Generally when you set out to start your own business, you find something you’re good at, and you build from there. For Jeremy Mathison of Broken Clock brewing cooperative, it wasn’t so cut and dry. An entrepreneur turned corporate worker, Jeremy noticed that his corporate job was not fulfilling enough. A common problem for many corporate workers, Jeremy wanted to get away from that. He and a friend were discussing how they needed a change and that they saw many people feeling undervalued and overworked. Wanting to create a business that worked for people, Jeremy knew that he wanted to start a co-op, he just had to figure out what they’d do.
After many more discussions and lots of research on forming a co-op, a light bulb turned on; all of their meetings were at breweries, why not start a co-op brewery. The idea was not totally new, there were about seven co-op breweries in the US and the concept was very popular in Europe. The difference for Jeremy was that their co-op would be totally member-driven; one share = one vote.
Upon doing more research throughout 2014 and speaking with other co-ops, they found a vibrant community, willing to share knowledge, tips, and stories of success and failure. These tips and gave them a roadmap, allowing them to incorporate in August 2015. The next hurdle would be funding.
After a chance meeting at a local happy hour, Jeremy found his head brewer, Will. They discussed the plans for the brewery and how they would go about raising funds. The idea they settled on was hosting parties. Will would brew some of his best recipes, and they would host apartment parties for about 30 people at a time, sharing their business plan and gauging interest in fundraising. Another great feature of the parties was the feedback on their beer and recipes.
After very rapid organic growth following their parties, Broken Clock was able to purchase their current space in September of 2016 from another brewery who had outgrown the space, equipment and all. They began equity crowdfunding through the MNVest platform to raise more capital for improvements, later purchasing the space next door to theirs in November of 2017 to build their own taproom.
With their taproom opening late 2018 Nov. 9th, Jeremy is still excited about their growth and their future. “It’s great to be able to focus on giving back to our members and the community instead of taking care of executives.” Broken Clock currently has nearly 600 members, a number that has doubled in the last year.
After the completion of their taproom, they plan to upgrade their now 10 barrel brewing system. After that? The plan is to start a farm and a farm-to table restaurant, and then a bed and breakfast. One thing is for sure; Jeremy and his team and Broken Clock never face a dull moment and always have another dream to chase.
Learn more about Broken Clock Brewing Cooperative and become a member here.