Many apologies for our lack of blog updates. Although our posts on Instagram and Facebook (@AltBrau) serve as a great way to keep our friends and supporters up-to-date with our projects… we’re happy to have this blog and the podcast (another thing we’ve been neglecting) as a long-form expression that allows us to go into greater detail. Thank you for reading and following along on our journey.
Our Indiegogo Campaign:
Crowdfunding has a funny stigma for many. Myself included for several years. It often seems to be a money grab from folks who were not motivated enough to write out proper business plans and incapable of securing traditional funding due to poorly thought out concepts. The brewing world has certainly seen its fair share of campaigns, some coming from well established craft breweries with international distribution but most from garage brewers and brewpubs. It’s highly unlikely the backers you seek for your campaign will have ever heard of you and almost certainly have not tasted your beer… making for a questionable investment.
So it was with considerable hesitation, extensive planning, and swallowing of my ego that I came to the conclusion that crowdfunding was, in fact, my best course of action.
When I considered the idea of bringing on investors or applying for bank loans, I realized that despite a few years of collaborations and some work experience in the beer industry, I had not put AltBrau in a position to show true feasibility and proof of concept. I didn’t want to bring in outside influence with investors or go into severe debt before having some history of sales and introducing product to market. If I could raise a (relatively) small amount of money to get AltBrau off the ground on a small scale, I would have much better leverage later when applying for loans or speaking to investors.
So began the planning.
For six months we built our email list via our pre-launch page, researched trends in crowdfunding, organized brewing/blending collaborations, collected contacts for press releases, brainstormed with videographers, worked with merchandise vendors, and so on and so on.
When the time came to click the launch button, I knew I had already gone too far to turn back. I also knew I had organized and planned the execution of our campaign to the best of my ability. We launched to the public on August 6th.
I cannot possibly put into words how much it meant to me when we hit our goal in only 6 days. My eternal gratitude goes out to my friends and family who contributed and the support I’ve received from total strangers. It has been overwhelming. Thank you all. Sincerely.
During my research into successful campaigns I had read about the emotional rollercoaster that many experience when they do their campaigns. Despite knowing this, I was still a nervous wreck… even after we hit our goal. I knew I had more work to do.
We wrapped up the campaign in September, managing to surpass our goal by an incredible +$7k. Many thanks to all 159 backers with a very special thanks to The Martells, The Armstrongs, Stephen Seymour, Kevin Miller, and Ash Salcido. I also want to thank those who shared our campaign with their friends and family, regardless of whether they were able to contribute themselves. It meant a lot.
In the end there was this funny and confusing combination of feelings. Incredible joy from seeing total strangers put their faith in you, severe anxiety that rushes over you when everything begins to feel too “real”, some disappointment from friends and family who didn’t have any interest in this huge part of your life, guilt for feeling that disappointment, etc.
The experience, in hindsight, showed me that I have an incredible network of friends around the world that are rooting for me even when I have feelings of doubt and that AltBrau, as a brand (for lack of a better term) has caught the interest of beer lovers who are ready to see what we can do.
So what now? It’s time to get to work!
As of this week we finally sent out the last of the merchandise we owed to our backers. We recently took a group on a wild yeast capture hike and in a couple weeks we will be treating our biggest backers to some of the best beers in my cellar, some pizza, and a tour of Shady Oak Barrel House where we are housing our operation. We will be hosting a blending session and dinner with some of our backers in a few months.
This month 12 oak barrels have been filled that are destined for AltBrau releases with 10 more coming soon. We picked up some blending and packaging tanks, we purchased a small can seamer, and we are currently researching glassware. In addition to overseeing the production of what will be our first commercial batches we recently released a collaboration with our friends at Seven Stills in San Francisco and we have 3 more collabs to be released and at least one more in planning. We will also be returning to Europe in June 2019 to attend Carnivale Brettanomyces.
Our goal is to have our first releases ready for the public around September of 2019, but ultimately the beer will tell us when its ready.
Its been an amazing couple of months… and although at times stressful… there is no place I’d rather be and nothing else I’d rather be doing. Thank you for following along.