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Brewing great beer with a great purpose.

pledged of $55,000 goal
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Funding Unsuccessful

This project's funding goal was not reached on November 16, 2013.

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About this project


Our love for beer has always seemed to percolate into our spiritual life. From hosting a beer-tasting men's Bible study to theological discussions around the brew kettle, the union of beer and ministry always was a welcomed pair. As time passed, we wondered if there was a way to brew beer as a means to support ministry and mission. Considering the Trappist monks of Europe have been doing this for centuries, the idea grew merit. And thus, here we are.

You could say we're modern "monks" - brewing beer for the community, while living out our deep faith. We will strive to be a socially conscious business through our active role among the community. We are blessed and proud to be part of the revival of downtown Toledo.


Once we committed to pursuing this dream, we sought a name for the brewery. Pulling from our heritage as Lutherans, “Black Cloister” served not only a fitting name for our endeavor, but also a fascinating story. During the 16th Century, Martin Luther lived as a monk, priest, and teacher. He is often credited as one of the pioneers of the Protestant Reformation.

After boldy proclaiming his progressive faith and convictions, a newly-married Luther took residency at the Black Cloister in Wittenberg, Germany. His wife, Kate, brewed the beer for the household, and in fact, for the entire community of Wittenberg, which many women did in that time. With a love for beer and the courage of his convictions, Luther serves as the perfect backdrop for our brewery's unwonted story and singular purpose.


We are serious about our beer. We've assembled a team with over 50 years of brewing experience that will make premium craft beer of exceptional quality. When it comes to ingredients, Black Cloister is uncompromising. We refuse to cut corners, only using the finest grains and hops to achieve the high standards of brewing that we have set for ourselves.

Our beers will be true to style, but also whimsical and risky. We want to push boundaries, challenge palates, and innovate fresh concepts. In 2014, we will brew 3 year-round beers and a variety of seasonal and exclusive limited-release beers, as well.

We plan to brew some of our favorite styles (with our own flare), including: 

  • American IPA
  • Imperial IPA 
  • Russian Imperial Stout
  • Barleywine
  • Belgian Witbier
  • Scotch Ale
  • Saison
  • German and Bohemian Pilsners

...just to name a few. We'll brew anything we would drink and enjoy ourselves! Whatever we come up with, expect it to be awesome.


We currently are negotiating the details of our preferred location, but we legally can't disclose exactly where the brewery will be, yet. We can tell you that we will be Downtown Toledo, within walking distance of Fifth Third Field and the Huntington Center. During the duration of our Kickstarter, we will continue to provide building updates as we are able to share them with you! Our brewery is slated to open its doors to the public in May 2014.


Black Cloister Brewing Company will purchase a 15-Barrell brewing system (That's roughly 450 gallons per batch of beer!), making us the second-largest brewery in Northwest Ohio from the onset. Our Kickstarter goal of $55,000 will give us the ability to purchase three fermenting vessels, our brite tank, and approximately 150 kegs.

We think Kickstarter is a perfect platform for Black Cloister and its supporters to come together and bring this idea to life! Toledo is full of creative folks who love to think outside the box, and we're proud to call this city our home. With your help, this brewery will be a destination Toledoans and the growing craft beer community can celebrate.


Tom Schaeffer (Founder, CEO, Business Manager and Marketing Brewmaster)

Tom Schaeffer has a BS in Business Administration from St. Joseph's University, Philadelphia and a Masters of Divinity from The Lutheran Theological Seminary of Philadelphia. For the last 25 years Tom has been a pastor in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. He has successfully redeveloped a congregation. He has led and served at churches with over 1,000 members. Most recently, Tom started an entirely new congregation called Threshold Church. Tom has been a fan of craft beer since the 1980's. He has written about beer for the Examiner. com as the Perrysburg Craft Beer Examiner. He has acted as a judge for Homebrew competitions throughout Ohio and Michigan. He is an award winning homebrewer. He is the cofounder and president of The Glass City Mashers, a homebrew club in Toledo. He is also a Certified Beer Server through the Beer Cicerone Program and has organinzed beer and food pairing events.

