June Lake Brewing - Build a Brewery in June Lake California!
June Lake Brewing - Build a Brewery in June Lake California!
Make History by building the first brewery in June Lake. A community focused, mountain oasis with beer as awesome as the location!
Make History by building the first brewery in June Lake. A community focused, mountain oasis with beer as awesome as the location! Read more
June Lake Brewing - Building a Brewery in June Lake California, One Piece of Awesomeness at a Time!
June Lake Brewing is the dream that two people (and an entire community) have to make history by building the first ever brewery in June Lake California.
Since early 2012 my super awesome wife Sarah and I have been planning, saving and generally kicking ass to make June Lake Brewing a reality. We have recently negotiated our location, we're working with the County, State and Feds on the legal stuff, and we've placed the deposit on our equipment. At this pace we're shooting for a June 2014 grand opening.
If you’re not familiar with the area, June Lake is 15 minutes north of Mammoth Lakes (Central/Eastern California) and it’s truly the hidden jewel of the Eastern Sierras. With Tioga Pass, and the back gate of Yosemite just around the corner, June Lake is an ideal location for skiing, riding, biking, climbing, fishing, hiking, camping, trekking and just about any outdoor activity you can think of. If you follow the ski industry you may have heard Mammoth Mountain, which purchased June Mountain in 1986, will be re-opening June Mountain this coming winter after a season-long closure.
While June Lake has a thriving outdoor community, one of the few things the area is lacking is a community-based craft brewery, and that’s where we come in. With a combined passion and experience in the west coast craft brew subculture, Sarah and I see a great opportunity to make history by bringing the first ever brewery to June Lake. In addition to selling awesome beer, we see June Lake Brewing as a community focal point getting likeminded people together in a relaxed setting to partake in lovingly crafted fermulations made from the most killer ingredients ever.
So that's where you truly awesome individuals come in. We have a bundle of cash in our mattress that we've been socking away for a while (aka our entire life savings), but to do this thing right we need just a little more to push it over the top. As described below we have our own ideals of the type of beer we want to make, and in regards to quality and style (not to mention our planned community involvement and sustainable business focus) it's really important that we're able to fund this endeavor without taking on equity investment and compromising our vision. Oh yeah and we have some insanely crazy good rewards in exchange for your pledge and support. Peruse the rewards to the right and be sure to make note of what you want in exchange for your pledge.
Okay the important part - here's how you can help build a brewery in June Lake and get some supremely freakin killer stuff in return:
1) Select the reward of your choice on the right panel, OR hit the "Back This Project" button at the top to select from the list of rewards.
2) Enter your pledge amount and select the corresponding reward. If you're adding on any additional rewards, add the extra amount for that reward to your pledge and you will be able to identify the additional reward paid for on the after campaign survey.
3) Login to Kickstarter (or create a new account) so we can find you and get you your super sweet JLB stuff after the campaign is over.
4) Click on the reward/pledge level you're digging the most and when you commit, let us know exactly what you're into so we can reserve a super groovy package just for you.
5) Check out with Amazon. If you're new to Amazon, complete the super easy signup process and get 'er done. Using Amazon ensures the best and most secure method of payment for your amazing pledges.
6) Tell everyone you can about June Lake Brewing and our snazzy Kickstarter campaign. Here's a couple ideas of how to get the word out:
- Share it on Facebook
- Tweet the crap out of it
- Send out 1million emails to all your friends
- Write a blog article about how stoked you are (press pack)
- Hell get up on a mountain top and yell it at the top of your lungs!
The more people you tell, and the more people that pledge, the closer all of us get to making history and building a brewery in June Lake! Remember without your pledge, and support sharing, we won't be able to make this super awesome dream a reality.
What's the Money For?
Good question, I'm glad you asked. Below I've outlined the areas that we'll be spending your pledge money on. It should be noted the total capital needed for these purchases exceeds the amount we're seeking, but that's where our sock full-o-cash in our mattress comes in!
