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Los Angeles start-up breweries look to crowd funding

March 15, 2013|By John Verive
  • Los Angeles Aleworks is one of several Southern California breweries seeking backing via Kickstarter and other crowd-funding sites.
Los Angeles Aleworks is one of several Southern California breweries seeking… (John Verive )

After millions of dollars were pledged just the first day of a record-breaking Kickstarter campaign for a "Veronica Mars" feature film, the popularity of crowd-funding services is sure to soar.

Services such as Indiegogo and Kickstarter have already found popularity in the Los Angeles craft-beer community as brewers, would-be brewers and bar owners turn to crowd funding to overcome their dreams' initial financial hurdles.

The last year has been big for brewery crowd-funding projects, but although many entrepreneurs across the country completed successful campaigns to start brewing or expand their operations, Los Angeles-area brewers were having difficulty gaining support for their Kickstarter projects.

L.A. River Brewing Co., Villains Brewing, MacLeod Ale Brewing Co. and Zombie Brewing Co. all had Kickstarter campaigns that did not receive enough pledges to successfully fund in the last year.

That pattern may be changing: Two new breweries have run successful campaigns over the last month. The campaign for Alosta Brewing Co. funded this week after the San Gabriel Valley-based start-up saw more than $20,000 in pledges from nearly 150 backers. Alosta Brewing is planning to open its Covina taproom in May.

After debuting its first commercial beer at bars across the city, Los Angeles Aleworks is in the final days of its Kickstarter campaign, nearing a goal of $35,000 with more than 300 backers.

We asked Kristopher Barnes, one of the partners behind L.A. Aleworks, what it takes to run a successful Kickstarter campaign,  and he stressed the need for preparation and dedication to the fundraiser:

"We prepared well before the launch of the Kickstarter, campaigned and raised awareness months before the Kickstarter ever started. [We] reached out to the community to become as involved as humanly possible. When you ask for support from the community, it's based on karma. I think people see that we really care about the L.A. beer community, not just our own brewery. We want to be involved, we want to stay involved and we want to help others succeed as well."

This sense of community among the brewers and the beer drinkers is the X-factor for those looking to raise money via crowd funding. Fans of craft beer are a passionate and dedicated bunch, and supporting a new brewery through crowd-funding campaigns is an immediate way for them to help the community grow.

As the popularity of craft beer from Los Angeles reaches levels seen in other California communities, expect to see even more breweries look to Kickstarter and other crowd-funding options to get their dreams off the ground or expand their current operations.

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