I'm very excited to say I've surpassed my original goal of $6,500 by quite a lot, and am 156% funded! The Little Dog campaign ends at 6:30 a.m. on Tuesday, June 10, but all my great rewards are still available; T's, hats, glassware, coasters, etc. And they are going to look GREAT - thanks to you! Additional funds raised are being allocated to even more "extras" for the tasting room - it's going to be beautiful! I can't wait to give you a tour of my brewery! Cheers, Gretchen
Support the Little Dog!
Breweries are expensive. Opening even a modest-sized brewery requires a huge commitment of time, energy, and yes, money. The Little Dog Brewing Co. is already a go - I have the building, the equipment, zoning approval, and enough funds for the build-out and preliminary expenses like supplies and ingredients. Through Kickstarter, I'm hoping to supplement my small budget by raising additional funds that I'll use for the "extras" - specifically, merchandise and more amenities for the tasting room. If you're interested in supporting the Little Dog, please read on. I'm confident the Little Dog will be a success, and I hope you'll be a part of it!
Who am I?
My name is Gretchen Schmidhausler and I am a professional brewer. I have a formal brewing education and lots of practical experience: I know how to brew beer! Like many commercial brewers, I started out as a homebrewer before making a well-loved hobby a career. Becoming a professional brewer is one of the best things I've ever done. I love brewing and I love to talk beer and share my beer with other enthusiasts, like you. I've been both lucky and successful - most recently I was the Brewmaster at Basil T's Brewery & Italian Grill in Red Bank, NJ for 12 years. During my tenure at Basil's, I won three medals at the Great American Beer Festival - two gold and one bronze. After working in New Jersey's Craft Brewing Industry for almost 20 years, I made the decision to leave my job in order to open a small brewery, the Little Dog Brewing Company. The brewery mascot is my own little dog, Quincy the Basenji. I also think of myself as the Little Dog - a very small brewer among a growing number of much larger breweries. I'll need to be tenacious, focused and sometimes scrappy to succeed. This is no longer a hobby!
My original concept was for a small, boutique brewery located on a well-traveled road, rather than tucked away in an industrial park. I'm happy to say I found just the right spot - it's in a nice little town less than a mile to the Atlantic Ocean. My plan is to brew well-crafted, small batch beers and my 4-bbl system is just the right size to realize my goal -- and turn a profit. After careful consideration, I've decided my flagship beers will be German-style Ales, a traditional hefeweiss (wheat) beer and an altbier, a darker, fuller-bodied beer. Both will be available in 22 oz. bottles. Rotating seasonal beers will be available in the tasting room and by the growler. I have the experience, I have the building, I have the equipment. I have most of my funding, thanks to my own funds and a group of small investors, many of them former customers, who want to see me succeed and are excited to be part of this project.
So, why have I turned to Kickstarter?
Opening a brewery is an expensive proposition; anyone who's started one will tell you there's never enough money for everything, at least when you're just starting out. The zoning approval alone took a big bite out of my budget. I don't like to say I'm doing this on a shoestring. I do have funding, although my budget is modest and includes enough for some very basic merchandise. I love my logo, and people who've seen it agree - it's going to look great on T-shirts, growlers, glassware, and other cool stuff. Any Kickstarter funds raised will go mainly toward a better selection of merchandise - several styles of T-shirts with a 3- or 4-color logo, for example. I know from experience that breweries often find it hard to commit money to merchandise - even if people want it - because they have so many other financial demands.
I'll also use my Kickstarter funding to add more amenities to the tasting room. I envision a friendly, comfortable space with long wooden communal tables - a place where you can come to learn about beer, meet-like minded people, and, of course, try some of my tasty brews. This vision is essential to my concept: a brewery with a welcoming, neighborhood feel. If my campaign is successful, I'll be able to put in a nicer floor, replace the old ceiling tiles, and upgrade the lighting. As I grow, I'll be able to add to and upgrade the brewery and equipment, all to serve my customers better. You, my backers, will have been responsible in part for my success.
I'm not asking for something for nothing. I've spent some time thinking about your rewards and I think I've come up with some good ones so please check them out. Plus, if you become a backer at any level I'll display your name and picture (or your own dog's picture, if you prefer!) right on the brewery wall. How cool is that?
Lastly, I've posted a no-frills video to give you an idea of what I have in mind. I hope you have a few minutes to watch it.
Thanks in advance for your help
Risks and challenges
Of course, opening any new business is a gamble. There are certainly risks involved and I'm well aware of them. As the popularity of craft beer soars, the number of brewery openings has increased dramatically leading to a lot more competition. I have a good concept, a good business plan, and I make good beer; I think that's a winning combination. My project is far enough along that there's no turning back. I've already received approval from the federal Tax and Trade Bureau to operate. My State license is in the works. The building renovation is underway. I've purchased most of my equipment. Pending approvals, I hope to be brewing you beer sometime this summer. My expectation is that your rewards will follow shortly thereafter, by summer's end.
Will the business succeed? Yes, I believe it will. Having a strong brewing background is definitely a plus. Our building is ideally located on a great street. I have no loans to repay. I also have a lot of support from a lot of people, businesses, former customers, and people in the industry.
I'm confident the Little Dog Brewing Co. will be a success and I hope you'll be part of it!Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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