1) Brewhouse - We're looking at a 15bbl direct fire brewhouse solution from Premier Stainless of Escondido. This setup will allow us to brew awesome beer on a consistent basis.
2) Fermentation - You can brew all the beer in the world, but without some slick fermenters it won't ever actually become beer. So to go along with our 15bbl brewhouse we're lookin to get two 30bbl uni-tank fermenters. You may ask - "but why are you getting fermenters twice as large as your brewhouse?" Well my young padowan learner we're getting the bigger tanks so we can brew two batches of the same beer in a row and then throw it all in the same fermenter for a giant yeast orgy! This way we can make more beer without being constrained by the size of our 15bbl system. Oh yeah and uni-tank is the magical place that the bubbles get put into the beer (it's science).
3) Ancillary Brew Stuff - So in addition to the main items listed above we'll also need stuff like a glycol chiller, grain mill, CO2 tanks, water heater, hoses, tri-clamp fittings, pallet jack, trained pack of guard pigs* (*still trying to convince Sarah on the mission critical nature of this one) and a broom so I can clean up!
4) Location and Legal Stuff - Great so we've got all the stuff above, but we still can't make beer without a location... As indicated we've got a location lined up, but it needs plumbing, sewer, electrical, insulation, floor drains, and a serious makeover. So it's going to take us a little money, and a lot of time (stoked I quit my day job), to make it the greatest brewery June Lake has ever seen. Also there's all of the licensing and permitting costs that we need to take care of so we can actually sell the beer after we make it.
Stretch Goal - $100,000
The main goal of $75,000 will get us the essentials we need to get off the ground, but to really make this thing rock we could use a little bit more fermentation capacity. If we're able to surpass our stretch goal we plan on buying two additional 30bbl fermenters, that means we'll be able to make 100% MORE BEER! We've got some double top secret rewards lined up to be unlocked after we hit our main goal, so let's make this happen people!
Pledge Rewards -
Below I've provided pictures and descriptions for most of the rewards that are listed out to the right of our Kickstarter page. I know it's a bummer being we're asking for your help to build a brewery, but we legally can't offer beer as a reward (send a letter of protest to your local politician! ... I'm kidding, don't do that, it won't help). That being said we've spent a lot of time coming up with super awesome stuff that we'd be stoked on receiving if we were pledging money to start a brewery. So make note of what you're into and then when you pledge (especially if you're pledging for multiple reward items) make note of the rewards you're interested in.
Also upon successful completion of our Kickstarter campaign, and the launch of June Lake Brewing, we plan on having a special thank you party at which we'll have some super special brews on tap for purchase (again can't give away beer eh). Only rewards above $10 will receive an invitation to this super swank soiree (pretty sure that means outrageously awesome party in French), so don't be shy with your pledge amount!
Stickers, Magnets and Patches
These super cool little buddies enable you to show the world your support for June Lake Brewing without making a sound. Customize your clothes/gear/rig/life in all manor of awesomeness by prominently displaying your JLB!
JLB Bottle Opener
There's nothing worse than trying to open a beer with one of those sissy little bottle openers (well maybe being chased by a rabid pack of wolves, but that's neither here nor there), so we commissioned some nice people on the interweb to make us these super groovy stainless steel paddle style openers with our name on 'em. We know, they're pretty sweet huh? And way better (and cheaper/less painful) than using your teeth! Also if you're in a bind stranded on a far off mountain peak they can be used as a signal mirror.
JLB Pint Glass
Simple, yet powerful... kind of like a unicycle except you can put beer in it. Actually way better than a unicycle because you can also use it as a super sweet paperweight that let's everyone know you're down with the cause. These bad mammajammas will provide you endless utility by providing a convenient vessel to transport liquids to one's mouth. Also they make really stellar 16oz measuring glasses.
JLB Trucker Hat
You don't have to be a trucker to rock a trucker hat. These killer lids are super awesome at keeping the sun off your cranium, and they'll let everyone know you're the coolest hombre in the room.
