Over the past 6 months Brews News has received at least one request to promote a crowd funding scheme covering everything from a “precision tool for your perfectly crafted beers” aka a bottle opener to “a draft system that serves any beer, fresh from the tap, anywhere you want it”. We also recently received a release about the “world’s first smartphone-controlled home-brewing machine“. Today we received an announcement from Yeastie Boys advising that next year they will be crowd funding expansion into Europe.
I have mixed feelings about the whole crowd funding thing. On one hand, it is an excellent way for new, small and non-traditional businesses to leverage the consumer demand and passion for what they are doing. On the other hand, there is an element of hype and hubris creeping in to the craft beer world that, when combined with a new, loosely regulated funding model, has the potential for disaster for some. With Yeastie Boys’ Stu McKinlay being a great observer of the craft industry and always willing to have a frank chat, Yeastie Boys announcement seemed a great chance to chat about Zen and the art of crowd funding.
If you’re interested in crowd funding, and especially investing in Yeastie Boys, here’s some background to them and their campaign and crowd funding of beer in general…
Metabrewery Seeks Backing Vocalists For World Changing Gig (Yeastie Boys)
The Social Brew Work (All About Beer Magazine)
BrewDog – Fill your boots! (Referenced in the conversation)
Yeastie Boys set to sell a piece of their pie
Visionary New Zealand brewers – the Yeastie Boys – today announced a highly anticipated sale of shares in their business. From January 28th, friends and fans of Yeastie Boys’ deliciously irreverent ales will be able to buy a piece of the world famous brewing company via an equity crowdfunding campaign on PledgeMe. The capital raised will be used for the development of Yeastie Boys’ production in Britain and sales across Europe.
Following Yeastie Boys success at the Wetherspoon’s International Real Ale Festival in early 2014, an event that saw their beer in front of a million people in more than 900 pubs across Britain, the brewing duo have decided to launch a focussed European campaign by brewing in Britain. The Yeastie Boys second shipment to Britain has just left New Zealand but brewing in Britain will be more sustainable, cutting 25% off their price to market and 6-8 weeks off their lead times for orders.
“We’d already thought of brewing in Britain and locked in a Scottish brewery while we were over there in February” said Directive Creator Sam Possenniskie, “but the fact that our first shipment from New Zealand sold out before it even made it halfway to Britain just pushed our decision forward.”
”The rise of new world styles in Britain, especially in the major cities, is phenomenal” says Stu McKinlay, Yeastie Boys’ Creative Director, “we’re starting to see a very similar pattern of market fragmentation in the UK to what we’ve seen in the USA, over the last two decades, and more recently in New Zealand and Australia. Traditional beer styles, brewed in giant factories, are in slow decline but new world styles are growing rapidly. They’re exciting beers, which sell as much on flavour as they do on brand, and that fits with what we’ve seen in wine, slow food, coffee and other similar areas. It’s a movement rather than a trend and our beers are at the forefront of it.”
While Yeastie Boys have been approached by many potential investors over the years, they’d always been interested in growing their business with people who have a passion for the product – not just the market potential. The emergence of equity crowdfunding finally made their dream a reality.
“Institutional investors would call this dumb money but we call it love money” says Stu McKinlay, “We’re looking for people who we want to high-five acnd hug at our AGM rather than people who simply want us to make them more paper. It all looks a bit new age but, in reality, it’s a technologically assisted step back to the traditional ways that businesses started – friends, family and a whole lot of passionate people who actually want to make the world a better place while they drink great beer and make a few dollars.”
Yeastie Boys plan to raise the capital at the end of January 2015, with the production in Britain planned for April 2015. New Zealand beer lovers will be pleased to know that the move into Europe does not signal a halt in Yeastie Boys’ operations at home.
“We’re still basing everything out of New Zealand with the same lean business model in Britain” said Stu McKinlay, who will set up operations in the northern hemisphere. “New Zealand will always be the home of Yeastie Boys, we’ve still got big plans for Asia, Australia and New Zealand over the next few years. I’ll be back before most people even realise I’m gone!”
About Yeastie Boys:
Yeastie Boys is an award-winning Wellington-based brewing company, without their own brewery, who brew super-premium and deliciously irreverent ales all over the world (from Suffolk, through Boston and Adelaide, to Invercargill). The brainchild of Stu McKinlay and Sam Possenniskie – two of New Zealand’s leading beer activists and visionaries – the Yeastie Boys have been picking up trophies, poking their tongues out at convention, and receiving critical acclaim since their launch in 2008.
The Yeastie Boys are leftfield enough to be one of the few breweries who regularly receive hate mail (for their infamous Rex Attitude) but are pleased to report they occasionally receive love letters too! Their beers are available in New Zealand, Australia, USA, Malaysia, Hong Kong, China, Japan, New Caledonia, Norway, Scotland and England.
PledgeMe (www.pledgeme.co.nz) provides a platform for Kiwis to go to their networks for funding, and have raised almost $3 million for over 700 campaigns in the past two years. PledgeMe are the only combined equity and project crowdfunding platform in the world.