New Bemidji Brewing Company Hopes for a “Kickstart”
Every so often, something new comes along that really gets us excited to be a part of the craft beer community. We have an expanding craft beer market in Minnesota as more people are looking for high quality, locally produced beer. Today’s announcement marks an important step in the vision for our friend Tom Hill as he is joining his new Bemidji Brewing Company as head brewer.
Bemidji Brewing Company today announced their strategy to fund and build their microbrewery in northern Minnesota. They are beginning a 60-day fundraising effort through Kickstarter to secure a nano-brewing system. We have included their press release below, and we look forward to sharing more about the new venture in the near future.
Fresh, local craft beer. This is what the founders of the up-and-coming Bemidji Brewing Company hope to bring to Bemidji and northern Minnesota. But starting a brewery, even something as small as a microbrewery, comes with a hefty price tag, and in tough economic times, these young entrepreneurs are getting creative to source their start-up funds. Bemidji Brewing’s founders, Tom Hill, Tina Hanke, and Justin “Bud” Kaney are utilizing several grassroots start-up and funding strategies: from starting with a very small “nano” system of 25 gallons of beer per batch and renting space at a commercial kitchen, to looking to raise funds via online fundraising campaigns.“The state of Minnesota is experiencing a craft beer boom–from the increased consumer awareness to the exciting number of new breweries opening, craft beer is no longer something for the coasts or big cities,”says head brewer and Bemidji State Alum Tom Hill, “people everywhere are looking for a high-quality beer that is made locally.” This demand, especially in northern Minnesota, is what Bemidji Brewing hopes to quench. “In order for us to bring fresh, local craft beer to Bemidji and northern Minnesota, we hope to launch a pilot brewing system, basically a very small-scale system that will allow us to serve a few local accounts,” says Tina Hanke, one of the few female brewery founders in Minnesota.“Then, when we have documented sales and demand data we will be able to approach more traditional capital raising entities such as banks and investors to build a larger production brewery.”However, building even a small pilot brewing system is a pricey endeavor, so the founders are looking to the community to help make it happen. They are launching an online “Kickstarter” campaign that will run for 60 days in hopes of raising the $15,000 goal the founders have set to help cover the costs of securing a small brewing system. According to the Kickstarter.com website, “Kickstarter is the world’s largest funding platform for creative projects.” The concept is simple: someone with a creative project submits an online project campaign through Kickstarter and then folks can go online to view and donate to the project. If, and only if, the project meets its goal amount, is the project funded and the donors charged. It’s all or nothing. This is where the Bemidji Brewing Company is looking to local communities and northern Minnesota: to help them meet their $15,000 goal by Sunday, January 22, 2012. Bud Kaney, also a BSU Alum, stresses the founders’ commitment to providing locals with fresh, high-quality craft beer, and their hopes of having a production brewery and taproom in Bemidji someday where folks from all backgrounds can enjoy the community aspect of craft beer.“For us, beer is more than just a beverage, it’s a passion, and we look forward to sharing it with our friends and neighbors.”To learn more about Bemidji Brewing Company, its founders, and their Kickstarter campaign, visit: http://bemidjibeer.com. You can meet the founders, and chat about the Brewery at their fist public event on Friday, December 2, 2011 from 4-7pm when they present a one-night art show entitled “Beer: Beyond Taste” hosted by KD Floral and Gardens, located at 325 Minnesota Ave in downtown Bemidji.
Update: We are including a link to the Bemidji Brewing Company’s Kickstarter campaign.