JLB AWESOME T-Shirts
These things are like a tuxido t-shirt, they're saying - "We're formal, but we're ready to party!" Made from 50% organic cotton and 50% post-consumer recycled polyester, they're more planet friendly than a normal shirt, but still super soft and awesome.
JLB Glass Growler
Hops, hops, hops, I love hops, watch them go down... down to my belly... These sweet ass glass growlers proudly sport the JLB circular logo with a couple of hop cones partying on each side. The best thing about these is you can put consumable liquids in them without fear of spilling in transit. This is the JLB version of a to-go box.
Alpers X JLB Collab Hat
Extremely rare and elusive, much like a Jack-and-Coke-a-Lope, the Alpers X JLB collaboration hat will be as rare as a sasquatch riding a McDonald's tray. These things are seriously the bee's knees, so get one while you can! After crafting these from actual trout brains (*not really crafted from trout parts of any kind), JLB had them blessed by a verified trout whisperer. So they will impart special trout catching powers to the wearer.
Basically we'll tell you how to do what we're doing and provide the resources necessary to make it happen. Starting a business is hard and without help it's truly impossible. That being said our 90 minute webinar will walk through step-by-step what we did and how we did it. For anyone interested in possibly starting their own brewery this would be a great reality check as to what it actually takes to make it happen. We'll spend the first 60 minutes talking about our experience and what we'd do differently in hindsight; then we'll open it up for a 30 minute question and answer session.
JLB Stainless Steel Growler
Pretty much the coolest friggen thing I've ever seen! These things are seriously awesome. During product testing we filled one of these bad boys up with one of our ice cold brews and left it in the front seat of the Subaru, directly in the sun all day. Upon return from our mission we cracked 'er open and out came a frosty, sudsy glass of amber colored love. I mean it was good.... really good. Best part about them is you can put anything you want kept cold (or warm for that matter) in them and the desired temperature will last all day long. I'm pretty sure they're magic, so get one while you can.
JLB Locals Mug
Yeah it's authentic, don't you see the deer blood? These guys are painstakingly crafted by local June Lake artist Kenny Willingham of Mono Pottery, and are renowned across the land. Each one is completely unique and can be customized with your name, or whatever witty thing you'd like it to say. Don't pass up this opportunity to get your paws on one of these exclusive numbers.
JLB Custom T-Shirts and Hats
Unicorns really do exist! Actually they don't, but these killer, one-of-a-kind handmade masterpieces do! Each piece of JLB gear is individually customized by our local team of starving artists, so do your part and pick one of these up so the starving artists will at least have beer to drink (some beers are a meal in and of themselves).
JLB Founder's Kit
More awesome stuff than you can shake a stick at:
- JLB tshirt
- JLB trucker hat
- JLB pint glass
- JLB steel bottle opener
- Four JLB stickers
- Two JLB bottle cap magnets
- Two authentic hop cone patches
- Your name on the Founder's Plaque
JLB TestPilot Crew Membership
Become a JLB TestPilot and your life will be much more awesome, we guarantee it! The JLB TestPilot Crew is an exclusive group of gravity loving craft beer freaks, without which we couldn't have a brewery. Currently our TestPilot Crew is comprised of June Lake locals and other wickedly great individuals that have helped us get where we are today. Our TestPilots make the call on which of our pilot batches are worthy of production and what needs to go back to the drawing board.
Once we open we will regularly consult our TestPilot Crew as to what kind of brews we should make, what we should tweak with our current lineup, and what crazy weird special releases we should experiment with. The feedback gained will be the deciding factor in what we make on a production scale, as well as what we package and distribute. In addition to being the tongue of our brewery our TestPilots will be able to purchase special bottled fermulations before they're released into the wild.
TestPilots will also receive super special 40oz double walled vacuum insulated stainless steel growlers perfect for those solo missions into the great unknown where 64ozs is just too much weight.
