UPDATE: LOVELIKEBEER shirts now available
We broke $55,000! That means these ridiculously rad shirts featuring Kory Stetina & Derek Humbard of San Diego's amazeballs vegan food & beer pairing event series LOVELIKEBEER are now available! Just select the new $25 reward, or increase your pledge by $25 and let me know what the money is for in the survey I'll send out after the campaign is over.
UPDATE: Alex Tweet shirts now available
We broke $50,000, which means Alex Tweet trading card shirts are now available! However, we are currently 70.44 Alex Tweet trading card shirts short of $52,375. Breaching that number would make this the most backed brewery project on Kickstarter ever and unlock a $2,400 donation to amazingly effective local advocacy group Bike SD. Which 70.44 backers among you will increase your pledges by $25 for these utterly boss shirts, thus returning the universe to its natural order? Only you can decide.
UPDATE: New reward & charity stretch goal
So here's amazing news: if we become the most backed brewery project of all-time on Kickstarter, a group of our rad vendors & colleagues will DONATE $2,400 to incredibly awesome local advocacy group Bike SD. In order to unlock this mind-bogglingly cool donation, we need to break $52,375.
Which should be no problem, since you just unlocked the Derek Freese stretch goal reward by putting us over $45K! Just add $25 to your pledge to include this absurdly neato shirt with the rest of you loot (you can tell me what the money is for & your size in the survey I'll send out after the campaign ends).
UPDATE: HELL YES!!!
We broke $40K in a shockingly fast 12 days!!! Unbelievable. Thank you all so, so, so, so, so, so, so much! Best news of all: you've unlocked our first stretch reward. This ludicrously awesome shirt featuring local beer icon Nate Soroko is a new $25 reward. If you've already selected another reward, just add $25 to your pledge and let me know what it's for in the survey I'll send out at the end of the campaign.
UPDATE: You guys have detonated my dome-piece!
My mind is utterly blown by the support this campaign has received! Thank you all so, so, so much! I can't tell you enough how much it means to me. We still have a long way to go though, so please share this link right up to, but not beyond, the point at which it becomes annoying: http://kck.st/ZqKU2l
Modern Times Beer: Building A Fermentorium
Modern Times Beer is a soon-to-exist brewery in San Diego, California. For the past 14 months, I have been working like a crazed lemur to get the place up and running.
In January 2012, I walked away from my job at Stone Brewing Co. and raised enough capital in 6 months to get the brewery off the ground. I found a killer location in Point Loma, just a ten minute bike ride from the beach. I bought a gleaming 30bbl brewery with all the fixin's. And I somehow managed to hire some of the most inventive, experienced brewers a start-up brewery could hope to land.
But I don't just want Modern Times to be functional. I want Modern Times to be a magical little kingdom filled with amazeballs.
Which is why I'm asking you--the big-hearted Kickstarterers of the world--to support this fledgling operation with your generous donations. I'm offering a superabundance of punishingly awesome rewards to incentivize your support, all of which can be seen in the column at right (several of the rewards can be bundled, so be sure to read through them all).
How can you get said punishingly awesome rewards?
- Create a Kickstarter account
- Log in using your email and password (or Amazon account information)
- Click on the reward(s) of your dreams.
- Share our project like it's the plague. Spread it to anyone and everyone you know, or we might not get any of the money. And you wouldn't want that on your conscious, would you?
What Will You Do With The Money?
1) Pimp the tasting room. We can build a basic, ho-hum tasting room oooooorrrrrrrr we can build a ridiculously awesome tasting room filled with black velvet art, vintage decor, super-nifty lighting, a counter pressure growler filler, and decent glassware. The choice is yours!
2) Buy used wine & spirits barrels. We've got a temperature controlled room ready for our sour program, but we need a bit more cash to buy the barrels themselves. They're expensive and they take a long-time to start producing revenue, but we've got the potential to make some truly devastating sours if you'll help us.
