Earthen Ales is a beer experience that goes beyond the pint, where every beer tells a story of places we have been, where we are today (Northern Michigan), or where we are going in the future. We understand that brewing innovative, high quality beer is not enough, and that we must provide an excellent customer experience to our patrons: to find them the right beer for their palate and serve it to them in a comfortable, inviting environment.

Why Earthen Ales?

Consumers are increasingly looking for innovative products made from fresh, local ingredients. This is particularly true in the beer market, where smaller, local and regional craft brewers continue to grow, and take market share from the large international breweries. Traverse City is growing as a Midwest destination for craft brewing. However, Michigan and the Traverse City region are not yet saturated with breweries. For instance, as of June 2015, Oregon has 7.4 breweries per 100,000 adults, while Michigan has only 2.2. And despite the fact that beer outsells wine on both volume and sales, there are over 8,300 wineries nationally and only 3,400 breweries (as of June 2015).

The Grand Traverse Bay area is already well-established as a destination for wine drinkers, and is well on its way to achieving the same status among beer drinkers. To the extent that the region continues to attract artisanal producers of all kinds (wine, beer, spirits, cheese, etc.), it can be expected to grow as a center for food tourism. In this way, the rising tide can lift all boats.

The Beer

Earthen Ales' beer is innovative and balanced. The beers are inspired by quality ingredients, flavors from the food world, and classic beer styles. With over 130 batches brewed together to date, our recipes have been vetted through competition and sharing with fellow brewers, both amateur and professional. We anticipate the following lineup of beers:

Year-Round Beers

• Juniper Rye (7.0% abv): A balanced IPA that uses juniper to accent the piney character of Simcoe hops (Runner-Up, 2012 Grizzly Peak Homebrew Competition; 3rd Place Spice/Herb/Vegetable Category, 2012 Brews Crews Homebrew Competition)

• A2 IPA (7.5%): A more assertive IPA featuring a blend of American and European hops

• Ale of the Earth (4.0%): An eminently drinkable English-style brown ale

• Sweetbrier Wheat (5.8%): An American Wheat ale reminiscent of picking blackberries on a summer afternoon

Seasonal Beers

• Lime Wit (5.0%, summer): Belgian-style wheat beer punched through with lime (Winner, 2013 Grizzly Peak Homebrew Competition)

• What Gose 'Round (4.4%, summer): Lightly tart, full-bodied, and refreshing German-style ale

• Dos Serranos (7%, fall): IPA with roasted serrano chiles (Category Winner and 4th Best of Show, 2013 Brew Crews Homebrew Competition, out of 332 entries; Honorable Mention, 2012 World Expo of Beer Homebrew Competition)

• Texas Brown Ale (5.6%, fall): A more full-bodied brown ale, balanced by locally-grown Cascade hops

• Darkbrier Wheat (5.8%, winter): The Sweetbrier's dark, mysterious cousin

• Scotch Habanero (6.4%, winter): A big, malty Scottish-style ale brewed with habanero chiles for a warming winter treat (Honorable Mention, 2012 Brews Crews Homebrew Competition)

• Black IPA (6.8%, spring): A light chocolatey roastiness is balanced by resin and citrus flavors and a lingering bitterness

• Saison du Nord (6.5%, spring): Crisp, sparkling Belgian-style ale with a light fruitiness and spicy clove notes

• Other seasonal beers may include a rotating line-up of lagers (Munich-style Helles, Vienna-style lager, Bohemian Pilsner, and an "India Pale Lager") or smoked beers

The Future

If opportunities to expand arise, Earthen Ales will deepen its roots locally rather than simply increasing production volumes. This may include deeper connections to Grand Traverse and Leelanau County and the budding hop and malt industries in the region. Expansion options will emphasize producing new beers, developing ingredients, such as specialty malts, and connecting customers to the brewing process beyond the pint. One such possibility is an inn located in an agrarian setting that connects customers with local beer ingredients and brews experimental beers on-site. Additional opportunities may include co-location with a local maltster and/or hop grower in the region to integrate multiple levels of the beer-making process on the same site.

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Jamie and Andrew Kidwell-Brix, Owner

Financial Summary

Previous Fundraise Summary

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

Expired 11/30/2015 | $10,000.00
Private event and special beer batch

Along with everything else, we'll brew a special batch of beer for a private event at the taproom for you (and your friends)

Expired 11/30/2015 | $5,000.00
Founding Member Recognition

You'll receive 'Founding Member' recognition in the brewery, along with a second Mug Club membership and 2 extra tickets to the soft opening.

