This part of starting a brewery involves no glamour, lots of rejection, and takes a thick skin. Most importantly, looking for investors takes patience. Sometimes, the last thing I want to do is is take time away from the Brand Guide, Business Plan or other more ‘fun’ projects (OK I’ll say it, liquid research) to focus on this. There seems to be a lot of people interested to know more, but to have ongoing discussions with them, means reducing the number of people who actually want to make an investment.
You see sharing your business plan, and your thoughts on everything from Marketing to Financials is like exposing your inner-most thoughts on business and branding. Inevitably, we all have different viewpoints on these items, so there are things about my business plan that some people jive with, and other parts that turn people off our business. Likely, if you are reading this blog you are a fan of craft beer; so explaining the market, how it’s growing and what the future holds is easy …. like selling candy to a kid.
However, about 75% of investors that read my plan don’t know a lot about craft beer. For instance, they think Granville Island or Sierra Nevada is craft, have never heard of many of the smaller craft brewers, and don’t seek out establishments that cater to craft beer. Some investors have even approached the business plan from a pure business standpoint. They ask, “Why wouldn’t you brew more beer, sell it cheaper, market the crap out of it, and have higher sales?” As you can imagine, this is not what I have in mind for my brewery! #FollowMyDreams
Most of all, you are asking mostly friends and family to invest their money in your dream. This simple fact means that people start out skeptical in the first place. We all know someone who is offering some multi-level marketing investment, or someone else who is selling diet pills or a weight loss plan. Personally, I find this annoying, especially when its very in-your-face. Also, people work hard for their money, and there is nothing worse that pissing your money away on a bad investment. All of these things stick in my mind when I ask people to part with their hard earned money.
The net sum has been very positive. I feel lucky to be based in Vancouver with this dream, as craft beer is bigger here than most any other place in Canada. From a Canadian perspective, craft beer in BC is very sophisticated and has set the standard for many years now. The Canadian Brewing Awards is littered with BC breweries winning gold medals over the past 5 years. I just have to keep reminding myself that this opportunity is not for everyone. I have also learned to take the feedback that people give me as not a personal attack, but ways to make our business and prospects for success better. Ok, sometimes people are just jerks, but thankfully they are in the minority here. Most people just can’t afford to drop $25,000 on something like this …. living in Vancouver is expensive.
As of today, we have raised over $1 million dollars towards starting this dream. When I really step back and think about that number, it is a LOT of cash. Depending on the space we lease, and the retrofit cost involved in making the space suitable for brewing, we will likely need another $200,000 to be fully financed. I hope that we can find this money within the next few months, as the thought of being so close to connecting with all the investors we need is both motivating and exciting.
I am always open to comments, support and help from anyone and everyone in making my dream of a craft brewery become a reality. If you happen to have any advice, thoughts on anything about the industry, or any other insights on anything to do with starting a business, please feel free to pass them along.
Thanks for reading this post ….