3) Buy lab equipment. We've got a creepy little shack set aside to be our lab, but we can't afford to fill it with lab equipment. Microscopes and dissolved oxygen meters will help us make better, more consistent beer and avoid quality control problems, but they're crazy expensive. They'd also allow us to do some of our own yeast wrangling, which could lead to really unique, awesome beers.
Stretch Goal: $65,000
If we hit our stretch goal, I'll buy a solar hot water heating system for the brewery. It'll preheat all the water used in the brewing process, preventing the release of 27,540 lbs of CO2 each year while keeping our gas bills low. San Diego is super sunny, making this is an obvious step, but oddly, no breweries that I know of in the area are solar pre-heating their process water. I'd be stoked out of my gourd to be the first, hopefully starting a trend. We've got some killer stretch rewards to help reach this goal, so check 'em out below.
ALL REWARDS $10 & UP include an invitation to a Kickstarter-only party in our tasting room at the Lomaland Fermentorium. During said party we'll distribute all local rewards (we'll ship to everyone who can't make it to the party). Some extra cool beers will be on-tap during the party (for purchase) as a thank you for being such rad people.
Beer cannot be one of our rewards, but so much else can. I've even enlisted a couple of Kickstarter alums for two of our rewards. Pretty nifty, eh?
Letterpress Printed Logo
Kickstarter alum and newish mom Artnoose is an old friend of mine. She's been continuously letterpress printing her phenomenal zine--Ker-bloom!--for nearly 17 years, which is pretty frickin' remarkable. Artnoose will be letterpress printing our gorgeous logo--hand drawn by typography wizard Simon Walker---in silver ink on black 100% recycled 4.25"x5.5" card stock made at a family-run, extra sustainable paper mill. Suitable for framing!
Another Kickstarter alum reward! Freakers, with their dashing good looks and remarkably versatile functionality, have made coozies irrelevant. They do an outstanding job of insulating whatever you throw them on, and the Modern Times Freaker is flexible enough to fit over a 64oz. growler, conveniently covering any previous labels!
Because your dome piece can never be too warm or too visible in the woods.
Modern Times & Friends Trading Cards
Obscenely awesome 5"x7" trading cards illustrated by Modern Times Roastface Killah & Resident Artist Amy Krone. Five of these face-meltingly awesome cards feature the Modern Times crew: Flavor Developer Mike Tonsmeire, Brewer & Party Ambassador Derek Freese, Brewer & Flavor Developer Alex Tweet, Head Brewer Matt Walsh, and me.
Four more cards feature friends of Modern Times: bartender & local beer icon Nate Soroko; homebrew shop owner & Modern Times pilot batch ingredient supplier George Thornton; mis amigos & LOVELIKEBEER impresarios Kory Stetina & Derek Humard; and tag team bartenders Melanie Francis & Jenna Gee. All of these people have, in some way, played an important role in the founding of the brewery, so--duh--we put them on custom, oversized trading cards. That's 9 great cards in all!
I'm so fond of these cards, I decided to use Amy's ridiculously cool artwork on our stretch-goal t-shirts. See below for how you can help unlock these amazing shirts.
Always dreamed of starting your own brewery? I've been very open about what it's taken to start Modern Times, but this will be on a different level. I will spend 60 detail-filled minutes spelling out every step I took to get Modern Times off the ground, from fundraising to licensing to equipment ordering to construction to budgeting to location hunting to hiring to pilot brewing to marketing. Then I'll spend 30 minutes answering your questions. This is as thorough a look into a start-up brewery as you're going to get.
Just look at this shirt. Look at it. It's American Apparel, all-cotton, super tasteful. It's got our world-beating logo in fantastic colors. Now imagine yourself wearing it. Now hand over you goddamn money.
And the women's version.
Hoodie, drizzled in danksauce
A luxurious Flex Fleece American Apparel hoodie featuring brilliant artwork by the inimitable Helms Workshop. Own the least schlubby hoodie in your tasting group.
League of Partygoers & Elegant People
The League is not a passive subscription service. It is a cadre of auxiliary ninjas who will play a critical role in the day-to-day functioning of Modern Times Beer.
