Why we started Denmark’s first cooperative microbrewery
Slowburn is a worker cooperative, which means we are fully operated and owned by our employees. Currently, the co-op consists of Slowburn’s three founding members, but we are excited to welcome new worker-owners as our company grows.
In a worker cooperative, all employees have equal influence in their company via direct democracy, applying the principle of one person, one vote to the company’s decision-making process. This contrasts with most non-cooperatives, where a person's influence over decisions is determined by the percentage of the company they own. For most employees, this means they have no influence whatsoever. It also means that external, non-employee investors can significantly influence the direction of the company.
So what motivated us to create a cooperative microbrewery?
They prioritize values over profit
At Slowburn, we have three core values which drive our company:
- Brewing the highest-quality beer that we can
- Supporting and developing our local community
- Creating meaningful, long-term employment opportunities which truly benefit the company’s workers personally, professionally, and financially
Each of these values is more important to us than maximizing profits. At the same time, we are working hard to counter the misconception that cooperatives are merely hippie-crunchy social experiments. We can (and must) operate a healthy, profitable business in order to maintain our values.