I choose this story to mark the 2016 International Women’s Day – 8 March 2016.
It’s a story of courage, determination and enthusiasm to achieve in a country where the economy yields large unemployment figures that point to a bleak personal and community future, young people leaving the country in search for jobs elsewhere… Well I think Ana and Maja from the beautiful Zadar in Croatia are just fantastic!
These two brewers in Croatia have created Croatia’s first women-run co-operative brewery, aiming to produce delicious, natural beer (“Blond”/reportedly comparable to American Pale Ale however its secret ingredient makes it so much tastier) while supporting their local community – in the coastal Zadar area! And what a hit it promises to be – it’s in this area that lots beer gets drunk in summer with great music festivals and famous dance parties that attract hundreds of thousands of young people from all over the world. So can’t go wrong – right? Well almost! They just need a little more money to help set up fully so they have decided to raise Start-up funding through the well tested and tried Crowdfunding online. After perfecting their recipe and recruiting new members, the next step was to make a deal with another local brewer to create the mutual brewery itself. They launched a crowdfunding appeal, story raising the target of US$8,000 in just seven days and have extended that target to US13,000, which is making solid headway to achievement. The money will be used to buy two 1000 litre fermenters, bottles, labels and cases.
They’ve now almost reached 80% mark of their extended fundraising goal so your help is appreciated I am sure if you are so kindly inclined and I trust many are.
Ana Teskera and Maja Sepetavec, from Zadar on the Dalmatian coast, run BRLOG: a craft beer brewery that started off in their garages and balconies, and is expanding rapidly.
Their online crowdfunding promotion says that they chose to start the business as a cooperative because “a cooperative is a way to transform the talents of two women with brewing skills into an inclusive, organic group of people who can construct, program, book-keep, write business plans, and create..
This is how we want to change the world. Individually we are little, working together in cohesion, we are a force of varied and crafty skills. If a group of people from Zadar can do it, the world can too.”
Zadar, like all Croatian coast, thrives through summer months but as the weather cools and tourists return to their home countries, Zadar needs its own enterprises to keep it vibrant and strong. And their cooperative will certainly contribute to that with new jobs and a tasty beer to boot. As well as producing the beer, Ana Teskera and Maja Sepetavec believe the BRLOG helps the town.
Ana and Maja consider that the cooperative will enrich the local community in the way they know best – through production. They are a beer brewery startup and a social enterprise. Indeed, community funding via crowdfunding is likely to give to that society a boost in courage and will to keep creating new jobs in other industries right there where they live, not just startup funds for one cooperative.
“We are two women who brew our own beer. Not only for the taste, but for the sheer pleasure of making it,” they say. “From our brewing hobby came an idea, and from that idea – Croatia’s first co-operative craft brewery.”
The pair say working co-operatively has allowed them to be greater than the sum of their parts, and build “an organic group of people who can construct […] book-keep, write business plans, and create”.
Beginning as a pair, there are now ten other members involved in the co-operative.
“Individually we are little, working together in cohesion, we are a force of varied and crafts skills. If a group of people from Zadar can do it, the world can too,” reports James Sullivan of Cooperative News.
The blond ale they produce is free from preservatives, unpasteurised, and made up of four different hops and three varieties of malt.
To help tempt more backers for the project, the two women also offer a service known as ‘kegerator’ – transforming old fridges into beer taps, providing a case of their beer and installing the newly kitted-out fridge in people’s houses.
The two women say that until recent times, the process of brewing beer has been considered divinely guided, and the domain of women. Only more recently, since brewing became commercialised, did it become male-dominated. They’re aiming to redress that balance.
“Craft beer is a product somebody personally stands behind, a product that can only be made when the makers show persistence, hard work, diligence, courage and friendship,” they say. “In a word: BRLOG!” Things that happen in a DEN (BRLOG in Croatian)!
And I say congratulations young ladies and happy International Women’s Day! Ina Vukic, Prof. (Zgb); B.A., M.A.Ps. (Syd)