joe Silva (D)

Nicole Renaux (BSL)

Chris Byram (Alternate BSL)

Christa Kimmel Zufelt

Chris Worker

Cole Hammel


Scott Kelley enters at 11:06


Consent Agenda

Kenley moves to adopt

Johnny seconds

Motion carries 7-0-0.


Board Outreach Committee

Report by Charles: Extravaganza went well. Lots of interest in House that Beer Built. Good attendance. 


Finance Committee

Did not meet. Has addressed Board budget. Will review proposed co-op budget. 


Membership Linkage Committee

There are five candidates for four seats. Election is live. Committee needs to meet regarding tallying process and rules. 


A.4 Report. Although one survey suggested marginal compliance, there were no comments. 

Kenley moves to adopt report. 

Scott seconds. 

Motion carries 7-0-0. 


Discussion of Worker Remuneration policies. 

Systems Audit Committee has proposed new language fro D.3. 

Annelies enters at 11:25. 

Discussion of flexibility to retain advanced workers, grow workforce. 

Discussion of “cause or allow” language. Kenley would like to keep it. 

With changes, Board will retain ability to monitor and govern total worker remuneration. This is inherent in Board role, and included in B and C policies. 

Erin moves to adopt proposed revision, with “Cause or Allow” language retained. 

Kenley seconds. 

Motion carries 8-0-0. 


Internal session.

Kenley moves to enter internal session to discuss D.7 report, Board budget, and operations update, with guests invited to stay. 

Johnny seconds. 

Motion carries 8-0-0. 

Board leaves internal session at 12:35 p.m.


D.7 Report. 

Annelies moves to adopt. 

John seconds. 

Motion carries 8-0-0. 


Planning for next meeting:

Kenley to monitor B.8. 

Annelies to monitor C.4. 




10/19 – Board meeting. 

10/26 – MA meeting.

11/16 – Board meeting.

12/15 – Extravaganza. 


Scott moves to adjourn. 

Kenley seconds. 

Motion carries 8-0-0.  

Black Star Co-op: Embodying the 7 Cooperative Principles

If you didn’t already know, October is Coop Month! In honor of the occasion I’ve compiled a list of the 7 cooperative principles adopted by the International Cooperative Alliance and how Black Star practices each one.

1. Voluntary and Open Membership

Coop membership is open to anyone of legal drinking age with a valid physical and electronic mailing address. Members can revoke their membership at anytime and have their equity investment returned to them.

2. Democratic Member Control

Black Star is a democratically controlled business, where members elect the Board of Directors and vote on changes to our Bylaws and Ends Policies. In fact, there’s an election happening right now!

3. Member Economic Participation

All members are expected to contribute the same equity investment. The member elected and controlled Board of Directors distributes the Co-op’s profit back into the business for expansion and growth, or declares a patronage dividend back to the owners based on how much money they spend at the Co-op throughout the year. Members with an additional investment in Black Star do not receive additional voting rights or privileges.

4. Autonomy and Independence

Our business is only controlled by the members. There are no outside interests guiding our business or organizational decisions.

5. Education, Training, and Information

The Co-op strives to educate the members and public through various means. The Workers Assembly and Board of Directors publish monthly articles about topics related to our mission and vision. Black Star members are leaders in the cooperative community and actively participate in the governance and training of other cooperatives and allies.

6. Cooperation Among Cooperatives

Black Star is a member of several cooperative associations and organizations, including: the National Cooperation Business Association, the Austin Cooperative Business Association, Sambla, and the US Federation of Worker Cooperatives. Workers and members serve on board of other cooperative businesses, non-profits, and associations. Black Star actively works to promote and support other cooperative businesses whenever possible.

7. Concern for Community

Our work for the sustainable development of our communities is approved by the members through our Ends Policies. We are proud to offer as many locally sourced, quality goods as possible. We work with local businesses to keep our money in the Central Texas economy, and we’re proud to be one of the first LEED gold certified brewpubs in the country.

Worker Spotlight: Macy

What do you do at Black Star Co-op? 

I work on the pub team, and laugh without smiling. 

Where are you from? 

Austin born and raised! We’re rare these days. My friends call me the last unicorn. 

What’s you favorite beer currently on tap?

Sculpin IPA, it’s so damn good!

What’s your favorite late night drunk snack?

Pizza 4EVER.

What’s the last book you read? 

The Shining by Stephen King. 

What’s your favorite cooperative principal? 

Cooperation. Seeing so many people work collectively is really awesome. 

