Cooperation Among Cooperatives Drinking Beer

A couple of years ago when I was working for a credit union in Santa Fe I noticed a trend in our Net Promoter Surveys. The first question (also known as the ultimate question) is "On a scale of 0 to 10, how likely is it that you would recommend your credit union to a friend, family member or colleague?" And the powerful follow-up question was simply "What is the primary reason for the rating you just gave?" 

This was shortly after the Bank Transfer Day, so that may have had something to do with the responses. Over one-third of the members responded with, "You are NOT a bank," or "Because you're owned by the members," or the most shocking, "You're a financial cooperative." Wow. Many people working in credit unions today don't think it matters that we are a co-operative. That it's not enough of a differentiator to even mention. 

Just for fun we Googled "Co-ops in Northern New Mexico" and found there was a pre-school cooperative that has been around since the 1950's, a grocery cooperative, the very beginning of a brewery co-op and three credit unions, all in the tiny historic town of Los Alamos, New Mexico. Kids, groceries, beer and banking. Why not? So we called each co-op and asked to meet for coffee and see how we might be able to work together. In just one meeting all unanimously agreed to create a movement called Keep It Co-Op! and to work together to promote each other's events and support one another in every way possible. 

Fast forward three years and I'm so proud to still be a part of the Keep It Co-Op! group in L.A. and super proud of the brewery co-op. They began selling memberships with the goal of opening a taproom. There aren't a lot of family friendly options on the hill, so they wanted to create a gathering place for them. They'll feature "Geeks Who Drink" trivia on Wednesday nights. Because let's face it, it's the home of Los Alamos National Laboratories. These are geeks that need to drink. But my favorite part of this story is the name. Only the locals know what the significance of Bathtub Row is. 

So lift a glass to cooperatives, for tomorrow is the grand opening of Bathtub Row Brewery and the Keep It Co-Op! group will happily be there to support them!