How, you ask? Primarily by participating in regular tasting panels of our pilot batches. The League's feedback will play a central role in deciding whether or not a recipe is worthy of being scaled-up. League members will also have the opportunity to participate in coffee cuppings, which will help determine which coffees get added to beers for our single origin batches and special releases.
Major benefit of membership: League members will receive exclusive early notice when bottles of special releases go on-sale in the tasting room. You'll have one full week to snag your bottles before we alert the general public (if any bottles remain).
League members will also receive a unique 32oz. growler that will entitle them to purchase fills of certain special releases not otherwise available for growler fills. They can also be used for regular fills in the more user-friendly 32oz. size.
League membership will last for 1 year from the date of our first special release.
Examples of beers that we will probably try to make that could theoretically be available for League bottles sales and/or growler fills only (no promises though, just meant as examples):
- 100% Brett Trois IPA, a West Coast IPA bursting with tropical fruit from both the hefty dose of Citra hops & the super fruity Brett Trois strain.
- Funky Dark Saison w/ Currants. Lots of dank funk from the mixed fermentation to compliment a lovely raisiny malt body plus a hint of spicy Belgian yeast character.
- Sour cherry gose. Derek brewed this recipe before and it was fantastic. We're going to take it up a few notches, increasing the amount of fruit to produce a tart, delicious session strength gose.
- Smoked Gruit Kvass. Mike has a thing for kvass' (kvasi?), and has quite a bit of experience brewing surprisingly tasty and unusual versions of this rarely brewed style.
- Imperial Pumpkin Chocolate Stout. Alex swears it's delicious.
- Many, many sours (examples: wine barrel Flanders Red, Cabernet grape lambic, & Calvados Sour Tripel) although these will probably take more than a year to make, in which case you'd have to sign up for another year of membership in order to get first crack at them. League members will get to renew their memberships before we make any new slots available to the public (if there are any).
League members will also be able to purchase tickets for League exclusive parties throughout the year (ergo, "partygoers"). I have no firm plans for what these will entail, but I'm confident we can put together some cockstaggering soirees.
Occasional outings and events--visits to other breweries, an invitation to help us evaluate a new hop variety, group hikes--will also be planned for League members.
And it wouldn't be a beer society if members didn't get a hoodie. So of course there's a hoodie:
If League memberships sell-out, I'll open up another, higher-priced membership tier with the same benefits. So get in while it's cheap!
Stretch Goal Rewards
For every $5,000 the campaign exceeds its goal, I'll release another special edition Modern Times & Friends Trading Card shirt as a new $25 reward. How amazing are these shirts, you ask? Let's find out:
Why am I holding such amazing shirts hostage? Because we could really use the money. Remember, Kickstarter isn't just about shopping for merch; it's a way of participating in the life of a new business. Now's the time to share this like crazy on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Myspace, & Friendster. We need all the support we can get to make Modern Times really special. Plus, you want this frickin' shirt so bad I can feel it.
And this one:
And don't forget this one:
What Will Make Modern Times A Special Snowflake?
Lots. So many things. Just a ton of different stuff. But here's three:
1) Open source brewing. All of our recipes are public--published for all the world to see--but more importantly, for all the world to tinker with. Incredibly, this has already started happening, and homebrewers have been modifying and tweaking our recipes to come up with fascinating variations. I very much want this to continue and grow and evolve and become part of a feedback loop between homebrewers and the brewery. We plan to scale-up variations we're particularly fond of with the help of the responsible homebrewer.
2) Incredibly high standards for beer. One of the first things I did after leaving my job was to enlist my friend & world class homebrewer Mike Tonsmeire to help formulate our recipes. We've been working on them together for a over a year, and now with Derek, Alex, and Matt involved, they've progressed even more. I have obnoxiously high standards for beer; we won't brew any clunkers. Strictly the danksauce whales bro. Well, I can promise that we'll try.
