Crowdfunding meets craft beer-Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship - Carnegie Mellon University

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Crowdfunding meets craft beer

A lot has happened since Asa Foster and Matt Katase were brewing craft beer in their fraternity house's garage as Carnegie Mellon University undergrads.

While in college, the two friends decided to start their own craft beer brewery. They switched to self-designed majors, learned as much about the craft beer industry as possible and graduated in May 2012 with the intent to launch The Brew Gentlemen Beer Co.

But the pair still needed additional funds to move the brewery forward. So last September, Foster and Katase turned to crowdfunding site Kickstarter to get the financial backing for production.

"We wanted to be an experimental craft brewery, and we were based in the right city to do that," Foster says, noting that the Pittsburgh market, where Brew Gentlemen is located, is not as established as the craft beer scene in Philadelphia. "The Kickstarter platform took a hell of a long time. I think we spent about twice as many days preparing the campaign than the number of days it actually lasted."

In the end, their efforts paid off. With 328 backers, The Brew Gentlemen Beer Co. blew past its fundraising goal of $25,000 and ended up taking in a little more than $32,000.

As brewers find more creative ways to finance their dreams, an increasing number are pitching their story directly to the public via crowdfunding sites such as Kickstarter, IndieGoGo and Fundable. On Kickstarter alone there were twice the number of craft brew campaigns in the first six months of 2012 than the previous three years combined, the Craft Brew business blog reported in June 2012...Read more»

By: Devin Karambelas, USA TODAY Collegiate Correspondent