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Diversifying Oklahoma’s economic opportunities via brewing, tourism and taking chances.What started with “poor decisions and lots of circumstances,” COOP Ale Works has grown into a company with a $20 million expansion plan at the former 45th Infantry Armory. Despite feeling like an outsider in the brewing community from not being a brewer himself, Daniel Mercer, CEO of Coop Ale Works, sees positives in his business-focused skill set.“From day one, back in 2006 when Mark and J.D. and I met, one of my kind of tidbits and inputs was that we had the opportunity, in the research phase, to set a foundation for how we wanted to move forward and how diligent we wanted to be and how we wanted to run this thing,” Mercer said. “We were starting a brewery from scratch in a market that didn't ’t have a production brewery outside of brewpubs, which aren’t packaging breweries.”They worked through the summer of 2006, brewing together. They then spent the next two years putting together plans, which included going to dozens of breweries around the United States. They visited with engineers, brewers, and financial people to investigate their methods of success, their histories and then built a strategy to launch COOP in the summer of 2008. They raised the initial capital, found their building, and then spent about six months building out “this little 5,000 square foot metal shack” over at 51st and Western, next to the 51st Street Speakeasy bar. They started brewing beer commercially on January 9th in 2009 and selling on March 3rd, 2009.

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