If time were no issue, which completely impractical skill would you work to perfect? 

Hair Braiding. It’d be cool to be able to do complicated intricate braids on myself. 

How many forks are there in a formal place setting (please don’t use Google)? 

3? I know there’s at least a salad, entre, and dessert fork… Right? 

First and last song on your perfect party playlist? 

First: Elton John – The Bitch is Back
Last: Elton John – Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Me

What Is the Title of Your Future Memoir?

I <3 Cats, and it’d just be a chronology of all the cats i’ve had throughout my life. 



State of the Co-op Union

Hi everyone! 

Fall is here, which means it’s time for our fall Members’ Assembly meeting! I wanted to review a few of the things we’ll be doing at our fall meeting. 

Board Elections: We’ll be hearing from the folks who are running for the Board. Voting for your Board of Directors is a very important way you can participate in the management and governance of your business. The Directors represent your best interests, so make your voice heard! It’s always an exciting time when we seat new Directors because new ideas and perspectives refresh and invigorate our vision of the future and our understanding of how we fit into the local economy and the global co-op community. If you haven’t yet reviewed the candidates, please do so here

Bylaws Updates: Occasionally, we need to vote on things together that involve changes to some of our policies or bylaws. This fall, we are proposing three changes to the bylaws: 

1) Reduce the mandatory number of Members’ Assembly meetings from three to two. When we wrote our bylaws back in 2006, we were meeting three times a year: once in the spring, once in the fall, and once for a big party somewhere along the way. Now that we’re open for business, we have member-owner events throughout the year as well as our spring and fall MA meetings. Changing this language will not impact our meeting frequency; we’re aligning our bylaws with current practice. 

2) Remove language about the number of meetings the Board of Directors holds per year. The bylaws require the Board to meet 12 times a year. However, sometimes due to a variety of reasons it’s difficult or perhaps unnecessary to meet that many times. We want to remove the mandate of 12 meetings per year so each Board can have the flexibility to decide a schedule that works out best for them and for the health of our business. 

3) Change the name of our standing committee. Our standing committee is responsible for recruiting new Directors and ensuring that we have a healthy pool of leaders in our membership. The committee is currently called the Member Linkage Committee, but we feel this title does not accurately describe the charter of the committee or its responsibilities. We propose to change the title of the committee to the Leadership Development Committee. Nothing about the committee’s charter otherwise will be changed. 

Vision Discussion: This fall, we’ll also be engaging in a group interactive discussion about the vision of our expansion and how we can contribute to that development as member-owners. We’re still working out the details of that discussion, and the more people who get involved the more fun and dynamic it will be. Come with your ideas and enthusiasm!

The Members’ Assembly meetings are fun, informal ways to learn about your co-op, get involved, and get reacquainted with old and new member-owner buddies. They are also your opportunities to participate in the democratic operations of your business. I hope to see many of you on October 26th

Erin O’Bryant is the President of the Black Star Co-op Board of Directors. She’s not a’scared of nothin’ never. *raises her fists with pugilistic bravado 

August 2014 Board of Directors Meeting Minutes

Board of Directors meeting August 17, 2014

Meeting called to order at 11:03 a.m.


In attendance:

-Directors Erin O’Bryant, Kenley Maddux,

John Vinson, Scott Kelley, Annelies Lottmann, Steve Basile, Joe Silva,

and Charles Heuter

-Assistant Board-Staff Liaison Chris Biram

-Facilitator Christa Zufelt

-Consultant Mark Goehring

-Co-op Member-Owners Greg Conti(?) and Cheryl Govay(?)


Consent Agenda:

Kenley moves to adopt. Second By Steve. Motion carries 8-0-0.


Board Outreach Update:

Extravaganzas calendared. House That Beer Built is proceeding.


Membership Linkage Update:

Timeline for elections established. All directors please recruit candidates.


Bylaws changes for expansion: put on hold pending recommendations from Mark.


Bylaws Changes for Fall Member-Owner Assembly:

1. Change name of “Membership Linkage Committee” to something else.

2. Give the Board flexibility in determining how often to meet.


Internal Session:

Kenley moves to enter internal session to discuss D.4 monitoring and

operations, and to permit guests present to remain throughout the

session. Erin seconds. Motion carries 8-0-0. Internal Session from

11:18 to 11:30.


D.4 Monitoring Report:

Kenley moves to adopt report. Scott seconds. Motion carries 8-0-0.


KSM moves to adjourn. Charles seconds. Motion carries 8-0-0.