Share this project

Done

Share this project

Done
We are on a mission to start a nanobrewery focusing on Belgian-style beers and sharing stories of the Belgian Resistance.
We are on a mission to start a nanobrewery focusing on Belgian-style beers and sharing stories of the Belgian Resistance.
148 backers pledged $16,855 to help bring this project to life.

About

Belgian Underground Brewing project video thumbnail
Replay with sound
Play with
sound

$16,855

148

Who are we?

Eric, Dale, and Sheldon, founders of Belgian Underground Brewing.
Eric, Dale, and Sheldon, founders of Belgian Underground Brewing.

 Belgian Underground Brewing was started by three guys: Sheldon, Eric, and Dale.

Sheldon Lesire is a Belgian-American born in Belgium and raised bi-lingually (English and Flemish, in case you're curious) in Silverton, OR.  On weekdays and during the school year, he wears ties and works as a special education teacher at rural K-8 schools.  On weekends and in the summer, he wears t-shirts, makes Belgian beer, and tells stories about Belgium.

Eric Druliner grew up on the same block as Sheldon, and is considered "a brother from another mother" by the whole Lesire family.  He keeps the peace as a police officer, and does most of the legal paperwork and compliance work for the brewery.  If that wasn't enough, he purchased a home with a shop large enough to house a brewery--that's commitment!

Dale Coleman is Sheldon's father-in-law, and has been brewing beer for more than fifteen years.  His wide-ranging fabrication experience and his technical know-how as a quality technician have proven invaluable as we've worked to get this project off the ground and produce a high quality, consistent, and repeatable product.

What is Belgian Underground Brewing?

Richard Lesire, circa 1942.
Richard Lesire, circa 1942.

 Sheldon's Opa fought in the Belgian Resistance during World War 2.  After growing up in the Willamette Valley, Sheldon discovered two things: not nearly enough people know about the Belgian Resistance, and not nearly enough people have experienced quality Belgian-style beers.  After doing years of research about the unsung heroes of the Resistance, and doing years of research about the overlooked Belgian beer styles, he finally hit on the idea of spreading knowledge about both with the same project.  Dale and Eric were quick and easy recruits, and we rapidly threw most of our spare time and resources into the effort. During our first business meeting, we decided on three guiding principles for the business:

  • This project is primarily to honor the stories of those who risked everything to resist against injustice.  That means the product quality cannot be compromised, as anything less than the best would be an insult
  • We will keep brewing fun.
  • We will build this business debt-free.

To this end, we have continued to research and uncover stories of the Resistance and make sure they're remembered by naming each beer after a Resistance group or event, and including that story on the label.  We have patiently perfected each beer recipe one by one, repeatedly brewing each until it was exemplary, and only then moving on and developing another beer. Finally, we have each sacrificed much to build the business slowly and methodically, without going into debt: Dale has sold his collection of Vespas, Sheldon sold the classic BMW he swore he'd never part with, and Eric downsized and bought a small house with a large shop where the business could be located. 

The response during our public and private tastings has been overwhelmingly positive, and we have built a community of several hundred supporters. We're starting to be noticed by the local press. We've perfected four beers we plan to brew regularly, have had good success with a couple seasonal fruit beers, and have clear plans to develop at least four others.  We have partnered with a local artist to develop our logo and our labels. In addition, we have already purchased nearly all of the equipment the brewery requires. But in order to take the next step, we will require further assistance.

How can I support the Underground?

In order to make our beers legal for purchase, we must meet the licensing requirements for the State of Oregon.  The biggest hurdle that we have yet to clear is the construction of our physical space.  Basically, our shop must be brought up to code.  This requires construction and materials.  While we can do most of the work ourselves and have had many offers to help, we cannot afford the cost of the materials on our own.  In order to help us spread our stories and disperse our beer, we're asking for a pledge of your financial support.  To reward you for your generosity and welcome you to the Underground, we have a range of merchandise and experiences for you, as you can see on the right side of this page.

If you're new to Kickstarter, here's a good overview of how to support us:
https://www.kickstarter.com/help/faq/backer+questions?ref=faq_nav#BackAProj

Risks and challenges

A mission like this requires some risks to be taken. We are naturally risk-averse, so measures have been taken to make this as safe as possible.

We have never owned or operated a brewery before. But we're quick learners, and the brewing industry in Oregon is more collaborative than competitive, with nearly every company enthusiastically helping each other whenever possible. This is something we have already experienced, with the two closest breweries to ours being early and eager supporters.

Distribution and marketing of any product can be a challenge. However, we have already lined up at least five restaurants and taphouses who believe in our cause and want to be able to serve our beer. As it stands, demand will outstrip what we can supply.

Finally, we will face some regulatory and legal hurdles. We have already been working with the county regarding getting the shop up to code, and with the Oregon Liquor Control Commission (OLCC) to make sure we're doing things correctly. Fortunately, these agencies are experienced at working with start ups, and they have already been very helpful. Sheldon, Eric, and Dale are all very experienced with completing regulatory paperwork in the course of their day jobs and this, while at times time-consuming, is well worth the effort.

