Madison brewers want to raise $150K with Operation: Launch Rocket Republic Brewing Co.
October 20, 2014
AL.com / Alabama Business News / Madison, AL - A lot has changed at the 9,400-square-foot building in Madison where Rocket Republic Brewing Co. plans to launch a new production facility and taproom for craft beer lovers. Since late June, owner Eric Crigger, wife Tatum, and business partners, John and Lynn Troy, have installed a massive walk-in cooler and moved their kegerators, shelves, chairs and tables around to resemble the brewery it will become in just a few short weeks. While Rocket Republic is still on target to open on 289 Production Ave. near FedEx by the end of the year, Crigger said they encountered several unexpected challenges with the infrastructure and have had to work with engineers, Huntsville Utilities and other governing agencies to make sure the building was upgraded properly. To help with the costs of buildout, Rocket Republic recently joined a growing number of businesses that have turned to online crowdfunding to make their dreams a reality. Rocket Republic hopes to raise $150,000 in the next 24 days, but Crigger said the business is in no way "dependent on the success of meeting the campaign funding goal." "Not meeting our goal changes nothing," he said. "We are fully funded. The idea of the campaign was to integrate our fans into the process in a fun way and if we can pay down some debt in the process, even better. They're not just fans; they can be citizens of the Republic." Exclusive swag So far, the Indiegogo campaign has brought in more than $2,400 from 23 contributors. Rocket Republic, which recently partnered with Mr. Beer to develop a Pro Brewer's Series kit using its Astronut Brown Ale recipe, is offering those kits as an incentive to contributors for donating to the campaign. Tatum said they're taking that collaboration another step forward by offering 12 limited-edition small-batch beers in 2015 that correspond with the names of the 12 zodiac signs. "Each citizen will have a say as to what ingredients/flavors go into their birthday month/zodiac constellation beer, and whatever Constellation beer becomes our most popular, will be turned into another recipe with Mr. Beer for the consumers to buy and make at home, just like they did with our Astronut Brown," she said. "As a brewery we're strong, healthy and continue to grow. There are wins every week that those of us behind the brewery enjoy." Tatum said all contributors will receive a Rocket Republic passport, which entitles them to 50-percent off discounts during their birth month. Limited-edition "Operation: Launch Rocket Republic" T-shirts, beer glasses, coasters, koozies, tap handles and more are also available as "perks" to those who donate to the crowdfunding effort. Tatum said there are opportunities for special invites to a private tasting and tour prior to the grand opening, and a chance to win a private VIP room experience with flights of Rocket Republic beer. Crowdfunding bandwagon The U.S. Space & Rocket Center, Nexus Energy Center, High Brow Cold Brew and Honeypie Bakery are a few Huntsville organizations and businesses that have successfully raised money through crowdfunding sites in recent months. Crigger said he and his wife never considered crowdfunding until a weeks ago when a fan suggested it. When Tatum learned the well-established Stone Brewing Co. in California launched a campaign to pre-sell some unique collaboration beers, Crigger said "she ran with it." "She did the research and spent a good deal of time assessing the idea," he said. " ... There are dozens of examples, we found, on all sorts of crowdfunding sites. By my count, we're the third Huntsville brewery to launch a crowdfunding campaign for various purposes, certainly not the first." Crigger, an IT professional and Michigan native, developed a love for craft brewing after receiving a Mr. Beer kit for Father's Day more than a decade ago. He later attended Chicago's Siebel Institute of Technology, the oldest brewing school in the U.S. Crigger, who moved to Huntsville about 11 years ago, said the response has been tremendous since Rocket Republic began operating as a contract brewery last fall. "As a brewery we're strong, healthy and continue to grow," he said. "There are wins every week that those of us behind the brewery enjoy. Whether it's the Mr. Beer collaboration or an email from a stranger lauding our Peanut Butter AstroNut, it's been highly rewarding to know that the effort I've personally put into this is not for nothing." TO CHECK OUT THE CAMPAIGN: Visit tinyurl.com/qc3tv5g. News article originally posted at: http://www.al.com/business/index.ssf/2014/10/madison_brewers_wants_to_raise.html