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Beer Church Brewing Co.

New Buffalo is only beach town along Lake Michigan without a brewery.
Craft Beer New Buffalo, Michigan

Financial Summary

Beer Church Brewing Co. is not currently fundraising.

Previous Fundraise Summary

Security Type Revenue share
Minimum Investment $500
Investor Eligibility All Investors

Previous Fundraise Activity

$50,000 raised
This business has $50,000 committed from 16 investors.
Target $50 k


Funding Plans & History

Offering Materials

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Business Plan

The question is clearly not whether New Buffalo, MI, can support its own local brewpub; the question is which concept is worthy of the New Buffalo market which has the potential to drive tremendous demand for a high quality brewpub destination.

Our Beer Church Brewing Co. concept is the answer. Beer Church pours only inside Beer Church proper or outside in good weather in our pastoral Beer Church Gardens, keeping the boutique, small batch, fresh, local, and rare libations a destination experience similar to anticipating the blue horizon of Lake Michigan popping into view only as one drives far enough into town (the first contact of which, by chance, happens to begin at the horizon of Beer Church itself). Of course, there is business method to such Beer Church rarity: beer is most profitable poured closest to the brewing source, and ours will come straight from the 7 cooling bright tanks on display in the pulpit, having just been brewed fresh in the basement below. All of our beers are poured for our guests at a 40+% margin tank-to-tulip-glass via this strategy.

Yet (and this is where most craft brewers fail to fully monetize their market potential), beer will only ever top out at 34% of revenues in a full year of operations at Beer Church. The same captive audience that likely travelled for the boutique, small batch, fresh, local, and rare libations will equally be seduced gastronomically by the boutique, small batch, fresh, local, and rare Neapolitan pizzas cooking in under 90 seconds in the 1000° authentic wood-fired oven. Famed Italian pizzaiolo Roberto Caporuscio, he of world-renowned Keste on Bleecker St. NYC and Don Antonio Atlanta fame (to say nothing of Serious Pie Seattle and The Good Pie St. Louis, both of which he helped birth in a consulting model) will be the Beer Church consultant charged with constructing our oven. Neapolitan style pizza is crafted with the finest ingredients—Caputo flour, San Marzano tomatoes, and buffalo mozzarella cheese. The individual-sized pizzas measure a diameter of 11 inches, are slightly charred which adds a new layer of flavor and texture, and are typically eaten with a knife and fork. Our church ensures a spectacle with roaring fire all day and night next to the 7 bright beer tanks pouring on the pulpit center stage for all to see.

The unit economics of our individual-sized-only authentic Neapolitan pizzas will carry a $5 cost to make, and sell for $16, accounting for our highest revenue generator at a consistent 40%, first eclipsing the $1M mark alone in the Fall of Year 4. For the sake of efficiency, because it makes business sense, and because they are the same boutique, small batch, fresh, local, and rare ingredients that our customers would want on a small plate, our Small Plate selections will be driven by our pizza offerings: the burrata made fresh daily in our kitchen, for example, would comprise the cheese for our pizzas but also make for a luxurious Small Plate, swimming in authentic olive oil from our friend Pierluigi’s hillside orchard in Tuscany—or, in another example, the Kobe Wagu beef cuts that flavor a Kobe Pizza would also make for a juicy, delectable Small Plate, scorched for a few seconds just prior in the wood-fire. Our Small Plates will contribute 25% of the revenues at a consistent 50% margin.

The star of the show, however, may always be Beer Church itself. Our location will be the iconic Civil War era church lovingly overlooking downtown New Buffalo, Michigan, its white bell-tower spire unmistakable from all major roads leading into the resort city. Our planned restoration will include: importing towering, colorful 17th Century European stained glass to replace the church’s current reduced, opaque panes; restoring to original Civil War glory the staggering height and sheer beauty of the wood truss ceiling; reclaiming local wood to gracefully adorn the current wallpapered, very tall walls; pulling up the carpet to reveal and restore the original wood plank flooring; and transforming the pulpit into a stage flanked by the aforementioned 7 stainless steel craft beer tanks and massive, roaring wood fire oven. A stark juxtaposition will be struck by high-modern, eclectic furnishings to help convey the art that is eating and drinking well.

