Banded Horn Brewing Company is a brand-new craft brewery currently under construction in Biddeford, Maine. We’re thrilled to join Maine’s rich craft beer scene and can’t wait to share our brews with the public. This is where our Kickstarter project comes in. We’re looking to raise $20,000 to build a high quality tasting room directly on-premises in our brewery, where people can stop in, take a look around, ask us questions, get to know us, and most importantly, sample our beer.
The origins of Banded Horn begin like many great ideas do, with inspiration, camaraderie, and a bit of adventure. Back in 2006 Banded Horn founder Ian McConnell and his cousin Ron Graves (now a brewer at Banded Horn) were driving to visit friends and the topic of libations came up in conversation. As they drove through Gray, Maine, they passed the Hop Shop, the only local homebrewing supply store at the time. Noticing this, Ron mentioned to Ian that he always wanted to brew his own beer. At this point, the needle fell off the record for Ian, and his response was priceless: “You can actually do that?”
Thus began Ian’s journey into the brewing world. He and Ron, both native Mainers, homebrewed constantly, perfecting traditional styles and veering toward the zany and creative when the muse struck. After about a year, Ian decided to move from the visual splendor of his home state to the vibrant metropolis of New York—Brooklyn, to be specific. By now he was hooked. He simply loved brewing beer: the ingredients and the process, the creativity and the stringent parameters for optimization, and, of course, the finished product and sharing it with others.
A short time after Ian arrived in Brooklyn, he stopped by the fabled Sixpoint brewery to purchase homebrewing ingredients. After numerous trips and many beer-centric discussions, Ian was offered an internship. It was here at Sixpoint that Ian truly learned the art of craft brewing. His skills sharpened and he moved up the ranks, from intern to part-time employee to full-time and, eventually, to head brewer, responsible for the entire brewing process. Throughout Ian’s rise, Sixpoint was also rising, and is now one of the definitive craft breweries on the east coast, if not the country.
Let’s be honest, though: Ian is and always will be a Mainer at heart. While the experience and connections he gathered at Sixpoint were truly invaluable, he knew that he eventually needed to head back north to share what he learned with the state he loves so much. And Ron had been busy homebrewing, preparing for this moment.
This leads us to present day and Banded Horn Brewing Company. Finding the space in the 150-year-old Pepperell Mill was the perfect bit of luck to complete the saga. The location is absolutely stunning and infused with character, from the huge pine beams and columns to the views of the pristine Saco River, which serves as their water source. The historic city of Biddeford has welcomed Banded Horn with open arms as its only brewery, and locals continue to build the buzz, delighted about finally being represented in the craft beer landscape.
Given our historic location, we're taking great care and spending a lot of time and effort to keep a turn-of-the-century industrial, grandiose aesthetic in the tasting room. We plan to build a bar using reclaimed timbers from the very mill complex where we are located. These beams came from a building that was built in the late 1800s. They are about a foot thick and were milled from mature southern yellow pine and Douglas fir trees that were already well over one hundred years old. This aged wood conveys hundreds of years of history! The bar top will be the focal point of the tasting room, and it will be accented with a draft tower that also will be constructed with reclaimed piping from the mill.
Banded Horn aims to prove that a single brewery can not only master traditional styles from around the world, but can also produce cutting-edge beers that defy traditional classification. Ian and Ron take pride in their belief that a brewery should be regional, not global, and exemplify the character of its region. The equation is simple: Always local. Always fresh. Always made with love.
The tasting room will be an extension of this philosophy. We will repurpose materials from the mill to create a unique space that celebrates the history of our site. The tasting room is, indeed, a vehicle for consumers to sample Banded Horn brews and purchase a growler or two, along with brewery merchandise, but it’s much more than that. It’s an opportunity for the community to get to know Ian and Ron, to strike up a conversation, and to see where and how Banded Horn beer is crafted. It’s our way of connecting with the community: Banding people together. One beer at a time.
We wouldn't have a tasting room without our enthusiastic, tireless, beer-loving horde, the Kickstarter supporters. So it's only fitting that we first open the doors of the tasting room to them. I'm inviting anyone who pledges $25 and above to this special event. It will be exclusive to Kickstarter supporters, who will receive an invitation via email once we have a date.
Risks and challenges
Building a brewery and creating a new brand has been and continues to be an intense challenge. Finally we're nearing the end of that long road and by the time this Kickstarter campaign is complete, Banded Horn will be producing amazing beer.
This project will supply the funds needed to build a small tasting room at the brewery. The obvious risks are always present: building costs, equipment costs, long lead time delays, and licensing (which can be hampered by government issues, like the current shutdown). But we are adept at dealing with unforeseen issues and clearing all of the required hurdles.
The real challenge for us is that if this campaign fails we will be forced to build a tasting room several months to a year after the brewery opens, using funds that would otherwise have been devoted to expanding brewing capacity and bringing more great beer to Maine and beyond. And the public will miss out on witnessing our early days. We want beer enthusiasts to have the opportunity to visit us, get a firsthand look (and taste) of our beer, and cheer us on as we evolve from a fledgling craft brewery to a soaring mainstay.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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