In December 2014, we offered our first members the chance to start a brewery that we could all be proud of — a brewery worthy of Belfast. In eight days, we raised £100k and welcomed 447 member-owners to our cooperative.
We closed membership immediately, and got to work. Loads of people missed out on our initial membership offer, but we had what we needed to get off to an amazing start.
In January 2015, we took the keys to our brewery in Portview Trade Centre. In May, we brewed our first beers.
They sold out immediately.
Since then, we've released three core beers, and a mildly ridiculous amount of specials, including quite a few members-only specials. Reviews have been amazing. In fact, we’ve been voted the best beer, best brewer and best new brewery in NI by Ratebeer.
In our first year.
In December 2015, we opened membership again, and raised over £160,000 to help us scale.
We’re now over 1000 strong.
Having the support and weight of over 1000 members is phenomenal. It’s by far the best decision we’ve made, and our success is in no small part down to our members’ input and effort.
All members have full voting rights, but with Boundary’s success, members may receive, from time to time, an additional dividend. Read our FAQ for more details.
We had an opportunity to establish Belfast as the source of some of the world's best beers. With a brewery that we all own.
So how do you feel about owning a brewery that’s owned and run by its members, brewing the best beers in N. Ireland?
Frequently Asked Questions
Why should I invest in Boundary Community Shares?
If you want a democratic and equitable voice in the best brewery in N.Ireland, then come and join us.
Is Boundary Brewing a legal entity?
Yes. We registered as an Industrial and Providential Society in early 2014. You can see our registration here. Our IP Number is IP000409 and our company name is Boundary Brewing Cooperative Limited.
What bang do I get for my buck?
You get to be a part of this adventure from the early stages. 3 years after your investment, if we reach profitability, and the members agree, we will begin to pay out interest on your investment, followed by a separate dividend when it is appropriate to do so. We are also in the process of applying for SEIS which will allow most of our UK tax-paying investors to claim 50% of their investment off their tax liability for the year.
But mostly, you get to own Belfast’s first cooperative brewery and help it to grow.
Oh, and we do members-only specials and private parties sometimes. They’re fun.
How much can I pay?
Membership costs £100. You can not invest more at this time. We have opened two Community Share offers before, allowing current members and the public to invest more. We don’t intend to open another one. But never say never. And never start a sentence with ‘but’. Or ‘and’. You will qualify for Ordinary membership classes. If you volunteer over 40 hours per year at the brewery, you will become eligible for Supporter membership class (see below). Come and join us!
Will the value of my membership fee ever increase?
No. As you consider investing with us in this venture we advise that you do not invest what you are not prepared to lose. We also recommend that you discuss this opportunity with your Independent Financial Advisor.
Will I receive a financial return on my investment?
As set out in our constitution, profit sharing will be voted on by all members at the AGM.
All Members also qualify for profit dividends subject to surpluses generated and these would be payable equally or in accordance with some other equitable formula which recognises the relative contribution made by each Member to the business of the co-operative. If you are up for this type of medium term investment in Belfast’s first Co-operative Brewery - Come and join us!
What do you do with my money?
Every penny will be invested in our people and in improving our beer!
Can I get my money back (anytime I want)?
Yes (and No)! After year 3, if Boundary can afford it, you may withdraw your £100. You must give the Board 3 months notice of withdrawal. However the Board can deny you request based on business needs. After year 3, we are committed to setting aside 10% of the total initial investment aside year on year for this eventuality. If you withdraw your membership fee, you will no longer be a member of Boundary.
This all sounds great, but I’d want to meet and / or speak to someone before committing myself financially, how can I arrange this?
No problem. We'd advise you to read the constitution and bylaws first. Then, if you still have questions, please email [email protected]
What is the difference between an Ordinary member and a Supporter member?
An ordinary member is anyone who has invested £100 - £249 during the Community Share Offers (which are now closed), or anyone who now pays the £100 membership fee. A supporter member is anyone who has invested £250+ during the Community Share Offers (which are now closed), or volunteered 40hrs+ per year. The only real difference between an Ordinary and Supporter member is that there are more Supporter members on the board of directors, meaning that Supporter members have more of a chance to become board members, should they wish to put themselves forward. We feel that the board should include those most involved with the cooperative.
Will this dilute the investment of the original members?
On the one hand, in a cooperative, it doesn’t matter what percentage of the company you own, your financial investment is treated the same as others’. All members have the same voting rights and all members qualify for the same rate of return on their investment.
As a cooperative, we are constitutionally committed to allowing others to join in the work of the brewery. So, whereas interest payments will be paid at the same rate to all those who bought Community Shares, dividends are a bit different. Dividends will be apportioned out of any surpluses and distributed proportionately among members. Clearly, our plan is that the greater the combined capital investment in the brewery, the greater our growth and the greater the scale of our profits.
I’m a current member. Why might I want to invest more?
No. Current members could only invest more if we opened a third Community Share offer. We have no plans to do this. But never say never.
Is there a membership fee?
Yes. It is £100.
What do I actually get to decide on, or vote on, as a member?
At the AGM, every member gets an equal vote for the election of the Board, the application of profits, and the transaction of any other business included in the notice convening the meeting.
Can I buy membership for someone else?
Yes. But they will be the member of the cooperative, not you.
How long does your beard have to be to become a member?
That depends. Not as long as it had to be for last year’s membership. 2016 is all about the haircut, not the beard.
Do I have to be over 18 to become a member?
Yes. You cannot become a member of Boundary if you are not 18+. There is definitely no upper age limit.
How can I run for the board?
We will release details in the lead up to our next AGM (date tbc). Any member may run for the board.
Can I buy more than one vote in the cooperative?
No. One member equals one vote.
Can I become a member if I live outside the UK?
Yes. We accept payments with stripe. They can take payment internationally.
How can I be a part of the cooperative if I live in another country?
For the AGM, you will be able to vote beforehand if you cannot attend in person. You will also be able to attend the AGM digitally from a computer.
We brew a core range of 3.5% American Pale Ale, 7% IPA and 7% Export Stout. We will also produce specialty, seasonal and collaboration beers. To find out about some of these, see here.
Where do you brew?
A5, Portview Trade Centre, 310 Newtownards Road, BT4 1HE.
Can I have a job?
Maybe. Once we start to recruit additional staff, we will make members aware of all Open Appointments.
Are you licensed?
Not to sell alcohol. Not yet…! But we’re currently working with Stormont to change that. We do host popup taprooms in our Brewery from time to time. Keep an eye on our site and social media for announcements and dates.
Can I visit the brewery?
Yes. We welcome all visitors. For our brewery tours, please contact [email protected].
Can I taste the beers?
Yes. Come on down.
Will you name one after me?
Possibly! We have some fun beer series planned. Stay tuned!
Where are your beers sold?
Anywhere and everywhere. To see some of our stockists, see here.