questions about governance

What’s a co-op?

A co-op exists to serve its member-owners. It is a democratically-run business. Each member-owner owns an equal share in the business. One member, one vote. The entity cannot hold a profit, so the profits of the business are either distributed back into the business to grow it and to make capital improvements or distributed to the member-owners (based on patronage). These decisions will be made by the Board of Directors (elected by the membership).

Read more about co-ops.

What’s a patronage refund?

A patronage refund is the Member’s prorate share of the profits. If a Member accounts for 1% of the sales that Member would receive 1% of the profits. The co-op will track your patronage by swiping your member card when you visit. The more often you visit and the more you spend, the more you get back. Think of it as a return on your bar tab! Again, the board will decide when we are profitable enough to distribute among the member-owners. We started tracking patronage with our point-of-sale system on July 1, 2014.

Can the board make changes to the brewpub without having it voted on by members?

The Board will consult with membership about any changes to our bylaws. Most decisions are made by the Board, which is elected by the membership. It is not practical for 2600+ people to vote on every decision made. The Board members represent the membership and use their best judgment to establish policies, provide guidance and direction to the operations management, and make major decisions affecting the co-op. Every member-owner has the right to run for the Board of Directors during the election period (last quarter of each year). Every member-owner has the right and privilege to share their comments and concerns with any Board member so these things can be taken under advisement and consideration when the Board carries out their responsibilities. The Board cannot assure each member that their suggestions will be adopted but they will be considered. And special attention is given by the Board when common themes emerge from the membership.

Is the Board paid?

No. Each member of the Board of Directors volunteers his or her time to the co-op. Please be patient. We all work full-time jobs in addition to a significant number of hours per month on behalf of the co-op.

Does the Board earn any money or extra benefits?

The Board is completely volunteer. The Board receives a 25% discount on food and drink for the duration of their term. Additionally, current Board Members have the privilege of receiving their beer in a special mug the same as Founding Members and Investors.

Who are the founding members?

8 Founding Members served as our original Board of Directors. They created the organization.  See the founding member bios here:

> Founders

What does the brewpub plan to do if it earns profits?

Any profit must be reinvested into the business or distributed among the members.  For the first several years of operation, we will be paying off a number of debts associated with initial startup costs, improvements to the historic building, brewing equipment and kitchen equipment purchases, etc. After our debts are paid off, if we are earning profit, that profit will be shared with member-owners based on patronage. The more you spend at FSB, the more you benefit. In addition, the board could reduce prices at the point of sale in order to give back some of the profit.

How often does the brewpub release financial statements to the membership?

The Board also provides a financial overview every October at the Members’ Assembly. In addition, each member has the right to request reasonable financial information at any time. Upon request, the brewpub must provide all reasonable information within a reasonable time. Please make all requests by submitting an email to fifthstreetbrewpub@gmail.com

Is there a limit to how many members FSB can have?

There is no plan to limit/cap membership. One of the cooperative principles is “open and voluntary membership.” If we discover we’re growing too big for our space or our membership size affects our ability to function as a healthy organization and business, the Board will take that into consideration.

What are the cooperative principles?

Co-ops operate under the following widely-accepted principles: (Source: https://www.ncba.coop/7-cooperative-principles, the International Co-operative Alliance) Cooperatives around the world generally operate according to the same core principles and values, adopted by the International Co-operative Alliance in 1995. Cooperatives trace the roots of these principles to the first modern cooperative founded in Rochdale, England in 1844.

Voluntary and Open Membership

Cooperatives are voluntary organizations, open to all people able to use its services and willing to accept the responsibilities of membership, without gender, social, racial, political or religious discrimination.

Democratic Member Control

Cooperatives are democratic organizations controlled by their members—those who buy the goods or use the services of the cooperative—who actively participate in setting policies and making decisions.

Autonomy and Independence

Cooperatives are autonomous, self-help organizations controlled by their members. If the co-op enters into agreements with other organizations or raises capital from external sources, it is done so based on terms that ensure democratic control by the members and maintains the cooperative’s autonomy.

Education, Training and Information

Cooperatives provide education and training for members, elected representatives, managers and employees so they can contribute effectively to the development of their cooperative. Members also inform the general public about the nature and benefits of cooperatives.

Cooperation among Cooperatives

Cooperatives serve their members most effectively and strengthen the cooperative movement by working together through local, national, regional and international structures.

Concern for Community

While focusing on member needs, cooperatives work for the sustainable development of communities through policies and programs accepted by the members.

questions about donations/sponsorship

How do I make a donation request from FSB?

In order to make a request for a donation (at this time, we are only donating memberships valued at $125.00), the person making the request must be a member-owner, and send the following paperwork via email to donations@fifthstreetbrewpub.com.

