If you like beer and you like crowdfunding, then you might like CrowdBrewed, which lets you have both at once. The platform launched two months ago specifically to support craft-brewing projects and is another example of how crowdfunding is becoming more niche.
Enough people seem to be liking it so far. Two projects—from Pigskin and J Wakefield—have hit their goals, and more pitches are in the pipeline. Founder Travis Benoit points to enthusiastic beer drinkers. "People love their beer. It's very niche and specific and [these breweries] have lots of passionate supporters," he says.
Craft beer is a flourishing industry, with dozens of brews emerging from all over the country (the American Beer Festival in Denver this weekend is sold out). Benoit, who lives in Fort Lauderdale, is also setting up an equity-funding site to go with the standard Kickstarter rewards type model. That's possible following the Jobs Act, which opened up the field for anyone to buy a stake in a fledgling startup. CrowdBrewed is owned by a small investment bank in San Francisco and is partnered with 99funding.com, an equity crowd-funding shop. For now, investors have to be accredited before they can participate.
The success of BrewDog, a British company that is crowdfunding its new pubs, shows how the equity model can work. The Aberdeen-based group has had a series of popular online funding rounds. The latest was "Equity for Punks III"—a $6.3 million offer this summer.
BrewDog was started by Martin Dickie and James Watt, who turned to the net after failing to raise capital by other means. Now, they have 12 pubs across the U.K. The company has a strong following, and is known for its passion and edginess (at least compared to traditional British bars).
"They proved to the world that ... you don't need to go to VCs and give away half your company," Benoit, the founder of CrowdBrewed, remarks. "You can do it through crowdfunding."