Cooperate

Co-founder Steven Yarak spread the idea of this unique business model throughout the neighborhood, which led to a meeting of 16 people in a vacant lot in Austin, Texas on January 14, 2006. Together, they assessed what it would take to give the neighborhood the brewpub it deserved. Among that initial group was Jeff Young and Johnny Livesay, Black Star Co-op's eventual first Beer and Kitchen Team Leaders.

Once the plans were drawn up, the real work began. It started with laying a strong business foundation while growing and educating the membership. The business was incorporated in Texas as a co-operative association under the new Business Organizations Code.
Once the bylaws were drafted and approved, an interim Board of Directors was elected. After the first round of membership capital was collected, a large home brewing system was acquired. That April, Black Star’s first fundraising event at the Craft Brewers Conference was a booming success.

The first general meeting of the Co-op was held on November 11, 2006. This is when the Board recognized the missing piece to their foundation as a cooperative: the Workers’ Assembly. From there, two staff members were hired, including current Business Team Leader Dana Curtis, to assist in the administration and development of the Co-op and Beer social events. These would continue as a regular monthly event and would host 300 to 500 members.
Since opening, Black Star Co-op has received accolades from several organizations across the country for their outstanding craft beer, pub fare and services offered. The Co-op is certified LEED Gold by the U.S. Green Building Council, the first brew pub to achieve this honor. In 2013 Black Star Co-op was included in the ROCUnited Diners’ Guide to Ethical Eating for its commitment to fair labor practices, making the Black Star the only establishment in Texas to be included in the guide. The Co-op has also been recognized in the Austin Chronicle for “Best Pub Grub 2012,” “Best Tipping Policy 2011,” and as a “Reader’s Favorite 2012,” along with other honorable mentions in its annual polls. They were recognized at the Great American Beer Festival in 2013, receiving a bronze medal in the Herb & Spice category for Elba, and in 2015, receiving a gold medal in the Robust Porter category for Recalcitrant Dockhand.