How I raised $1.25 million to start my brewery

on 18/09/12 at 10:05 am

Booze News

I have finally, mercifully raised the money I will need to start my brewery, Modern Times Beer. As you’d expect, I’m incredibly excited and relieved, but the process of making it happen wasn’t at all what I expected.

If you love raising money, you probably do it for a living. For the rest of us, it’s not exactly a blast wave of glee. I’ve never heard anyone enthuse about the exhausting pitches, endless pleas for checks, or non-stop negotiating it takes to raise capital.

In the interest of helping other passionate beer geeks navigate the strange world of fundraising, I offer these hard-won lessons from my experience successfully financing Modern Times.

How Much Is Enough?

The first problem is figuring out how much capital you will need to build a brewery, hire the proper amount of employees, produce outstanding beer, distribute that beer and survive – all without asking your existing investors for more money or diluting their equity. This is necessarily an inexact science, and the number must be computed by determining what you need, what you can use, and how much you can realistically raise. Even if you do a ton of research, as I did, these variables will still be moving targets: the cost of buildings, equipment and ingredients will change; the opportunities will change; and the fundraising landscape will change, sometimes in dramatically unexpected ways.

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