A most pastoral setting adjacent to the church will become Beer Church Gardens, with the green of the grass shadowed by the freshly whitened exterior of the church, allowing one to refresh oneself outdoors while gazing at four of the tall, ancient stained glass windows and the sideview of the cupola that keeps watch over the lake. Here too a contrast will be provided by high-modern outdoor furnishings upon green grass, complemented by an art installation gas fire pit, a modern outdoor bar, and modern outdoor sculpture.

Our Founders, a Notre Dame Law Professor and the Chairman of a Forrester Top 20 Digital Marketing Agency, having spent the previous decade circling the globe in search of the world’s finest wood fire Neapolitan pizzas and small batch handcrafted beers, are planning to invest $400,000 in the project.

See the initial press we've received:

What market(s) are you in?

Our brewpub concept will be located downtown New Buffalo, Michigan. We'll be focused on serving our products on-site to our guests who will come via the active vacation demographic, neighboring markets of Northwest Indiana, South Bend/Mishawaka, and Chicago, and local residents. Currently there is no locally focused brew pub and we feel that the market demographics more than support the growth of our plan.

Who are your competitors?

Restaurant Competitors

1. Brewster’s Italian Cafe: Brewster’s purports to serve wood-fired pizza, but there are several differences between their product and our planned product. First, Brewster’s is styled as a more formal Italian restaurant, serving traditional style Italian food. While their pizza oven may be wood-fired, it is not a true Neapolitan style. Brewster’s pizza is cooked at a much lower temperature and the dough is more of a cracker style than the spongy char of a Neapolitan crust. Further, Brewster’s does not brew its own beer and has a limited selection of craft beer.

2. Villa Nova Pizzeria: This is a typical carry out pizza restaurant. Villa Nova serves up Sicilian style pizza right out of the old country—a style that is very different than Neapolitan pizza. Villa Nova’s pizzas are thin crust and come in a variety of sizes. Patrons seeking fresh craft beer and Neapolitan style pizza would not visit Villa Nova Pizzeria.

3. Stray Dog: The Stray Dog is a very popular restaurant and bar in New Buffalo. It has a full bar service and also serves craft beer. Its food menu is very diverse and includes everything from fish tacos, to burgers, to pizza. It has a rooftop deck for outdoor dining. The Stray Dog, however, is not a good option for patrons seeking fresh craft beer and Neapolitan style pizza.

4. Casey’s Bar and Grill: Casey’s is a long-time New Buffalo standby restaurant that serves up items such as burgers, perch, and chicken. It has a limited selection of craft beer. Patrons seeking fresh craft beer and Neapolitan style pizza would not visit Casey’s.

5. Stop 50 Pizzeria: Stop 50 Pizzeria is located in Michiana Shores, Indiana and it is the closest in style to our pizza. It is Neapolitan style, cooked wood fired over a 900 degree flame. While Stop 50 pizza is very good, patrons will prefer coming to our restaurant because we will have a greater variety of toppings and specialty pizzas. We will offer fresh burrata and bufalino cheese as topping options. Further, we will have more outdoor seating than Stop 50. Finally, while Stop 50 does have a few craft beers in bottles, they do not have any craft beer on tap.

Brewery Competitors

1. Greenbush Brewing Co.: Greenbush is located in Sawyer, Michigan. Greenbush has an extensive list of beers all brewed on site. They also feature BBQ food items and sandwiches. Although Greenbush is a good option for persons seeking craft beer, it is located 12 miles away from New Buffalo.

2. Shoreline Brewing Co.: Shoreline is located in Michigan City, Indiana. It has a large selection of beers brewed on site, and a varied food menu. It serves burgers, fish and chips, and sandwiches. Its beer is not highly rated by beer aficionados. Shoreline is also located approximately 12 miles away from New Buffalo.

What is your product development timeline?

We are expecting to begin initial operations including opening of our beer garden in early Summer of 2016.

Provide us with some background on your products and services.