Additional TestPilot benefits include:
- A snazzy membership card (design TBD)
- JLB TestPilot shirt
- JLB TestPilot hat
- Invites to private JLB events
- Access to the brewers for beer advice
- Super fun TestPilot adventures (e.g., splitboard excursions, MTB rides, affiliated brewery takeovers, etc...)
Becoming a JLB TestPilot is a lifestyle choice that you will not regret. Membership will be limited, so get in now as we will not have any additional memberships available after we complete our Kickstarter campaign. TestPilot Crew membership is a yearly commitment that will begin upon the opening of June Lake Brewing, and at the end of the first year (*business year, not calendar year) each member will have the option to renew their membership or forfeit it, opening up a slot for another eager individual to join our ranks.
If we sellout of JLB TestPilot Crew memberships before the culmination of our Kickstarter campaign, we'll open up another high priced membership tier. So don't delay cuz it'll cost you!
Think of this package as the Terminator of beer. Not only will you get a JLB Founder's Kit and membership in the JLB TestPilot Crew, you will also get your name on one of our precious fermenters. When these run out that's it, so act now and ensure you will be forever remembered in the annals of June Lake Brewing history.
JLB SnowSliding Goodness
June Mountain is friggin awesome and if you like snowsliding there's no better place to be on a pow day. Also if you're not familiar MariBeth and Jeff Kramer are rippers and riding with them will instantly make you better at something. Also more than likely Sarah and I will tag along to ensure proper levels of stoke are maintained. Just tell us what day works best for you and as long as Jeff and MB aren't off slaying dragons that day we'll set it up. Come schralp the gnar with us, it will be totally dopealicious!
JLB Pro Brewer
Get the skills to pay the bills, and actually try them out on a production brewery. If you're really serious about starting a brewery I'd highly advise actually brewing on a commercial system, and what better way to do it than on equipment you don't have to buy first (cuz it's really expensive). Also being in June Lake is pretty cool and there will undoubtedly be some sort of adventure to partake in.
JLB Custom Brew and Custom Barrel Aged Brew
Ever dream of making your own high quality craft beer? Well now you can, and best of all you don't even need to buy a brewery!
JLB Badass Honey Badger Supreme Package
Basically you would be our hero/heroine and be treated as such. We know $10k is a grip of cash, so we will ensure you will have a prominent place in the June Lake Brewing universe. Heck if you have a killer name like Magnum Thor Danger, Justin may even get it tattooed on himself. Cuz Honey Badger Don't Care!
Stretch Goal Rewards
We've got some phenomenally sweet stretch rewards lined up for release into the wild once we surpass our main fund raising goal. There's been rumor of everything from guided local fly-fishing excursions to custom JLB stainless steel pint cups, but until we hit our goal we've got to keep them under wraps cuz their shear greatness would overwhelm you at this point. Basically you're just going to have to take our word that they're galaxy crushingly AWESOME!
What's June Lake Brewing's Point of Differentiation in the Saturated World That is Craft Beer?
Good question, you're really on a roll. Let me lay it out for you:
1) June Lake - If you haven't been here, June Lake is pretty much the greatest place in the world. From the culture to the area, it's all about getting outside and enjoying this crazy beautiful world around us. With this in mind we're integrating June Lake into everything we do and focusing on giving back to the community. By supporting local individuals, organizations, business and events we strive to not just be a business in our community, but to involve the community in everything we do. From branding to brewing, our beer is June Lake and once you visit you will always want a little piece of June in your life.
2) Quality - Water is the main ingredient in beer, and our water comes straight from the source (the mountains in our backyard) directly into our brewery. Combining this phenomenal water with the highest quality ingredients (malts, hops and adjunct ingredients - think Ghirardelli chocolate), we plan to craft big aggressive San Diego style beers tempered with the purity and simplicity of the Eastern Sierra. Sarah and I are very critical of the beer we drink, and with the help of some truly talented brewers as mentors we've created and brewed some very well received beers over the past couple years. Here are a couple of the more recent recipes we've brewed in June Lake on our homebrew pilot system:
- Hütte Double IPA 9.5% ABV 130 IBU - A big double IPA relying on Pale 2-Row, Carafoam and Crystal 77 for the grain bill, and Millenium, CTZ, Cascade and Nugget for the hops, along with a generous dry hopping of CTZ and Cascade. Though this beer has a lot going on, the big grain bill and resulting sugars balance out the freight train of hops like a beard on Zeus.