Expired 11/30/2015 | $2,500.00
Earthen Ales Swag

You'll receive an Earthen Ales t-shirt, hat and pint glass. ((+ the mug club membership and soft opening tickets)

Expired 11/30/2015 | $1,000.00
Private opening event

Two tickets to an Earthen Ales soft opening (+ the mug club membership)

Expired 11/30/2015 | $500.00
Mug Club Membership

Lifetime mug club membership (i.e. beer discounts forever)

Financials

Funding Plans & History

Provide information on your financial projections

Our financial projections are, to the extent possible, based on actual data from breweries in Michigan. Sources include the following:

  • Sales/production forecasts were compared to brewery production data published by the Brewers Association for area breweries and similar breweries around Michigan.
  • Utility costs are estimated from the Green Brewery Project report for Arbor Brewing Co. and current Traverse City Light and Power utility rates.
  • Ingredient and cleaning chemical costs are based on 2015 Country Malt Group pricing, including estimated freight to Traverse City.
  • Equipment costs are based on recent quotes from the respective manufacturer.

Our major assumptions are that:

  • Summer (July/August) sales will grow to near-maximum production by year five.
  • Winter (January/February) sales will be approximately half of the summer peak, with a higher percentage sold off-premise.
  • Projections do not show an owners' draw, which we do not plan to take until Earthen Ales is profitable (perhaps as soon as year two). The amount of the owners' draw will be determined so as to ensure the financial strength of the business.

Q&A

What is your competitive advantage?

Earthen Ales has a competitive advantage in two different areas of quality: product and customer experience. Maintaining both at a high level will keep customers coming through our doors rather than those of our competitors.

Product quality is necessary but not sufficient for the success of Earthen Ales. It will be maintained through a combination of staff tasting panels and analytics. Importantly, the owners have the technical expertise to correct any flaws in the brewing process so that identified quality issues can be successfully resolved.

The customer experience is essential to bringing business into our taproom. It is a combination of subtle cues, such as lighting levels and music volume, and more obvious aspects, such as the friendliness and helpfulness of the staff.

Neither product quality nor customer experience allows for a "set it and forget it" mentality. Both must be maintained through ongoing thoughtfulness and attention to detail.

Who are your competitors?

Our competition consists of other breweries (local and national), local craft beer bars, and to a lesser extent, area wineries, cider-makers and distilleries. In competing with other breweries for access to distributors and retail tap handles, the key factors are price and product quality. In competition for on premise sales, product quality and customer service are the key factors, with innovation and novelty also playing a role.

National Breweries: Whether national craft brewers like Sierra Nevada or conglomerates like AB-InBev, larger breweries' economies of scale give them an advantage on price, while Earthen Ales will have an advantage on quality, especially in our own taproom where we have control of our product from grain to glass. In competing for local retail tap handles, our proximity and ability to self-distribute also gives us an edge on quality (in part as a result of freshness).

Local Breweries: Earthen Ales can match or beat most local breweries on price while exceeding them in product quality and innovation. While we have identified quality control issues at some local breweries, what is most important is for the overall level of quality in the area to increase. A stronger local beer scene brings more craft beer drinkers to the region, and gives residents more reason to drink local beer. Detail on specific Traverse City breweries follows.

 

Brewery                                                                       2014 Production

Beggars Brewery                                                           60 barrels (bbls)

- Distribution only until taproom opens.

Brewery Ferment                                                           65 bbls

- Small 1-bbl brewhouse means they will have a hard time competing on price and distribution.

Brewery Terra Firma                                                       700 bbls

- Distribution-focused brewery with veteran brewer and 15-bbl brewhouse. Perhaps the most similar conceptually to Earthen Ales in tying in agricultural influences, but challenging location. Earthen Ales will seek location with access by foot, bus, bike, and car.

Filling Station Microbrewery                                           600 bbls

- East side location accessible via TART trail. New head brewer revamping beer list.

Mackinaw Brewing Co.                                                   780 bbls

- Long-running brewpub gets downtown foot traffic.

North Peak Brewing Co.                                                 1,096 bbls

- Long-running brewpub with consistently high quality beer. 10-bbl brewhouse keeps cost of production manageable. Brewpub license means they cannot sell to distributors, so sister company Northern United Brewing produces North Peak brands for distribution.

Rare Bird                                                                      172 bbls (in 6 months)

- Beer is interesting and atmosphere is welcoming. Small 3-bbl brewhouse limits their ability to keep more of their own beer on tap. Potential for Earthen Ales to distribute here.

Right Brain Brewery                                                       3,600 bbls

- Focus shifted more to production with move to 16th Street. Very experimental portfolio of beers.

