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GYST specializes in cheese, wine, beer and other fermented wonders. Come taste, learn and hang out!  #gystdoit
GYST specializes in cheese, wine, beer and other fermented wonders. Come taste, learn and hang out! #gystdoit
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229 backers pledged $40,471 to help bring this project to life.

About this project

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$40,471

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Did you know that the word "yeast" originates from the Old English word, gist; gyst? A culinary wonder that brings us so many fulfilling foods and drinks… and the perfect name for a fermentation bar! 

Photography by Katie Wamsley
Photography by Katie Wamsley

At GYST you will find artisanal cheese plates, craft beer and wine, mouthwatering sandwiches, pickle plates, charcuterie, yogurt creations, chocolate, and coffee, as well as other specialty fermented products. Our goal is to give people a sense of where these products come from while "creating community through food” (Sam Mogannam of Bi-Rite Market in San Francisco). 

What to Expect at GYST?

Love cheese. At GYST you will find small-produced, artisanal cheese that we feature in three different rotating boards, a GYSTable (think bento box meets lunchables) and a Mother board (includes the whole shabang)!  Or, we are happy to cut you a wedge(s) of cheese to go. 

Photography by Katie Wamsley
Photography by Katie Wamsley
sample cheese board selections
sample cheese board selections

Enjoy authentic wine. At GYST you will find wine produced with integrity, little intervention and a sense of place. These wines, be they "natural," biodynamic, ultra-traditional and/or organic will all tell the tale of a place and leave you with a feeling of endearment toward a wine you most likely have never heard of before.

Drink great beer. GYST is your Cheers. Frothing on taps and in bottles, we will have a varied yet focused selection, constantly changing with emphasis on seasonal brews, special creations and tried and true favorites.

Attend a tasting, class or event. We will be teaching, as well as coordinating, a number of tastings and classes that expand, excite and educate your palate. Come and learn from us, as well as visiting chefs, cheesemakers, winemakers, chocolatiers, coffee roasters and food-book authors, for an unforgettable experience in a small and intimate setting.

Mel and Ky at ACS in Madison, WI; Jill at Bodegas Gutiérrez Colosia, Jerez, Spain; Ky with Alex Atala and chefs at dom, São Paulo, Brasil.
Mel and Ky at ACS in Madison, WI; Jill at Bodegas Gutiérrez Colosia, Jerez, Spain; Ky with Alex Atala and chefs at dom, São Paulo, Brasil.

Why Do We Need the Money?

Ideas for GYST Fermentations have been, well, fermenting, for years. Recently, we found a space in the Eat Street area of Minneapolis but in a very old building that has not been updated – until now. The new owner of the building is transforming it – its big, its bold, its red!

25 E. 26th Street
25 E. 26th Street

Together we are working hard to revitalize this space, but as you all know, it is costly. The owner has put in a lot of structural work, a new HVAC system and brand new solar panels for energy efficiency. We are committed to green standards at GYST. 

We are putting in everything we've got to bring this space up to code for City and ADA requirements by building two new accessible bathrooms, as well as an accessible ramp outside. We are renovating the interior, and building a cozy kitchen to highlight amazing, fermented wonders/goods/creations. 

phase i - demo
phase i - demo

We've got almost all of this covered but we cannot do it alone. GYST is about YOU and together, we will create an even more dynamic food and drink scene in Minneapolis. Your donations will bring GYST to life in every sense. Our $40,000 goal will help complete the kitchen, food counter, and the tiniest details that go into building a dynamic and comfortable space. (Thank you to our design team for all your great ideas!) Anything above our goal, will support efforts to develop community-focused classes and events. 

Thank You to Peterssen/Keller Architecture and Building Assets Construction Company
Thank You to Peterssen/Keller Architecture and Building Assets Construction Company

Thank You. At the end of the day, ideas for GYST have been inspired by our family, friends, and colleagues. We could not be doing this without each and every one of you. We THANK YOU from the bottom of our hearts to be able to create such a place in Minneapolis, Minnesota. 

Who Are We?

We are Ky, Mel and Jill. We love traveling, Spaceballs the movie and most importantly, we love creating unforgettable experiences surrounding fermented foods & drinks...In fact, we have all been working with products of fermentation in one way or another for many years...