Scott Biddle (Founder, Head of Graphic Design and Advertising)

Scott Biddle is an accomplished graphic designer who, most notably, has designed the labels and packaging for the largest craft brewery in Toledo. He is a homebrewer and member of the Glass City Mashers. Additionally, he is the Director of Worship at Threshold Church.

Mike Kennedy (Founder, Project Manager, Sales Director, Safety Coordinator) 

Mike Kennedy joins the team and adds over 28 years of experience in sales and project management. He has been in leadership roles at a retail and wholesale level selling building materials and working his way up to being in charge of 26 wholesale stores located in: Ohio, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Indiana. During this time he was an integral part of taking his company to one of the top 5 wholesalers in the country for materials and services distributed by Kraftmaid Cabinetry. After the building industry took a severe downfall Michael continued his success as a Project Manager for a local engineering firm where he oversees capital investments of facility siting and construction projects at the BP oil refinery in Oregon, Ohio. Michael has been a part of the safety success at the refinery and in helping to build facilities that protect people in an industrial petrochemical environment. Michael is a leader in his Church serving in capacity as Building committee chair and several leadership roles associated with helping the church move outward into the community we serve. Michael is very active in other service capacities including Habitat for Humanity and enjoys four-wheeling off-road in the mountains of Tennessee for enjoyment and is a homebrewer.

Bob Hall (Founder, Research and Design Brewmaster) 

Bob Hall "crafted" his first beer in 1971 with items from the baking aisle of a local grocery and sc ant information. That experience led to a life-long interest in the brewing process and a continuing search for the best brewing techniques. Bob is an award-winning home brewer who has toured commercial breweries across the United States and Europe and has attended seminars at several national brewing conferences. He has raised his own hops, made beers using wheat of his family farm, serves as superintendent of homebrew and wine competition at the Henry County Fair and is a member of the Glass City Mashers. Currently retired, Hall's career included work as an extension agent with the Ohio State University College of Agriculture and technology direc tor for the Napoleon (OH) City School District. He holds a B.S.Ed. degree from Bowling Green State University (Earth sciences), M.Ed. and Ph.D. degrees from the University of Toledo (educational technology) and currently serves as chair of the Northwest State Community College Board of Trustees. Bob is a member of Trinity Lutheran Church (ELCA) in Malinta, OH, and a Navy veteran.

Brad Deters (Brewmaster, Sales) 

Brad Deters has an Associates degree in Biblical Studies from Rosedale Bible College. He is a Cicerone certified beer server and currently works in retail as a beer and wine specialist at the Anderson's wine shop. Furthermore, Bradley is a homebrewer and member of the Glass City Mashers.


We are offering a special reward for the first 95 Backers. The first 95 will have their names displayed on our 'Wittenberg Door'. You'll get to be one of our 95 Heroes, proudly displayed in our taproom on an old church door. Hurry and be one of the first to back our project!

Risks and challenges

As of today, our government is still shut down. What does that mean for a new brewery like ours? There could be delays in our permits and license applications. It's hard to say how long those delays could be, as no one knows how long we will wait for the chains to start moving in Washington again.

Aside from that, the build out of our brewery and tasting room could see a number of delays. From obtaining local building permits from the city to building our space to meet ADA and fire code, we have many challenges ahead of us before we are ready for Opening Day.

However, we are very fortunate to have an unbelievable support team made up of restauranteurs, city officials, contractors, and corporate executives that will help streamline the completion of our brewery. Already, we've had to overcome some giant hurdles...but it's clear that this dream is something divine, as we've seen each challenge come and go without losing momentum or compromising our vision.

We're confident this trend will continue as new obstacles, both expected and unforeseen, arise. Our supporters, family, and friends are vital to the success of our brewery, and we're showing no signs of stopping!