- StickBoy Stout 7.3% ABV 49 IBU - American style stout focused on bringing a smores flavor to the forefront with the additions of biscuit malt, Ghirardelli dark chocolate, marshmellows, vanilla beans, toasted American oak chips and cacao nibs; while still maintaining a light body and a significant hop character from a generous addition of CTZ hops.
- SmoKin Porter 4.9% ABV 52 IBU - Pale 2-Row, Crystal 77, Chocolate and Black malts combine with Peat Smoked malt and CTZ hops to make a tasty porter that's lighter on the palate than would be expected, yet still has a good hoppy character to please even the most discerning of palates.
- Sierra Scotch Ale 6.7% ABV 33 IBU - Based on the traditional Scottish Strong Ale style, this June Lake version has a pumped up hop profile composed of Fuggles and Millenium along with a hearty grain bill to provide a full flavored ale with a California twist.
- Kilmister Ginger Beer 6% ABV N/A IBU - Striving to make a non-cider gluten/dairy free alternative, we've begun experimenting with a champagne yeast fermented ginger beer. Comprised of cane sugar, honey, fresh apples, lemon juice, and a butt load of fresh ginger, this fermulation has glutards around the globe rejoicing!
- Alpers Pale Ale 6.8% ABV 33 IBU - Smooth approachable pale utilizing Pilsner as the primary malt and CTZ, Cascade, Mt. Hood and Crystal for the hoppy goodness. The Alpers Pale Ale was inspired by the Alpers trout that inhabit our local lakes (e.g., Gull Lake below), and are famous for their size and tenacity.
3) Better Business - Researching for my Master's thesis, published in the International Journal of Sustainable Society, I became painfully aware of fundamental errors with the status quo western business model. With this in mind we're committed to developing a better way to do business by responsibly sourcing our materials (voting with our dollars by working with likeminded vendors), focusing on making the highest quality product with the lowest possible impact, and reinvesting our profits in our local community, business and environment.
Who is June Lake Brewing?
Justin - I have a rather diverse background spanning everything from framing houses to keeping the marketing department running at a startup telcom that was eventually acquired by one of the largest telcoms on the planet. Most recently I dove headlong into commercial brewing with my good friends Evan Weinberg and Ross Stewart at Cismontane Brewing in Orange County. Well into their third year in business, they were kind enough to take me under their wings and teach me everything involved in running a craft brewery by having me do it. Having previously worked with Alaskan Brewing on strategic market development, and having homebrewed on and off for ~10 years, I knew the process, but working with the boys at Cismontane really provided me the necessary skills to make June Lake Brewing a reality. On the business side of the experience column I have an undergrad business degree in Management with an emphasis on Marketing, and an MSBA in Entrepreneurship from SDSU. Additionally I have 10+ years of real world experience focused primarily in entrepreneurship, small business development, strategy and marketing.
Sarah - If she was an animal she would be a brewnicorn. Apart from being the most amazing wife in the world, she's a powerhouse of knowledge, experience, love and patience. Earning a Bachelor's degree in International Business from SDSU, she has traveled the world and can honestly say June Lake is by far the best place to call home. Being reared by her parents from an early age to be an aware and focused individual, she has worked with many social and community oriented causes, raising thousands of dollars for local San Diego nonprofits. Being community focused and leading by example is what brings perpetual happiness to our BrewMatron. Currently working for a Fortune 500 company (keeping us cash flow positive), she has keen experience with program operations and project management. Oh yeah and she's worked with a couple San Diego breweries you may have heard of (i.e., Green Flash and Ballast Point).