> donation request email requirements

How do I request event sponsorship from FSB?

If you are interested in event sponsorship (e.g., golf tee, buying a table), please direct inquires to the Marketing Committee at fifthstreetbrewpub@gmail.com.

questions about membership or membership benefits

What’s in it for the members?

Please click on the following link for all the benefits of you receive for becoming a member of the Fifth Street Brewpub.

> Check out our benefits

Is the $125 membership fee annual or one-time?

$125 gets you a lifetime membership!

Will I get a membership card?

Yes. Please ask your server about your membership card the next time you visit. If we aren’t too busy, we might be able to make it right then and there. Otherwise, you may need to pick it up the next time you visit.


What’s the loyalty program?

See our loyalty program information at this link.

> Loyalty program

What’s the liability for members if they own the business?

It is limited liability. The most anyone could lose is their membership fee – nothing more. Member-owners of a co-op are protected from liability just as shareholders are in publicly traded companies.

Can I buy more than one share/membership?

No. Each member-owner owns an equal share of the business – and gets one vote. You may purchase gift memberships for friends or family.

Can a couple purchase a membership together?

No. Each membership must be tied to an individual name. Co-ops are democratic, and each member gets a vote. If one person in the couple purchases a membership their partner is welcome to come to FSB to enjoy the comradery, great food, and incredible beer, but they do not receive the benefits or membership-ownership (see above).

Can I buy a gift membership?

Fifth Street Brewpub memberships also make great gifts. Do you know anyone that would love to own a brewpub? They can live anywhere in the world and still become an owner.   Gift memberships can be purchased at the brewpub or the following link:

> Gift Membership

Do you have to be a member to come to the co-op once it is opened?

No. Anyone can enjoy the FSB. It is a full-service restaurant and brewery. We are owned by our members and open to the public.

Can I sell/transfer my membership?

No. Memberships cannot be sold or transferred.

Can my membership expire? What if I don’t use it? What if I don’t use my card? What if we always use my husband’s card, will mine expire?

While the membership in the brewpub will not expire, the brewpub reserves the right to remove unused data from the Point of Sales system if removing the data is necessary to add additional members. Removing the data from the system will prohibit you from accruing loyalty points and enjoying food/drink discounts. We hope to never have to remove data from our database. However, our Point of Sales system does have a limit to how many members we can add. If you find that your membership card no longer works, please mention something to management and we will work to reenter your data.

I’ve heard people refer to “Charter Members.”  Who are Charter Members?

Charter Members were those that joined very early on – during the first 5-6 weeks of our existence (the deadline was July 31, 2012). They received unique benefits for joining and supporting us very early. For example, their names will eventually be on the walls of FSB and they received membership cards that identify them as “Charter Member-Owners.”

How can members use the brew house?

The member brewing program is not yet up and running.  We hope to begin in 2015. We will release more details as we get closer to the launch of this program.

How do couple memberships work? If we can just use one membership for everything why should we buy two memberships?

There are no couple memberships. There are only individual memberships as we are a democratic entity. Again, it’s one member, one vote. Additionally, while everyone is welcome at FSB, only people who are member-owners are eligible to take advantage of member benefits and discounts.

questions about operations/staff

Do you have to be a member to come to the co-op once it is opened?

No. Anyone can enjoy the FSB.  It is a full-service restaurant and brewery. We are owned by our members and open to the public.

Who will brew the beer?

Commercial brewing is done by our Brewmaster, Darren Link See more about Darren at this link:

> Brew team

We will also have a program for home brewers where they can brew at our brewpub and enjoy their beer from our tap. More details forthcoming.

When did you open?

We opened in phases. We incorporated with the State of Ohio on June 22, 2012 (our birthday). We opened as a bar August 3, 2013 (Grand Opening). We started serving our own food in November 2013. We served our first beers brewed in-house on July 16, 2014.

Does the brewpub own the building?

The brewpub is leasing the building from The 1600 Group, LLC. This is the group of individuals who bought the building and fixed up the exterior in 2010. Most members of the LLC are also member-owners of the co-op. We all want the same thing:  a neighborhood-friendly, sustainable business for St. Anne’s Hill. The LLC has agreed to super cheap rent for the first few years of operation while the co-op grows. The brewpub holds the exclusive right to purchase the building from the 1600 Group, LLC at a favorable price. Per the lease agreement, the purchase price will go up after year 3, so the Board of Directors will plan to set money aside to purchase the building for $75,000 after year 3.

What if I don’t like beer?

What? That’s impossible!? No, seriously…you don’t have to like beer. We have fantastic company to enjoy and great food and a full service bar with wine and spirits, too!