We are The Brew Gentlemen Beer Co., a startup microbrewery located in Pittsburgh, PA. Curiosity is what drives us, and our mission is to create exceptional craft beers for a growing community of people who share that constant sense of curiosity.
Since starting the company while still in college, we have found a location, tested and perfected our recipes, and laid the necessary groundwork to get the business off of the ground. Our next major step is to renovate our facility and install a larger brewing system. To achieve that, we need your help.
How Kickstarter Works
To accomplish this, we’re seeking to raise $25,000 or more within a 40-day time period. We’re incredibly grateful for any amount contributed toward funding our project, and we’ve created a large amount of handcrafted rewards (explained below) to thank our backers based on their level of support. If you can help us fund our project in time, we receive the funding. If we don’t meet our goal, you as a supporter are not charged a penny. If our project is successfully funded, we will be eligible for a number of grants and alternative funding options, so the success of this campaign would be the difference between a walk and an all-out sprint. We can’t do this without you!
*** UPDATE: STRETCH GOALS ***
Since meeting our goal, we've come up with some stretch goals with some ideas of what we can accomplish with the additional funds.
• $30,000 - Our first 50+ kegs. We wil be able to buy 50+ sixth-barrel kegs. All backers who have pledged over $200 will be given the opportunity to name a keg (name will be displayed on the side of the keg). We have a longstanding tradition of naming inanimate objects, and this is an opportunity to see your creativity in action. Obviously we have veto power, as we’d rather not have a keg named “[Insert Bar Name Here] Is The Absolute Worst Establishment Of All Time Oh And By The Way This Beer Sucks” showing up at [insert bar name here].
• $35,000 – Repurposed machinery bartop. We will be able to build our bar, which will feature our building’s relic of a conveyor belt (a leftover from its days as an Italian market). No, the bar will not be a conveyor belt; the non-functional machinery will inset into the bar under a glass countertop, complimenting the modern-industrial feel of our taproom.
• $40,000 – Giving back to Braddock, somehow. If we make it this far, we want to find a way to give back to the Braddock community. We’re still trying to figure out the best way to do this. We don’t want to just put it into a charity, as we’d rather put it towards something tangibly beneficial… more info to come soon.
This Kickstarter campaign is a catalyst for future development. By funding our project, you will be setting us well on our way towards building a unique facility for us to brew - and for you to enjoy - excellent beer.
Where The Funds Will Go
The main portion of funds we receive from our Kickstarter will go towards renovating our space and beginning production as soon as possible. This entails installing our brewing, fermentation, and refrigeration system, as well as building and furnishing our taproom. We have existing relationships with a variety of bars and restaurants in the Pittsburgh area, and we will start distributing kegs as soon as our renovation is completed.
We have the good fortune to be part of a larger redevelopment program initiated by ACED (Allegheny County Economic Development), with additional county funding going towards the buildout of our facility. With our infrastructure costs largely covered by this source, we will be able to use the Kickstarter funds (as well as a great deal of our own funds) to outfit our space with the highest quality equipment and furnishings.
Here's a graph that breaks down our funding allocations:
Our brewing facility is located in Braddock, PA, a small town just outside Pittsburgh. It will house a 3.5-barrel brewing system, as well as a spacious taproom and lounge area. Also occupying our building will be Magarac, the latest restaurant from acclaimed Pittsburgh chef Kevin Sousa, as well as Springboard Kitchen, a non-profit that provides food service based job training for disadvantaged individuals.
"Richly historic, large enough to matter, small enough to impact, Braddock presents an unparallelled opportunity for the urban pioneer, artist, or misfit to join in building a new kind of community." - 15104.cc
Our long-term goal is to create a competitive regional brewery that helps put Pittsburgh on the map for craft beer. Once we outgrow our pilot facility, our intention is to expand production to a larger space within Braddock, enabling us to brew on a much larger scale and begin canning our beers in order to reach a greater audience. Our pilot brewery and taproom will still remain an active part of our operation.
As we build our company, we also want to fuel the revitalization of Braddock. A successful business venture will not only provide an economic boost, but also pull more small businesses to the area. Braddock was once a thriving shopping and manufacturing district in which a person could find anything they needed to buy; a handful of successful local businesses would bring the town closer to how it looked during its golden age.
We fell in love with Pittsburgh as college freshmen, coming from Hawaii and Boston to Carnegie Mellon University with nearly zero prior knowledge of the city. Although we lived on the same floor and joined the same fraternity that year, it was two years later when we fully committed to following our shared passions for Pittsburgh and craft beer.
The Brew Gentlemen Beer Co. was created in 2010, the fall of our junior year. We began researching, brewing, and learning as much as we could about the industry, and had formed the beginnings of the company before we were even of legal drinking age. We both decided to switch to self-defined majors, taking more business, entrepreneurship, and marketing classes in order to better prepare ourselves for starting a commercial brewery.
We decided on Braddock as the location for our facility, and had found a suitable building by the time we graduated in May 2012. The gritty environment and historical significance of the old steel town provides the perfect backdrop for a modern-industrial brewery. Although its population and economy nearly disappeared following the collapse of the steel industry in the 1970s, the town currently embraces a period of redevelopment and revitalization.
UPDATE: BONUS REWARD
All backers pledging $100 or more will be eligible to be part of a Sgt. Pepper’s style cartoon of us and our backers for the wall of the brewery!
• Stickers - A couple of BGBC wordmark stickers. Perfect for your kegerator, pickup truck, or banjo case among a variety of other sticker-able locations.
• Coasters - A set of handmade, laser-etched wooden BGBC coasters.
