Co-Owner and CEO, Upstreet Craft Brewing
Business and community don’t have to exist at opposite ends of the spectrum, says Mitch Cobb, co-owner and CEO of Upstreet Brewing Company. He and business partner, Mike Hogan, started the brewery five years ago based on a love of home brewing beer (Mike) and a strong entrepreneurial bent (Mitch), plus a commitment to running a community minded business.
It’s the reason they became a Certified B Corporation, ensuring they focused on hiring a diverse workforce, providing a livable wage with good benefits and flexible schedules, using suppliers that are within a 300km radius, measuring their environmental impact by reducing water and energy usage, and giving back to their community in other ways, too.
There’s the Do-Gooder beer they sell, where 10% of sales helps fund an artist residency, their annual bike rave that benefits an outdoor festival in the fall, and their block party, where they invite everyone in the community to come listen to music, eat, drink, get to know one another and have fun.
It’s inspired some employees to start their own businesses with a community approach, making Upstreet a true catalyst for change. “Operating your business with the community in mind, creating well-paying jobs and using local suppliers, is only going to strengthen your business,” says Mitch. “The rise of social enterprise means business and community can co-exist and it’s the way forward for building stronger, more vibrant communities.”