Learn about accountability on Kickstarter


Have a question? If the info above doesn't help, you can ask the project creator directly.

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Support this project

  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $5 or more About $5 USD

    (2) Indoor/Outdoor Vinyl Stickers featuring the Black Cloister logo.

    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Only United States
    9 backers
  2. Select this reward

    Pledge $10 or more About $10 USD

    (1) Metal Keychain Bottle Opener featuring the Black Cloister logo.

    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Only United States
    9 backers
  3. Select this reward

    Pledge $20 or more About $20 USD

    (1) 14.75 oz Teardrop Glass Chalice featuring the Black Cloister logo

    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Only United States
    47 backers
  4. Select this reward

    Pledge $50 or more About $50 USD

    Choice of either (1) Black Military-Style Hat embroidered with the Black Cloister logo - OR - (1) Black T-Shirt featuring the Black Cloister logo [Available in adult sizes S-XXL]

    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Only United States
    20 backers
  5. Select this reward

    Pledge $100 or more About $100 USD

    Attend a single-evening class on Beer Styles and History at Denny's Craft Beer & Wine Cave, taught by Black Cloister CEO, Tom Schaeffer. Also includes all Rewards #1 through #4. [Classes held in Toledo, Ohio. Travel accommodations not included.]

    Estimated delivery
    30 backers
  6. Select this reward

    Pledge $250 or more About $250 USD

    Be a "Brewmaster" for a day! Assist the brewers of Black Cloister in making one of our Signature beers at the brewery. Also includes all Rewards #1 through #4.

    Estimated delivery
    Limited 7 backers
  7. All gone!

    Pledge $500 or more About $500 USD

    Name one of our Brewing Vessels! The vessel's nickname will be engraved and displayed directly on the vessel, and the brewers of Black Cloister will forever refer to the vessel by it's name. Also includes all Rewards #1 through #4. [Nicknames must be 3 words or less and must not include any inappropriate language or profanity.]

    Estimated delivery
    All gone! 5 backers
  8. Select this reward

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

    You and (1) Guest will each receive an invitation to attend a private 4-Course Dinner event, hosted by Black Cloister and the master chefs at Swig Charcuterie in Perrsyburg, OH. The event also includes live music entertainment performed by Black Cloister founder, Scott Biddle. Also includes all Rewards #1 through #4. [Event held in Toledo, Ohio. Travel accommodations not included.]

    Estimated delivery
    Limited 0 backers
  9. Select this reward

    Pledge $2,000 or more About $2,000 USD

    You and (1) Guest will join us for a special "Toledo Taps Tour" Weekend Getaway! Founders of Black Cloister will personally guide you on a tour across the Greater Toledo area, visiting some of our favorite pubs and eateries, as well as some of the notable Toledo attractions. Also includes (2) Toledo Mud Hens tickets to catch a ballgame during your stay. Includes a (1 Room) Single Night stay at a Downtown hotel and chauffeured transportation for the tour itself. Also includes all Rewards #1 through #4. [Travel accommodations to and from Toledo, Ohio are not provided, however, official tour transportation is provided.]

    Estimated delivery
    Limited 0 backers
  10. Select this reward

    Pledge $3,000 or more About $3,000 USD

    The premier Reward! Assist the brewers of Black Cloister and Brad Dahlhofer, Founder and CEO of B. Nektar Meadery, in the brewing of a Collaboration Braggot Beer! Also includes (2) VIP Passes to the Release Party for this momentous beer [Front-of-the-Line status for the release, an exclusive Collector's bottle hand-signed by the brewers, and accolades as the Assistant for the brew]. Also includes all Rewards #1 through #4, as well as a B. Nektar Brewer's Shirt. [Event held in Toledo, Ohio. Travel accommodations not included. All reasonable efforts will be made to schedule the brew date and release party around the Backer's availability. The exclusive bottle does not contain any alcohol.]

    Estimated delivery
    Limited 0 backers

Funding period

- (30 days)