• T-Shirt - A limited edition Project Backer shirt designed and printed by Pittsburgh’s own Commonwealth Press:
• Art Print - A limited edition print of our Braddock skyline illustration signed by Asa.
• Growler - A 64oz glass BGBC growler bottle to use at our taproom. Comes with a special backer label that is redeemable for other free goodies upon our opening.
• Gift Box - A handmade, laser-etched wooden box containing 2 stickers, 4 coasters, 1 poster, 1 t-shirt, and 1 glass growler bottle.
• Backer Party - An invitation to our Backer Party to thank our more committed supporters.
• Work Shirt - An official grey BGBC work shirt. Nearly indestructible and incredibly sexy.
• Dirty Dog Cigar Tasting - An invitation to a cigar and beer tasting event at Dirty Dog Cigar Shoppe in McKeesport, PA.
• Bar Marco Dinner - A private, five-course dinner for ten at Bar Marco in the Strip District featuring beer, wine and craft cocktail pairings (comes out to $75 per person for five courses with drink pairings).
• Guerrilla Dinner - An invitation to a unique and exclusive beer dinner, prepared by Kevin Sousa of Salt of the Earth & Magarac and held in our brewing space while it undergoes construction.
• Lifetime Merch Subscription - A permanent subscription to the BGBC store. One of every item of merchandise we ever release.
If you have any further questions, comments, or concerns, feel free to email us at email@example.com.
A huge thanks to everyone that helped us with this project - we couldn't have done it without you. I mean, we could have, but it would have been absolutely atrocious.
Benji Welmond & Sam Suter - Film team
Brett & Peter Banhazl - Film & content editors
Joe Mendick - Soundtrack
Alonzo Benavides - Web development
John Fetterman & the borough of Braddock, PA - Putting up with us
Our families - without whom we would be nowhere in the first place
...And an enormous thanks to you, our supporters, for making this happen. There will be lots of beer in the near future.
Matt Katase & Asa Foster
The Brew Gentlemen Beer Co.
Risks and challenges
Operating in an old building poses a variety of potential risks. Although the structure itself is perfectly stable, it requires a good deal more work to turn it into the sleek, modern-industrial space that we’re going to be building. Given the age of the building, there could be some small surprises along the way. Luckily we have access to the architects and consultants that are part of the project to address such concerns as they arise.
The high cost of fixed assets is a common challenge for brewery startups, as equipment accounts for a large portion of a brewery’s startup costs. However, because of the county funds being applied towards the buildout, our costs are significantly lowered.
Learning to brew on a commercial scale is an inevitable growing pain for us as young brewers. Fortunately, we have the mentorship of Jake Kristophel, head brewer of Full Pint Brewing Co., a local brewery that has been immensely helpful to us thus far.
Initial distribution will be fairly difficult, as we will be self-distributing until we partner with a distribution company. We have already built relationships with a number of bars and restaurants who have expressed interest in carrying our beers, providing us with an automatic customer base upon our launch.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
Matt has trained under another local brewery, Full Pint Brewing Co., and we’ve spent the past two years furiously brewing, reading and researching. We’ve created recipes and featured our beers at a number of events - here’s what some other folks have to say:
“It was really great beer, and all my friends — about 50 people — really liked the beer, too. Super enthusiastic response.”
- Babs Carryer, CMU Entrepreneurship
“[White Sky] had a beautiful amber color, and didn’t have a hint of cloudiness- impressive. As I took a sip my taste-buds came alive. The flavors were pronounced, but not overwhelming… The finish was equally satisfying- crisp and effervescent.”
- Executive Chef / Author Chuck Kerber, Pittsburgh Hot Plate
“[White Sky is] a super easy drinking white ale lacking that overwhelming sweet/softness that many whites have”
- Mike McAllister, Epic Development
“Awesome beer. Less hoppy IPA, sweet malts present. Solid 5.”
“Very tasty wheat, chai spice very present.”
“Great beer, great people.”
- Untapped users
Of course we still have a lot to learn, but that’s the beauty of brewing; our curiosity is what drives us to keep learning and trying new things.
When we made the decision to start this company, we approached it with a total-immersion mentality. While in school we self-defined our majors to suit the needs of the business, and have taken a broad range of classes on topics including finance, marketing, entrepreneurship and design. Again, we still have a lot to learn, but that’s why we’ve put together a team of advisors including professors from Carnegie Mellon University’s entrepreneurship and marketing departments, brewing industry members, and other successful small business owners to help us make the best decisions for our company.
Like we’ve said, we love this city - it picked us. It’s full of hard-working, genuine people. It also doesn’t hurt that it has a high livability, a rich history, a stable economy and a serious beer culture.
Up until we secure the necessary funding to buy and install our system and begin production, we will be doing a variety of events and tastings to give our supporters a chance to try our beer.
A lot of your high-ticket rewards are invitations to events. What if I don’t live in or near Pittsburgh?
If you’re willing to support us, we’re willing to work with you. Shoot us an email if you’ve contributed to our project but are unable to attend a reward event, we’ll figure out a comparable alternative.
It kind of depends which rewards we'd be sending you. At the $5 to $50 levels we'd be sending an envelope, so we'd only need about $10 to ship it internationally. In terms of the $100+ rewards, the packages start getting bulky, so we'd love it if you'd throw in an extra $20.
Here are a couple of nice things other people have said about us!
- The Tartan: http://d.pr/m6kh
- Pop City Media: http://d.pr/24Sj
- Pittsburgh Hot Plate: http://d.pr/HQwO
- Epic Development: http://d.pr/nrKC
- Pittsburgh Tribune-Review: http://d.pr/p1B3
Allegheny County Press Release: http://d.pr/nxVL
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