Well, friends.....we made a valiant attempt. And we can't thank you enough. Your pledges raised a hell of a lot of money for the L.A. River Brewing Company.....unfortunately (barring someone going beer-crazy and pledging $40 grand in the next 6 hours), it doesn't look like our Kickstarter is going to be funded on this go-round. But do not fret, fans of craft beer: it was certainly NOT all for naught. The publicity we received due to our campaign, and due to the extraordinary generosity shown by all of our backers, has been more beneficial than we ever could have hoped: we started as a little-known group of brewers and friends who had a big dream, and we've finished our 60-day fundraising effort as an up-and-coming Los Angeles brewery that people are talking about and excited to follow. Keep an eye on our Facebook page, our Twitter feed (follow us at @LARiverBrewCo), and our website; exciting things are happening, and we can't wait to share them with all of you.
We wanted to take this opportunity to talk a little bit about our Kickstarter, and answer some questions that many of you have posed over the course of our 60-day campaign. The first one, which is also the most-often asked and probably the most obvious, is "Why did you guys go for such a lofty fundraising goal at $75,000?" There are really two parts to that answer. The first one is simple: we were the first brewery project in Los Angeles to attempt a fundraising effort via Kickstarter. We were testing the waters. We'd seen successful brewery campaigns in much smaller markets raise $30-$40K, so we didn't feel that a $75K goal was out of reach here in the City of Angels. There was really no barometer for a project of our scope....and since our personalities as brewers and friends has always been about taking chances and aiming high, we embraced the challenge of being the first L.A. brewery to try to raise a whole-damn-bunch of Kickstarter money. But the second part of the answer is the much more important part: we wanted to ensure that if we met our fundraising goal, we could actually DO something with the money we'd raised. Would it be great to cash in on the $35,000 worth of pledges our incredibly generous backers have put together on our behalf? Of course it would. $35,000 is still a whole-damn-bunch of money. But the reality is that $35,000, based on our current business model and investment structure, wouldn't really do much toward actually opening the doors of the brewery and tap-room we've been working so hard to try to create in L.A. We set out with the purpose of taking each and every dollar from each and every backer seriously, whether you pledged one dollar or thousands of them. We felt, and still feel, like we owed it to you guys to ensure that if we took your money, we could show you a product. We're pretty sure that darn near all of you would actually prefer that we were able to keep the money you've pledged, and we can't tell you how thankful we are - but we're passionate about you seeing a value in and return on your pledges. $75K made sense in that regard - by the time Kickstarter and Amazon fees were taken out, and after we'd spent some of that pledge money to supply you with all of the rewards we'd promised, we felt that we'd still have enough between your pledges and our other fundraising efforts to make this thing happen. We were (and still are) hopeful that we can do this on the big scale we've been aiming for, but we were (and still are) positive that we could get going on a smaller scale with $75K if we decided to change course and go the bootstrap route. It would give us the flexibility to evaluate our position and take some real steps toward bringing more great, local craft beer to Los Angeles. Which leads to the second question: What's next for the LARBC?
The answer is, a LOT. The publicity we've gotten from our Kickstarter has been amazing, and it's opened a ton of doors for our company. It's made us a visible brand. It's generated interest from a number of potential investors. It's gotten people talking about us, and even more importantly, it's helped push the conversation about craft beer and local product in L.A. We can't make any guarantees about HOW you'll see us in the coming months.....but we can definitely guarantee that you WILL.
And the last question: "Have you guys thought about pivoting and trying to start on a smaller scale?" The answer is Yes. Absolutely. We all love brewing and the world of craft beer so much, that our target up until this point has been to get out of our day-gigs and do this as a full-time endeavor. We're still aiming for that. But we're also so passionate about our product, and so eager to share it with all of you who have supported us (many of you without ever actually drinking a sip of LARBC beer), that we've definitely discussed scaling back the big plans in favor of being able to release the product sooner. So don't be surprised if you see another LARBC Kickstarter in the coming months - hopefully, we'll garner your support again if we decide to come at this thing from another angle.
In the meantime, like we mentioned before, become our Facebook friends if you haven't already. Follow our Twitter. Bookmark our website and read the blog. And be on the lookout for weekly YouTube installments that should be coming soon.....
Oh....and DEFINITELY support our friends Kip and John from another upstart brewery called L.A. Aleworks - their Kickstarter should be launching mid-February. They're incredibly nice guys and they make killer beer. Meaning the beer is good....not that it will kill you. They also write an awesome beer blog at www.bierkast.com - if you love craft beer and you're not reading it, you should be.
Thanks again to each and every one of you for supporting the L.A. River Brewing Company. Here's to Local. Robust. Beer.
With overwhelming gratitude -
Ryan, Constance, Tanner, and Jessica