Workshop Brewing Co.                                                  290 bbls

- Focus on taproom and food sales. Higher priced beers and accessibility challenges.

Earthen Ales will be successful in Traverse City because the continued success of existing breweries increases the area's appeal as a destination for beer drinkers, and Earthen Ales' attention to product quality and the customer experience will set Earthen Ales apart from the competition.

The breweries in Traverse City will be both our collaborators and competitors. As Traverse City builds a stronger beer community and scene, beer tourism will increase, which benefits all breweries and producers in the industry. Earthen Ales will reach out to other local breweries in Traverse and in the state to pursue collaboration brews and other potential partnerships, such as special events.

However, it is also the goal of Earthen Ales to provide high-quality beer and sense of place that attracts new customers and captures customers from existing breweries. Earthen Ales is positioned to carve out a strong niche in the Traverse-area beer scene based on product and quality and customer experience. Jamie and Andrew's homebrewing awards are a testament to an ability to brew balanced, drinkable beers with nontraditional ingredients like juniper berries and serrano chiles.

What market(s) are you in?

Our markets are the Traverse City and Michigan craft beer markets. Locally, we are competing for a share of $22.1 million spent annually on alcoholic beverages by Grand Traverse County residents1. Additionally, seasonal residents and overnight visitors increase Traverse City's population nearly 20% in July and August2; their expenditures on alcohol – and those of other seasonal visitors staying outside Grand Traverse County – are not captured in that $22.1 million.

At the state level, even with 159 craft breweries, there is evidence of room for more craft beer in Michigan: as of June 2015, Oregon has 7.4 breweries per 100,000 adults, while Michigan has only 2.23. That puts Michigan 14th amongst the states in breweries per capita, on par with Iowa and Wisconsin. Nationally, craft beer volume sales grew 17.6% in 2014, despite overall beer sales growing only 0.5%4. Additionally, craft beer's overall share of beer sales is still only 11%, so there is much more market share that can still be taken from large international breweries like AB-InBev.

1Data from SizeUp.com, accessed August 16, 2015.

2Graebert, Mary Beth, et al. Northwest Michigan Seasonal Population Analysis. Networks Northwest, 2014.

3https://www.brewersassociation.org/statistics/by-state/?state=MI, accessed July 10, 2015

4https://www.brewersassociation.org/statistics/national-beer-sales-production-data/, accessed July 10, 2015 

Who are your target customers?

Earthen Ales will concentrate on developing a core clientele of 25 to 44 year-old craft beer drinkers. Many of these potential customers generally buy locally-made products, shop at area farmers markets, and when possible, prefer products with a good story. They also enjoy sharing new products that they have 'discovered' with their friends and family. Census data shows a seven percent increase in the population ages 25 to 44 living in Grand Traverse County from 2000 to 2010. According to data from the Northwest Michigan Council of Governments, this population is projected to continue to grow nearly ten percent from 2015 to 2025. More broadly, Northwest Michigan is one of the only regions in the state that is continuing to attract population.

What is your current customer pipeline?

The Grand Traverse Bay area is already well-established as a destination for wine drinkers, and is well on its way to achieving the same status among beer drinkers. To the extent that the region continues to attract artisanal producers of all kinds (wine, beer, spirits, cheese, etc.), it can be expected to grow as a center for food tourism. This creates a large customer base to support local craft breweries. 

Limited local self-distribution of a summer seasonal (the Sweetbrier Wheat) will establish relationships with bars and restaurants in the area, and provide a hook for customers visiting local bars. Additionally, new legislation allows breweries to sell takeaway containers at farmers markets, which presents a unique opportunity to reach both seasonal and regular customers within our target audience. Self-distribution and sales at farmers markets provide additional opportunities to reach customers beyond taproom sales. 

Recent data from Nielsen's May 2015 Craft Insights Poll reveals that Midwestern drinkers that consume craft beer at least weekly purchase an average of 5.7 brands per month, with 15% buying 10 or more brands per month. This data demonstrates that craft brewers are open to trying new products, which creates a well-established customer pipeline for Earthen Ales beer. 

Craft beer drinkers are also likely to share their experiences—good and bad—with friends, both in person and online, via Ratebeer.com, BeerAdvocate.com, and Untappd. And opinions matter, as 56% of weekly craft beer drinkers say that recommendations from friends and/or family are "absolutely essential or very important" in their decision to purchase a craft beer (Nielsen Craft Insights Poll). For this reason, consistently high product quality and an excellent customer experience are necessary to keep bring customers back after a successful opening. Earthen Ales will capture and retain customers from other breweries in part through a stronger quality control program and a committment to customer experience.  

