The final class session of the Barley to Barrel program was focused on Funding and Investing. A brewery is an expensive proposition and we wanted to demonstrate that there are many funding options.
To open the class, we were joined, via videoconference, by Mike Schroeder and Zach Nichols of Sanitas Brewing Co., both located in Colorado. Zach is one of three founders of Sanitas and Mike was one of the early investors. The pair walked us through their brewery planning process, we discussed the needs and interests of investors and even their investment structure. It was a fascinating look at how you can raise money from friends and family to start and grow a brewery.
After the team from Colorado signed off, we heard from Ryan Schildkraut and David Dupee on how to organize and structure your brewery and also how to fund it properly. Ryan and David discussed a variety of funding options and walked through the pros and cons of each. David also explained the CraftFund equity-crowdfunding portal available to Wisconsin businesses and Wisconsin investors. One of the first companies to come through that portal is Mobcraft!
The third presentation of the night was Sal Strehlow, who presented on the organization Fund Milwaukee. Sal explained how an intrepid group of Milwaukee residents is working to improve the business climate at the ground level. They have done a great job supporting small, local businesses and there is definitely an opportunity to pitch a brewery at one of their monthly meetings.
The moral of the story is that you should be creative. Not every brewery has the same financial needs and each financing structure will be different. There are a lot of opportunities to find investment, whether it be from a bank, from friends and family, or from the community. Its vital to select the funding method that matches your brewery’s needs.