Mel (mustache #1 going from left to right) has exceptional wine and restaurateur experience! She is a certified Sommelier through the International Sommelier Guild (ISG) in San Francisco and helped open two new restaurants (Delfina Pizzeria in San Francisco and Broders' Terzo Vino Bar in Minneapolis). She also helped open Winery SF - an urban winery and events center on Treasure Island and was co-wine buyer for Bi-Rite Market.

Jill (mustache #2, in the middle) has worked in almost every facet of the wine business; from importing and distribution to assistant winemaking in places like New Zealand, Spain and Oregon. While traveling to wine growing areas such as South Africa, Italy, Croatia, France, etc., Jill became a certified sommelier through the International Sommelier Guild and moved to Chicago to work as a wine buyer for both on and off-premise establishments. She has been teaching the third and final, diploma level course for the International Sommelier Guild for the past five years. 

Ky (mustache #3 pictured on the right) has been studying social entrepreneurship and the art of storytelling, while eating and drinking all products of fermentation along the way! She has an MA degree and was lucky enough to receive a Fulbright Scholarship to Brazil, where she formally studied how gender inequalities affect health, and informally, Brazilian cheese. Her experiences working at Bi-Rite Market and interning at 18 Reasons in San Francisco are what moved her to turn her passion of cheese into a profession. 

Risks and challenges

As a backer of this Kickstarter, you should be aware that we are a start-up with all of the same challenges and obstacles that any start-up may have to overcome. We are prepared for these - our team is savvy with a lot of experience.

Also, the corner of 26th and 1st is awesome - walkable to MCAD, the Minneapolis Institute of Art, Stevens Square park, not to mention all the other wonderful bars, restaurants and businesses that make up Eat Street. However, as mentioned above, this building is old and is a change of space, which means we have a lot of work to do to bring it up to code and make it GYST right. After much thought and strategy, we decided to go for it because GYST is about community. It will take all of us to build it but the rewards will keep coming for years and years.

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  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $10 or more About $10

    GYST-O-GRAM - We will mail you a snazzy GYST postcard with a thank you note and a handwritten cheese and drink haiku. Example: "My stinky orange friend, dances as I lift my glass, cheers to you Epoisses!"

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    Pledge $25 or more About $25

    Be a Studious Backer - Not only will you receive a postcard with a cheese and drink haiku, you will also receive a GYST tasting journal so you can write your own haikus, tasting notes, food puns, etc.!

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    Pledge $40 or more About $40

    Come in for "Harpy Hour!" On Thursday, November 13th from 5-7pm, GYST owner, Ky, will bring in her harp and play some classic tunes and more. Requests taken in the comments below. We promise you will be whisked away to a happy, harpy place. Oh, and November 13 is GYST owner, Mel's birthday, so a cake made up of wheels of cheese will be served!

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    Pledge $50 or more About $50

    GYST Do It - It's clear you understand the blood, sweat and tears that go along with opening a business. That's why we want to give you a GYST t-shirt and a one-of-a-kind GYST sweat wristband.

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    Pledge $50 or more About $50

    Be Biodynamic - In biodynamic viticulture cows are indispensable. We are making this revered animal a part of GYST by showcasing old cow horns. We will write your name on a rock, surround it with good energy and put it in the cow horn display! Can't you feel the good vibes already?

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    Pledge $65 or more About $65

    GYST BE! - We are lucky enough to be located next to YESS Yoga, a studio all about connecting with yourself and the community around you. You will receive 3 yoga classes at YESS Yoga, 3 GYST kombuchas (swing on over after yoga), a GYST t-shirt, and a GYST sweat wrist-band that you'll need for all of those future yoga classes!

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    Pledge $75 or more About $75

    Be a Cheesemonger for a Half-Day - Want to become more of a cheese whiz? Come in for a morning or afternoon and learn all about cheese care, how to taste, how to cut and how to make a perfect cheese plate! Also receive a GYST t-shirt and a journal to take studious notes.

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    Pledge $100 or more About $100

    GYST OPEN! - We want to and we will just as soon as possible. Celebrate with us at our opening party! You will be the first to view the transformation of the space and sample GYST bites. Think cheese, charcuterie, pickled things, chocolate, try our kombucha and more! We want your feedback! You will also receive the very stylish GYST t-shirt. Beer and wine available for purchase.

