East Anglian Brewers Co-operative

Beer enthusiasts appreciate the provenance of buying beer from the farm which has produced the barley used to brew it

East Anglian Brewers Co-operative has spent 12 years building up a reputation among discerning drinkers for its artisan ales.   Founded in 2002, the co-operative was helped by start-up funding from a range of bodies including the East of England Development Agency and government organisations such as DEFRA. It now offers real ale drinkers a wide choice […]


Topsham Ales

Topsham Ales began with 10 people, before launching a share offer which attracted over 60 members

1 August 2014 is International Beer Day. Co-operative pubs have been making a lot of headlines, but what about the pints themselves?  Community-owned brewery Topsham Ales has been in business for the past four years, with its beers sold in pubs in Exeter, Exmouth and around the south west.   Run entirely by volunteers, the […]


How strong can the COOP marque be?


Around the world hundreds of thousands of companies are showing their corporate responsibility slant through many varied marques, logos and stamps. From Fairtrade through to social enterprise – all of these ethical beacons have given organisations common ownership of an identity. But, these identities started with one thing in common – a small number of […]


Gatecrashing the Social Investment Tax Relief party

shutterstock tax

When the government first hinted, a year or more ago, that it was considering a specific form of tax relief for investors in social enterprises, co-operative development workers around the country sat up. After all, co-ops were leading the way over the use of equity finance for social purposes, and a tax relief tailored to […]


Capital Gains Tax? What a Relief!

Worker co-operatives, such as Suma Wholefoods, demonstrate the value of direct ownership

Despite increasing awareness of the long-term economic benefits of the employee-ownership business model, we have been devoid of any distinct tax incentives to promote employee ownership in the UK, until now. The most recent Finance Bill, which is expected to receive parliamentary assent this summer, will formally launch a range of tax incentives to stimulate […]


International News round-up 16 – 29 July

International news round up

Rwanda Rwandan co-operators marked International Co-operative Day on 6 July with a conference featuring the country’s president Paul Kagame. The event, held in the capital, Kigali, was part of a series of discussion forums that started in 2012, in which Mr Kagame aims to engage with representatives from different sectors. More than 2,500 co-operators were in attendance […]


What a co-operative needs to do to be a co-op

A members’ dividend is an essential feature of a co-op, says Jo Bird

Critics of the Co-operative Group’s governance reform have outlined the problems with proposals, but what changes must the organisation make to stay true to its roots? Co-operative business adviser Jo Bird lists some of the essential features: To seek and gain consent from the International Co-operative Alliance to use the name co-operative or co-op. A clear […]


How to generate and nurture a strong co-operative culture

Nurturing co-operatives

Talking about governance problems at the Co-operative Group, our friend and fellow co-operator Sion Whellens, of worker co-operative Calverts Design & Print, said “co-operative culture eats co-operative governance for breakfast!” This got us thinking – is there too much emphasis on governance and not enough on the co-operative culture that supports it? At Co-operantics, we […]


Co-operative business associations balance national support and local needs

Courtney Moran, executive director of the Cornerstone Credit Union Foundation, addresses the June 21 Co-op Talk organised by NCBA CLUSA. The event was held in the Community Room of the second store of the Wheatsville Food Co-op, which opened in September of 2013. (Photo: John Torres)

A wide variety of co-operative support organisations are starting to come together with help from national co-op body NCBA CLUSA. The Washington D.C. based organisation is big on national and international development work for the sector, but it is now focusing its attention on helping grassroots bodies – or local ‘co-operative business associations’. NCBA provides […]