3) An ethical, socially responsible business. While brewing cockstaggering beer is what gets me up in the morning, doing it in a way that doesn't suck for the world is just as important to me. I won't be satisfied unless Modern Times is an utterly fantastic place to work that's also a comet of human goodness. Towards that end, I've committed to helping San Diego move beyond cars & asphalt while preserving it's surreally beautiful backcountry.
Who Are The Modern Times Ninjas?
Before throwing myself headlong into Modern Times, I worked in communications at Stone Brewing Co., where I learned more about the craft beer industry in two years than I thought could fit in my brain. Before Stone, I was a homebrewer and freelance writer, making a lot of beer and writing for beer magazines whenever they'd let me. Before that, I went to college, studying U.S. history and thinking I wanted to be a professor, before deciding that was going to be super boring.
Matt Walsh was Head Brewer at Lost Coast for the past 2 years, having been responsible for a combined ~130,000 bbls of production. He established the brewery’s quality control program, leading to a remarkably low .3% rate of returned product (including defective cooperage) during his time there. He’s also planned & procured equipment for a massive 600,000 bbl brewery expansion. Prior to Lost Coast, he served as Head Brewer at both Speakeasy Ales & Lagers and Karl Strauss Brewing. At Modern Times, Matt will be charged with ensuring that we kick out immaculate, perfectly consistent batches, along with managing the brewery’s growth & generally making sure everything hums along smoothly.
Derek Freese, former Head Brewer at Monkey Paw Pub & Brewery and longtime local homebrewer, will serve as Brewer & Party Ambassador (read: he’ll manage the tasting room & do some sales stuff). Derek’s intense passion for brewing & perpetually ebullient personality will help bring sparkling sunshine & a vast array of beer styles to Modern Times. He’s a graduate of the Siebel Institute’s Concise Course in Brewing Technology, is a certified BJCP judge & Cicerone, and most impressively, has brewed 30 different recipes in the last 18 months. Additionally, Derek’s experience as Bar Manager at Monkey Paw will come in handy at the tasting room.
Alex Tweet is a Brewer & Cask Czar at Ballast Point, and he wants everyone to know that there’s more to him than just putting weird stuff in beer…that’s just surface level. Once you get to know him, he’s really all about saisons & lambics & he’s a super deep guy, so don’t be so shallow, ok? Shallow people will focus on the fact that his inventive mind is responsible for “Indra Kunindra”, a fantastic curry stout, and a self-explanatory cask called “Victory at Cereal”–utilizing Cap’n Crunch–which he created while developing Ballast Point’s specialty cask program. Aside from brewing, Alex will assist with the barrel program and a bunch of boring office crap, since he used to do corporate stuff.
Mike Tonsmeire, AKA The Mad Fermentationist, is the most popular homebrewing blogger on teh interwebz. Besides being an almost unbelievably detailed informational resource to homebrewers everywhere, Mike is an incredibly gifted and creative brewer who has made some of the best, most complex sour and funky beer I've ever had. He's been working with me since the very beginning to formulate the recipes for Modern Times, and he'll be coming out to join the clan for a few months to help us kick off our barrel program and brettanomyces ferments.
Risks and challenges
We're offering a lot of different rewards and a fairly ambitious membership program. It is possible this will prove to be overwhelming for our tiny operation if the campaign's popularity exceeds expectations. It's highly unlikely that such a circumstance would make us unable to deliver rewards, but it could delay delivery.
Many of our rewards rely on vendors for fulfillment: a problem with any one of them could lead to delays or a change of plans. I would seek new vendors as soon as a problem arose, but there are no guarantees we could produce identical rewards in some cases.
Probably the greatest risk for backers comes from the nature of start-up businesses: Modern Times is very young, presently has no revenue, and still faces many challenges to opening. These circumstances often create cash flow problems for young companies. While I believe we've planned our financial situation and rewards very carefully, no start-up is immune to cash flow issues. Such circumstances could threaten our ability to deliver rewards, although I would do absolutely everything in my power to avoid such a situation.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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