High Five looks for funding to take next steps

GRAND RAPIDS — High Five Co-op Brewery is moving forward, with plans in the future to open a taproom. But it’s not easy, and the first co-op brewery in Michigan is asking for the public’s help.

The group has 13 days left on a Kickstarter campaign that launched in late August.

“The goal is $15,000,” said Josh Smith, General Director of the Board for High Five.

“We really want to get into a location,” he added, noting that the brewery plans on pouring beer, working with home brewers — both experienced and novice — and potentially offering food items for guests when it opens.

“We also want to go the extra mile in education,” said Smith.

In addition to continuing collaborations with local breweries — the next is in planning with EB Coffee & Pub — the brewery is also in the midst of planning monthly meetups to discuss progress and ideas, the first slated for Oct. 21 at 6 p.m. at the Mitten Brewing Co.

“We’re really focused on fundraising and growing our membership,” said Laura Barbrick, Board Secretary. “The sooner those things move forward, the better,” she said, alluding to opening a location “as soon as possible.”

As a co-op, the brewery approaches its organization a little differently than a traditional business, but will still have management staff and employees to run day-to-day operations.

“We want it to be self-governed as possible. We’re doing everything we can to power the employees. It’s a democratic business,” said Smith.

The end goal, though, is to have a brewery that’s neighborhood friendly and fits in an environment that is both welcoming and unique.

“We definitely want to be near a community, and be part of the community…that’s what we represent,” said Barbrick.

“We don’t envision a big shiny brewery to start,” added Smith. “The longer we’ve gotten into it, the more we’ve talked about it, we want to be a neighborhood brewery, comparable to Harmony [Brewing Company] or the Mitten — that same sort of size.”

For more information on upcoming events for High Five Co-op Brewery, visit beer.coop online.

Bryan Esler

Bryan Esler

A lover of dark and sour beers, Bryan is an original co-founder of MittenBrew. Based in Grand Rapids, Bryan is a corporate events and commercial photographer, having been featured by BeerAdvocate Magazine, Pure Michigan, CNBC, ArtPrize, Bliss for Mayor, Circle Theatre and more . Visit his website at bryanesler.com for more.

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