The restaurant operations process begins with Italian specialty suppliers secured through the Roberto Caporuscio consulting relationship, allowing for delivery of fresh produce, meats, cheeses and other ingredients specific to true Neapolitan style pizza, though supplemented by local fresh produce, meats, and cheeses where quality, timing, pricing, and availability prove superior. A working blend of such is what will ultimately become our inventory, which we expect will be as fresh as possible, with a turnover every 4 days.

We will spend time preparing our inventory each morning before we open; we will make our own sauce from imported San Marzano tomatoes, make our own dough using  imported Captuto “00” flour to VPN specifications, employing a 1-5 day cold rise, and slice all the ingredients fresh. All the food that gets prepped will go to the make line for the day, ready to quickly become pizza or small plates. Upon order, the pizzas will be made quickly, hand tossed, and placed in our special wood fire oven. Small plates will similarly be assembled for quick scorching in the wood fire oven. Once cooked in 90 seconds in all instances, our servers will bring our customers their food.

We believe our operations will add value in our customers’ eyes because they will be able to view the spectacle of the pizza and small plate production process fresh from start to finish, culminating in the majesty of the wood fire. They will see the effort, the hand tossed dough, and the fresh ingredients, which go into their pizza or small plates. Our process is made to be watched and experienced where other places simply give you a quick slice or plate. Our process also involves using our inventory efficiently to keep food fresh and freshly prepared while other restaurants use highly processed ingredients, sauce from concentrate and generic recipes, along with frozen dough. During our first year of operations, we will serve an average of 9 pizzas and 11 small plates per hour.

The beer brewing process will be more behind-the-scenes, led by our head brewer, though the 7 bright beer cooling tanks that flank the pulpit behind the bar will speak of the freshness of the beer to be poured straight from the source, having been brewed just below in the basement in our 5 bbl system. The brewer we hire will bring existing hops and yeast suppliers relationships that are expected to turn weekly and grow from an initially one-to-two brews per week schedule, allowing for 7 beers on tap at all times. During our first year of operations, we will pour an average of 17 beers per hour.

Our brewery restaurant will seat 75 people inside and 75 people outside for a total of 150 capacity, and we expect to serve an average of 17 guests per hour in a Noon to Midnight schedule, which will require an 11% capacity average April through October and 23% November through March. We are expecting the special seasonality of New Buffalo (4X in-season to off-season per Habor County Chamber of Commerce) to build enough overage in high season to offset higher capacity needs during off-season, though our study of Stray Dog and Marina Grand Resort off-season capacities assure us that even 23% off-season is not outsized, especially considering the unique nature of our brewery and pizzeria.

How do you market your product or service?

One of our owners, John Lustina, is the owner of a 16-year Forrester Top 20 organic search specialist agency that provides SEO, social media, mobile and digital strategy to long-term clients including Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts, Honda, American Express, and QVC. John has built up an invaluable network of clients over the years, including several food service companies and restaurants, including ART Restaurant Seattle, Deca Restaurant + Bar Chicago, and TRIO Restaurant Austin, among many others, whose products he has helped brand, bring to market, and successfully market. We expect that his strategic influence here will be invaluable.

Clearly, this is not just another restaurant. Nor just another another brewery. And not only unique in New Buffalo, but unique in the world. Ultimately word-of-mouth, outdoor and print advertising, Chicago and Detroit radio promotions, and social media will attract new visitors to what will become a new destination in New Buffalo, and the city will also benefit from the additional publicity afforded by the restoration of the historic church building. 

Provide detail on your hiring plans

Key members that will be joining the team are a Head Brewer with at least 3 years head brewing experience and a seasoned restaurant Executive Chef, and General Manager.

The General Manager will be responsible for the day-to-day operations of the business, including hiring, training, and overseeing the staff, making sure that the restaurant is maintained in proper operating condition and ensuring that things run smoothly when the restaurant is open. The General Manager is also responsible for totaling up the daily receipts, making sure that the restaurant adheres to all legal requirements and communicating with the Owners and CPA. The General Manager will be charged with setting the tone down through all reporting levels of our customer service philosophy, which is led by the “Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts experience,” a quality that our owners know well from having worked with the company’s management for over 15 years and having visited 32 of their 94 locations worldwide. The Owners will help teach this “deeply instilled ethic of personal service” that finds its ground in The Golden Rule to the General Manager so that together they can make sure it becomes a maxim of Beer Church culture. Compensation will be a salary of $60,000 per year.