MoJo the BrewFather - As Sarah's dad, Joe introduced Sarah to homebrewing shortly after her birth (totally not joking). With ~30 years of homebrewing under his belt, and multiple awards from homebrew competitions, Joe has been an inspiration and mentor to us every step of the way. As a member of our Board of Directors, Joe is a driving force in JLB that will keep us on track and ensure that we're producing the best beer possible.
Cismontane - As the awesome brewers and individuals they are, the crew at Cismontane have helped us every step of the way. From schooling me on commercial brewing, to helping with recipe design and trouble shooting; Cismontane is an integral part of JLB. With Evan and Ross as good friends, JLB has some solid guidance well into the future.
Bobby - As our Director of Visual Awesomeness (DVA), Robert Allen Bradford brings our obscure conceptual creations to visual reality. With a background involving everything from historical documentation of action sports shreddery to big time commercial film production, Bobby is a one man visual experience making machine. As a longtime friend, and June Lake resident, Bobby intimately understands what JLB is all about and is supremely qualified to bring our vision to the world through his visual wizardry.
June Lake Brewing Collective
The fine group of superb individuals that have helped make this dream a reality are the June Lake Brewing Collective. Comprised of local June Lakers, and close personal friends from our original home in San Diego, the JLB Collective keep us inline and ensure we don't lose sight of why we started down this road in the first place: to make AWESOME BEER IN JUNE LAKE! As the original TestPilot Crew, they represent what June Lake Brewing is and hold permanent TestPilot membership. Here's a couple pics for your visual pleasure.
Risks and challenges
1) Cash Flow - As a startup business in an industry that requires a lot of upfront capital investment before any revenue can be realized, June Lake Brewing will be required to diligently manage available capital with realistic cash flow expectations. With a background in small business development I have experience budgeting and projecting accurate revenue streams for startup businesses. With the assistance of a small business accountant/bookkeeper experienced in the craft brewing industry, we're confident we will be able to overcome the inherent cash flow issues June Lake Brewing will face.
2) Legal and Regulatory - Though California is a relatively easy state to obtain a microbrewery license in, any business that's involved in alcohol sales and production faces many legal and regulatory concerns. From use permits with the County, to State and Federal alcohol licenses, there are a lot of regulatory hurdles to overcome. With this in mind we've retained the services of a craft beer attorney to help guide us through the legal maze ahead of us. Though we're confident we will be able to get everything taken care of, it may take us longer than we initially planned, which would delay the opening of June Lake Brewing, and subsequently delay the fulfillment for some of our indicated rewards.
3) Seasonality - Though June Lake receives an estimated 458,000* annual tourist visits (*according to the Mono County 2008 Economic Development and Special Report Study), our permanent year round population in June Lake is closer to 600. That being said our primary revenue stream will be from tourists passing through June Lake, and direct distribution to local communities like Mammoth Lakes (1,532,000* annual tourist visits) and Lee Vining (754,000* annual tourist visits). With two main tourist seasons (summer fishing/hiking/Yosemite and winter skiing), it will be critical to properly manage our production and cash flow to anticipate these ups and downs. Working closely with Mono County Tourism, we've been able to chart out what we feel is a realistic sales cycle for our first three years, and we will adjust projections on an ongoing basis.
4) Timing and Ambiguity - There's a saying among entrepreneurs that when starting any business, it will take at least twice as long and cost four times as much as anticipated. Realizing this, and having experienced it with other startups, we feel we're being realistic in our timing and budgeting. That being said any one thing could push out the opening of June Lake Brewing beyond what we've planned, which would delay the fulfillment for some of our indicated rewards. Also a major issue with any startup is the ability to change plans and direction as the situation dictates. For instance we may have to change some of the particulars of our planned system to conform to our chosen location if we encounter an unforeseen issue during remodel and build-out. We're confident that we'll be able to overcome any issues that arrive and change direction accordingly. A very successful entrepreneur once told me that "a business plan is just an initial guess of where you're going and how you will get there, and if you're not ready to adapt you will fail". We plan to not only adapt, but to thrive.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (25 days)