Four years in the making, Flying Bike Cooperative Brewery should finally be open this June, according to vice president and attorney-by-day Brian Cadwell. Since 2011, the co-op’s nine-person volunteer board has been building membership, brewing beers and making plans. The state's first cooperative brewery will open with just over one thousand members. Here's a look at the concept design for the interior.
Flying Bike (so-named because a co-op brewery first seemed to the founders as "crazy" and "audacious" a plan as an airborne bicycle) will start with six to eight beers on tap, including an IPA, pale ale, Cascadian dark ale, and stout brewed by members. In co-op competitions the last few years, members (which include both homebrewers and non-brewing beer lovers) have submitted brews and the entire group has selected a winner in each category of beer.
Until they had their own brick and mortar, Flying Bike liaised with other breweries to serve their ales—Counter Balance Brewing in Georgetown, Stoup Brewing in Ballard, Northwest Brewing Company in Pacific, WA, Three Skulls Ales next door in Greenwood and more—but soon they’ll pour from home. Inspired by Black Star Co-op Pub and Brewery in Austin, Texas, the first cooperative brewery in the country, Flying Bike defines its mission as developing a "craft beer community to learn about, create, and appreciate a diverse selection of quality beers."
How to get involved: prospective members fill out a short application and pay a lifetime fee of $150 to gain a vote in the co-op’s decisions. Eventually, once the brewery is profitable, members will also receive an REI-style patronage refund (proportional to a member’s spending) from Flying Bike.
"So many people have a fantasy of quitting their jobs and starting a brewery—and we can do that for them with this [co-op brewery]," Cadwell says.
Along with their brews, Flying Bike will offer snack food, soda, and possibly cider to start. The neighboring Munch Café has already developed a Flying Bike burger, with more possible collaborations on the way. With Cloudburst Brewing's expected fall opening, and Flying Bike speeding towards operation, 2015 might just be the year of the brewery in Seattle. —Sara Jones