The Executive Chef will be responsible for back-of-house operations. This includes hiring and training kitchen staff, creating creative, delectable, and fresh menu items that align with our wood fire and small plate concept, implementing beer pairing, sourcing and purchasing foods and helping evaluate and determine the prices the restaurant should place on its meals. A direct report to the General Manager, compensation will be a salary of $60,000 per year.

The Head Brewer will be completely responsible for the 5 bbl brewery system in the basement, managing and conducting the complete brewing process from grinding to filling the fermenters to tracking and recording key measurements during the whole process, yeast management, cellar management, tracking fermentations, filtering, cleaning tanks, ordering supplies, and reporting to appropriate state and government agencies as required. The Head Brewer is charged with continually innovating boutique, small batch, fresh, local, and rare beers that keep each of the 7 taps in the pulpit always full with unique and gourmet beer exceptional experiences. The Head Brewer is an independent direct GM -> Owners report, and compensation will be a salary of $50,000 per year.

Status Owned
Location Type Special Purpose Space
Comments We purchased an iconic, historic church overlooking downtown New Buffalo. We'll be renovating the church to house our brewing operations and retail activity including a beer garden. Its our expectation that phase one of renovations will be complete, initial operations will begin and beer garden will be open by early Summer 2016.
Entity Big Brother Holding Company, LLC
Entity Type LLC
State Organized Michigan

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John Lustina

Background Check

John Lustina is the owner of a Forrester Top 20 organic search specialist agency that provides SEO, social media, mobile and digital strategy to long-term clients including Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts, Honda, American Express, and QVC. John has built up an invaluable network of clients over the years, including several food service companies and restaurants, including ART Restaurant Seattle, Deca Restaurant + Bar Chicago, and TRIO Restaurant Austin, among many others, whose products he has helped brand, bring to market, and successfully market

1429832834 professonial photo cropped

Jane Simon

Background Check

Jane Simon, a law professor at Notre Dame Law School, brings a legal and business perspective to our venture. Professor Simon has served as legal advisor to numerous start-up companies, including several restaurants and food service companies.


SOFT OPENING February 23rd 4pm!

February 18, 2017

Doors open Thursday at 4pm!

Now is the time that all good Members of The Congregation are called upon to assemble at Beer Church Soft Opening this coming Thursday beginning at 4pm EST for fun, frivolity, and first tastes of New Buffalo's first local beer!

Just please don't come if you hate fun!

Thanks + Cheers, Hope to See You Soon!

John + Jane

Soft Opening Dates + Now 129% of Localstake Goal!

February 4, 2017

We Smashed our 2nd Round Crowdfunding Goal: We're now @ 129% of our Target Raise!

+ YOU can STILL get in on the action of this 2nd Round before the kickoff of SBLI.

Then it's time to close this baby out.

So, we're announcing our 2nd Round Crowdfunding offer will only remain available through to this coming Sunday at the Superbowl's first kickoff. Once the cock crows, that's all she wrote -- LAST CALL!

Just as exciting, our SOFT OPEN DATES are set to be released only on our exclusive email list, The Congregation, and of course to our Localstake Investors exclusively within the next few days.

Whom you tell is up to you...

But if you are in line make sure to mention to us you are a Localstake Insider.

Thanks + Cheers!

John + Jane

Happy New Year! Opening Soon!

January 4, 2017

We are just about to open!

Beer Church is Real!

How’s that for a Happy New Year?

Just a few weeks away, at most!: a few details and inspections here and there and we can start to sell the $130,000 inventory of beer we have already brewed and aged to perfection.

Nearly $1 million of our own funds later, we are just about at the finish line! And so we’re announcing today that our current raise on Localstake, which is at 115% of Goal with 40% Committed, will be closing over the next week. It's our goal to close the raise before we officially open our doors for business in order to focus on operations. If you're interested in our second round, please log into our profile ( to commit your investment and sign investment docs.

