Craft beer is big business internationally. Co-operative craft breweries give workers and customers an opportunity to own, contribute and govern these businesses. In 2013, a group of Melbourne-based craft beer lovers came together in their spare time to imagine, design and execute a new way of blending a fast moving consumer goods beverage business with a community-driven and run social enterprise. 888 Co-operative Brewing Limited and The 888 Antipodean Order of Froth Blowers Co-operative Limited were conceived.
The co-operative ecosystem approach blended the working, business and life experiences of the co-founders to create a more sensitive, stable and humane approach to collective business ownership. It is a response to social isolation, unstable and meaningless employment, and our need as humans to feel social connection. 888 reignites the spirit of Melbourne’s 8-hour movement who sought to bring dignity, respect and fairness to the lives of working people.
The 888 co-operative ecosystem is run as a TSD virtual incubator. We are a critical co-operative partner in the emergence and incubation of this ecosystem. We led the co-design, cultural design, deeper futures and commons-based thinking of this ecosystem and provided the discipline and rigour to support the team to execute it’s business plan whilst the co-founders pursued their day jobs.
The ecosystem revives the Ancient Order of Froth Blowers (an early 20th century social enterprise) in an ecosystem with modular and replicable worker-owned co-operative beverage businesses. The 888 Antipodean Order of Froth Blowers Co-operative Limited provides a safe space for people from different walks of life to come together over a beverage of their choice, make connections and work together to bring laughter, joy and friendship to their communities. It is a social network. 888 Co-operative Brewing Limited seeks to introduce direct worker ownership to the high value FMCG beverage market.
The ecosystem is an evolving concept with emerging co-operative and commons-oriented businesses. It seeks to create novel patterns of human co-production that honour our individual uniqueness and the magic that emerges from diversity and co-operation. We are currently halfway through a co-operative co-working space experiment. This is the future of work.
The 888 Ecosystem lays the distributed, networked foundations in the present for the futures that will honour and fully engage our humanity. It draws inspiration from the workers’ rights movements, the commons movement, peer-to-peer production and emerging distributed technologies that are revolutionising our world.