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    Pledge $150 or more About $150

    Come in for "Spinning the Wheels" Night - Oh friends, this is bound to be a good time. GYST will be host to a special cheese cart night - French style, accompanied by none other than the amazing Jade, DJ for the Current, spinning records. GYST bites included, as well as all-you-can-eat cheese from the cart. As always, beer and wine available for purchase.

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    Pledge $150 or more About $150

    Tableside Storytelling for Two - Come and learn about the stories behind the producers, while you savor the tastes behind their hard work and energy. A special tasting menu will be designed just for you. Please give us at least a week advanced notice so we can make it extra special.

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    Pledge $200 or more About $200

    Session with a Sommelier - Have an upcoming event where you would like wine or food and wine pairing suggestions? Or, perhaps you have a wine cellar or wine collection? Let our sommeliers consult with you! You will receive a 2-hour consultation with Mel and/or Jill to fit your wine needs.

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    Pledge $250 or more About $250

    Cuckoo for Cocoa and Coffee - Receive two different artisan chocolate bars and a bag of Dark Matter coffee each season for one year! We will also throw in a GYST t-shirt and journal so you can record your tasting notes. (A small shipping fee will be added to residents living outside of MN.)

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    Pledge $350 or more About $350

    Cuckoo for Curds - Receive a half-a-pound of cheese once a month for a whole year! Come in and select up to a half-a-pound of cheese each month. You will also receive at GYST t-shirt and journal for tasting notes.

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    Pledge $350 or more About $350

    Attend the 1st Guest Chef Dinner Gathering! It is an honor to announce that Todd Macdonald, formerly of Bouley and Cru in NYC, along with his wife, Mary Kole, sommelier, (also named two of the most anticipated Twin Cities restaurateurs by Minneapolis/St.Paul mag) will be partnering with Amy Thielen, current host of the Food Network's Heartland Table and James Beard Award winner for her book, The New Midwestern Table. Todd and Amy, who cooked together at both Bouley and Cru, will present a 5-course, fermented-themed menu with pairings. This will be a rare night in Minneapolis--not to be missed (date and time still TBD).

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    Pledge $365 or more About $365

    Be an Exclusive Culture Club Member - For one year, the Culture Club will meet every 3rd Sunday where you will help us break into new cheeses and new products, as well as engage in conversations about food and drink movements ( i.e. natural wine, biodynamic farming, fair-trade practices, non-GMO labeling, etc., etc.,). You will receive a GYST t-shirt, sweatband, journal, and GOOD energy because you want to learn and share!

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    Pledge $500 or more About $500

    Serve a Cheese Cake - While we love the sweet, decadent bliss of true cake or even the cream cheesiness of cheesecake, we tend to prefer actual cheese built into the shape and style of a three-tiered cake. They are beautiful, stylish and most of all, delicious. If you have a special event or party coming up (wedding, birthday, shower, brunch, etc.) let us make you a cake out of cheese. Serves 50-100 people. (We will consult with you on your cheese tastes, as well as flowers, herbs and foliage for beauty.)

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

    GYST a Class - We will nerd out with you and 10 of your friends by designing you a two-hour class of your choice! It will be engaging, intimate, and of course, delicious. Everyone will receive a GYST t-shirt and journal.

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    Pledge $3,500 or more About $3,500

    GYST Have an Event - Rent out GYST for your event or party! We will work with you to design a bountiful spread to fit your special occasion. (Wine and beer not included - Kickstarter Rules, not ours; 40 people max.)

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

    TAP Master - We all love beer! We want to give YOU the right to choose what beer goes on one of our taps for an entire year as well as a $50 cheese tab each month. ($50 does not roll over from month to month) It's yours. Tell your friends. You get bragging rights.

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

    Get the GYST of IT! Rent out GYST for your event or party, which will include a bountiful spread as well as the three-tiered cheese cake. You and all 40 of your guests will receive a GYST t-shirt and journal. Also, receive 4 tickets to the GYST Opening Party!

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    Pledge $10,000 About $10,000

    GYST Because - You're an angel. You want to support a new concept and the young women behind it. You want to see new products enter the Minneapolis market. Most of all, you care about augmenting the culinary arts in the Twin Cities and know that by your donation, you will help us create community through food and drink.

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Funding period

- (30 days)