Learn about accountability on Kickstarter

Questions about this project? Check out the FAQ

Support

  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $1 or more About $1.00

    For contributing this much, we'll give you a knowing wink. A dollar's not much, but we know that you didn't have to give it. You'll be acknowledged, discreetly.

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    0 backers
    $
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  2. Select this reward

    Pledge $5 or more About $5

    Want a sticker with our logo? You got it. We'll even give you a knowing wink when we notice it on your laptop, your car, or wherever.

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    7 backers
    $
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  3. Select this reward

    Pledge $10 or more About $10

    We'd like to "bring you into the circle" with Belgian kisses from a Belgian Underground brewer. Delivered the traditional way on the cheeks (left, right, left), these are often shared when greeting close friends and family. Recipients must be present in Silverton to receive said kisses, and must not have a strong aversion to beards. Yeah, you'll get a sticker to commemorate the experience, too.

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    1 backer
    $
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  4. Select this reward

    Pledge $25 or more About $25

    This reward will get you one pair of laser etched glasses and a couple stickers. After partnering with a local company specializing in laser etching and trying several designs, we've settled on tulip-shaped glasses, as they best capture the aromas of our beer and best present a foamy head. Multiple tests have also shown that they make the most satisfying "clink" sound following a toast. Cheers! Sante! Proost!

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    42 backers
    $
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  5. Select this reward

    Pledge $25 or more About $25

    Want to display your support of the Underground? This reward will get you a couple stickers and a t-shirt with our logo, which is a stylized version of the insignia for the Secret Army, Belgium's largest Resistance group during WWII. All shirts are 100% pre-shrunk cotton, and all will get you a knowing wink when you're seen in them.

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    34 backers
    $
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  6. Select this reward

    Pledge $50 or more About $50

    Want to display your support of the Underground, but live in a place with climate like the Pacific Northwest and/or Belgium? A hooded sweatshirt is the way to go. These hoodies are super soft and comfortable, and display the same eye-catching and distinctive logo as our other merchandise.

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    26 backers
    $
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  7. Select this reward

    Pledge $100 or more About $100

    Need a beverage to go? Our growlers are stainless steel and laser etched by a local company run by an early supporter of the Underground. These hold 64 ounces--that's 4 pints--and personal experience in the field has repeatedly demonstrated that these stainless steel vacuum bottles can keep a beverage cold and carbonated for up to two full days. We'll also include four (4) of our etched glasses and several stickers as well.

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    15 backers
    $
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  8. Select this reward

    Pledge $200 or more About $200

    How about a little bit of everything? At this tier, we'll ship you a shirt, a hoodie, a stainless steel growler, a pair of our etched glasses, and a small airdrop of stickers. Perfect for a supporter who's not afraid of letting their allegiances be known.

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    10 backers
    $
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  9. Select this reward

    Pledge $500 or more About $500

    Enjoy a full, multi-course dinner of Belgian food for up to eight people. For the past several centuries Belgium has served as the crossroads for Europe, and has borrowed from and improved upon the cuisines from the entire continent. One of our founders and his wife happen to be quite accomplished cooks, especially with Belgian foods. This reward will offer a hearty and delicious meal for your party including soup, a vegetable side dish, stoemp, and your choice of main dish: chicken, fish, beef, or rabbit. There are lots of foods to choose from, and we'll work with you to make sure you're served something you'll love. Naturally, beverages and etched glasses for all are included.

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Limited 1 backer
    $
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  10. Select this reward

    Pledge $1,000 or more About $1,000

    Come brew with us for a day. Seeing as how brew days usually include minutes of work punctuated by hours of waiting, we'll have some fun stuff to make this a memorable experience for you and seven other guests. We'll have t-shirts waiting for you at the brewery, so you can all look the part. During the day we'll have a Belgian smorgasbord of snacks and beverages, we'll spend plenty of time laughing and swapping stories, and we'll wrap it up with a fine Belgian dinner. Everyone goes home with an etched glass as further proof of your involvement, should anyone question your alibi.

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Limited 3 backers
    $
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  11. Select this reward

    Pledge $5,000 or more About $5,000

    Become a vetted and most trusted member of the Underground with this unique experience. We'd like you and seven of your closest friends and family members to help us create a special beer and brew with us for a day. Belgian and Belgian-inspired snacks will be on hand during the brew day. We'll finish the day with a Belgian dinner, as described above. As a reward for your service, we'll dress you up in period clothing for a photo shoot, and include you on the bottle label. To honor and remember your contributions to the effort, we will produce your beer for a minimum of three years.

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Limited 1 backer
    $
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  12. Select this reward

    Pledge $10,000 About $10,000

    Become a leader of the Underground. In addition to all of the previous rewards, we will fly you in to PDX from anywhere in the USA, put you up in a safe house for a week (okay, actually a suite at the Oregon Garden Resort in Silverton), and for the week, you'll be one of us. Accompany us daily for a week's deliveries, conduct nightly reconnaissance on the region's breweries, wineries, and pubs, and have your name mentioned just as often as you like in our promotional materials. Obviously an operation of this magnitude will require some coordination, but please contact us to handle logistics.

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Limited 0 backers
    $
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.

Funding period

- (36 days)