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Kickstarted beer: The craft of crowdsourcing a brewery

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CATEGORIES: Beer   Feature  

This week's beery Kickstarter opportunities

You don’t need to be a venture capitalist to invest in a brewery; sites like Kickstarter let beer lovers fund breweries a few bucks at a time.

by Nathan Meunier

The craft beer industry is the latest to benefit from the recent crowdfunding boom: Websites like Kickstarter let anyone pledge financial support to help creative entrepreneurs bring their ideas to fruition. In exchange, backers get access to unique rewards for their patronage. Music, publishing, and film industry projects are popular draws on the platform, and now the craft brewing community is getting in on the action. Just ask Erik Myers: If it weren’t for several hundred strangers willing to collectively pour more than $40,000 into his vision, he might still be pushing papers at an IT desk job instead of running his own brewery. Myers’ small Durham, North Carolina-based operation is the first brewery funded through Kickstarter.

In order to get his dream rolling, this avid homebrewer needed some serious seed money. “It felt like a big gamble, and I was hoping for Kickstarter to work as a sort of proof-of-concept for me, so that if it was successfully funded I could sit back and say, ‘Hey, look! This could work! Let’s go for it!'”

The $44,259 he raised through Kickstarter fell short of supporting his original contract brewery concept, so with additional investment support from five close friends and some tweaks to adapt his battleplans to a more traditional brewery model, Myers launched Mystery Brewing Company in late 2011. “It’s fantastic to be open, and it’s even more fantastic that our beer is being received really well,” he adds.

Though Mystery Brewing Co. was the first brewery to be successfully Kickstarted, it certainly hasn’t been the last. Among this year’s many successful Kickstarter-funded brewery projects, Long Island’s Moustache Brewing Co. recently raised $31,413 and Boise’s organic-minded Cloud 9 Brewery raised $30,231. The platform is a becoming a popular hotspot for helping upstart breweries build momentum and get their name on the map.

Myers is grateful for the 243 backers who pitched in from the get-go. He keeps in touch with supporters regularly, giving progress updates and sending out backer rewards. “I really enjoy the ongoing task of eking out little gifts to them all the time,” he says. “In a way, it’s like having a long distance admirer that you get to keep a long-standing romantic relationship with.”

Eschewing a single flagship brew, Myers rotates seasonally inspired beer. Here are three to try.

Papa Bois: Lemongrass and citrus-infused foreign extra stout

The Dragon’s Mouth: A Belgian pale ale ramped up with a hint of Tobago pepper

Annabel: Floral and fruity black saison



Brewery Travels: My Favorite Brewery/Beer from Each State

In my ongoing quest to visit breweries all across this great land, I have now surpassed the 400 mark, and they’ve been spread across 37 states and 175+ cities. To celebrate this landmark, I’ve put together a ‘Special Edition’ of Brewery Travels: A rundown of my favorites in each of the states visited so far.

CATEGORIES: Beer   Feature   Midwest Breweries   Midwest Feature   Northeast Breweries   South Breweries   Travel   West Breweries  


Why a Miller Lite Was the Best Beer I’ve Ever Had

I’ve worked in craft beer for nearly five years now. I’ve had the fortune to try some truly amazing brews: Pliny the Elder, Heady Topper, Bourbon Barrel Aged Expedition Stout. Supplication? I’ve got one in my mini-fridge. The reason I’m telling you this is because I want to frame my statements here properly. I’ve had good beer, trust me. The best beer I’ve ever had, though, was a Miller Lite.

CATEGORIES: Beer   MIDWEST   Midwest Feature  

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