A reminder that to date the entire project thus far has been funded in cash by owners, with only $70K in debt. We are also quite unique in that we own the building and adjacent lot (converted into parking + beer garden) outright with no mortgage or lease payments due, ever.

Thanks for your continued faith -- it's about to be rewarded!

As always, wishing you great beer + pizza from a historic church overlooking Lake Michigan.

Thanks + Cheers!

John + Jane


July 18, 2016

Dearest Beer Church Friends,

We come bearing much exciting news since we last spoke!:

Beer Church is the first business on Localstake to actively fundraise using the new federal crowdfunding laws.

This means we will immediately be able to make an additional $100K of Revenue Share available to you and any of your friends you may want to let in on this Beer Church thing of ours.

SEC rules at the time of your initial revenue share investment with us handcuffed brands like Beer Church that seek to crowdfund outside of more than a single state from publicizing their offering on Social Media, but that all changed this past May with Title III of the Jobs Act taking effect. And Beer Church and Localstake are among the first to take advantage of the opportunity.

The timing is perfect. Our award-winning Construction Management firm, Lee Companies, had only just suggested we think bigger on one particular aspect: the brewhouse. “Instead of hiding those beautiful stainless-steel brewing tanks in the basement, why not go Louvre?” asked Pat Lee, President of Lee Companies.

The brilliant idea allows for larger brewing tanks under glass on adjacent pastoral Beer Church Gardens, juxtaposed, much like the Louvre—or Soldier Field in Chicago for that matter—against the historic old-world architecture of the church. Patrons will be able to imbibe outside in the beer garden while gazing upon the actual brewing happening before them under modern glass, contrasting with the aesthetics (and bell!) of the Civil War in bas-relief. Add in the backdrop of a resort town on the shores of Lake Michigan and you get the bucolic picture.

The current offering will be used to fund the Louvre project. You can review our updated information (including pitch deack) as well as review the terms of our offering by logging in signing in to our updated Localstake page at, which includes all of the amazing traction we’ve made since we last spoke, including:

• Our Head Brewer under contract is the award-winning Nate Peck, as first announced by Chicago Tribune Beer Scribe Josh Noel.

• Nate is already at work on recipes for our first two signature beers, Pontius Pilate IPA and Unreliable Narrator Double IPA. A Blonde and Imperial Stout recipes are also in tasting mode, the fun names for which we will be announcing this Month.

• Our Federal TTB License is owned and in hand.

• Our Michigan 3-Way Liquor License is owned and in hand, meaning we will also be able to serve spirits and wine.

• New Buffalo approvals in hand for the iconic design plan, including the iconic “BREWERY” signage over the portico on the images included in this email to you.

• The new “Brewhouse Louvre” concept to be funded by this raise.

• The overwhelming response on all of our Social Media Channels.

• A hint at our soon-to-be-announced opening—an entire art festival weekend of ours in conjunction with the city—to which you will be an invited guest.

• A sneak peak at our menu.

• Owners’ investment vs. debt to date, an impressive $686K vs. $50K, respectively; definitely room for another $100K in debt.

The new round of funding will be structured much like the first: in the form of revenue share through which the business pays investors back with monthly payments based on topline revenue performance. Investors continue to receive monthly payments until they've received a total payback of 1.5x investment amount.

Again, here is the link to find it on Localstake: . Please feel free to share with any family or friends you want to let in on this Beer Church thing of ours (it’s now ok to share on Social Media, as well!), but we don’t know how long it will remain open before reaching the $100K.

Please do let us know if you have any questions or need to chat first.

As always, wishing you great beer + pizza from a historic church overlooking Lake Michigan.

Thanks + Cheers!

John + Jane

Announcing: A Beer Church Brewing Co. Milestone!

May 21, 2015

Rejoice Beer Church Insiders!

For on this day Beer Church Brewing Co. hath received Preliminary Approval from the Michigan Liquor Control Commission to pour beer in our iconic downtown church as well as within pastoral Beer Church Gardens!

Soon--very soon--friends, we will be doing much more than just WISHING you great beer + pizza from a historic church overlooking Lake Michigan.


John + Jane

Beer Church Brewing Co.

Business status: No current fundraise

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