Do you have current customers?

The brewery is expected to open in spring/summer 2016 and will showcase a variety of recipes with a proven track record of success. Accolades for beers include:

Juniper Rye: Runner-Up, 2012 Grizzly Peak Homebrew Competition; 3rd Place Spice/Herb/Vegetable Category, 2012 Brews Crews Homebrew Competition

Lime Wit: Winner, 2013 Grizzly Peak Homebrew Competition

Dos Serranos IPA: Category Winner and 4th Best of Show, 2013 Brew Crews Homebrew Competition, out of 332 entries; Honorable Mention, 2012 World Expo of Beer Homebrew Competition

Scotch Habanero: Honorable Mention, 2012 Brews Crews Homebrew Competition

Earthen Ales is also in discussion with local farmers in the Traverse City-area, including Bare Knuckle Farm and Birch Point Farm, to source local agricultural ingredients annually to showcase a local farm series both in the taproom and at area farmers markets. 

What is your production process?

Earthen Ales benefits from a brewing industry supply chain that has already been well-developed, and a production process that has been the subject of scientific study for hundreds of years. Aside from water, our primary ingredients are malt, hops, and yeast, which can generally be delivered to the brewery within a week of ordering. All of our beer will be brewed on site, and most of our beers will be on tap two weeks after they are brewed, though the occasional lager or strong beer will take four weeks to reach maturity.

Suppliers

Most of our malt will be sourced from Country Malt Group's (CMG) South Holland, IL distribution center, though we also plan to source some Michigan-grown malt from the new Great Lakes Malting Co. in Traverse City. CMG malt will typically be ordered in pallet-full quantities, which will be sufficient for two to three weeks' production initially. Over time, we will move to ordering two pallets roughly every two weeks.

Hops require slightly more advance planning than malt, as many popular varieties are available in significant quantities only by contracting in advance with suppliers. These suppliers include distributors like Country Malt Group and Yakima Valley Hops, as well as local growers. We will contract for the majority of our projected hops needs through a larger supplier to ensure availability. Fortunately, in the short term, there is a good variety available on the spot market and from other breweries that have over-contracted for their needs. (For instance, we have already had an offer for excess hops from our friends at Eternity Brewing in Howell.)

Yeast is available in both dried and liquid formats, and we will use both depending on the needs of each specific beer. Dried yeast from Fermentis will be sourced from BSG CraftBrewing. Liquid yeast will be sourced from White Labs, Wyeast, or Brewing Science Institute, as some of our favorite strains are only available from one of these suppliers.

Brewing Process

Most of our beers will take two weeks to go from raw ingredients to finished beer. Aside from careful cleaning of tanks, pumps, and lines to ensure that beer is free from off-flavors, the most labor-intensive step in the brewing process is the brew day, where most of a beer's flavor characteristics are determined. Over the course of the six to eight hour brew day, malt is mashed, sweet wort (pre-beer) trasnferred to the boil kettle and boiled with hops, hopped wort is cooled and transferred to a fermentor, and finally yeast is added to ferment the wort into beer.

Over the course of the next seven days in the fermentor, the yeast will transform the hopped wort into young (or "green") beer, and in the case of our IPAs, additional hops may be added in the fermentor. After several days each of warm and cold maturation, the beer is transferred to a serving tank to be carbonated and served to our customers. If the beer is one that we are selling to retail establishments, we will also fill some kegs from the serving tank to be sold to retail accounts (self-distributed) or, as we grow, to a distributor. When we have another beer ready to move into that serving tank, we will fill kegs from the tank to make room for the next batch coming through the pipeline, and we will serve the rest of that first batch from those kegs.

One of the advantages that our taproom will always have is that we have complete control of our product, from grain to glass, so we can ensure that it is treated well and arrives at the tap in optimal condition.

Provide us with some background on your products and services.

Earthen Ales beer is innovative and balanced. The beers are inspired by quality ingredients, flavors from the food world, and classic beer styles. With over 130 batches brewed together to date, our recipes have been vetted through competition and sharing with fellow brewers, both amateur and professional. A planned beer list, including seasonals, is available above, under the 'Business Plan' heading.

Most of our beer will be sold as draft on-premise initially in pint ($4.50 for 16 oz.), half-pint ($2.50), and sampler ($1.50 for 4 oz.) sizes. Draft beer will also be available for takeaway in 64 oz. growlers and 32 oz. "growlettes." Finally, we will also package special release beers in 22 oz. bottles for sale in the taproom. Pricing will depend on the particular beer's production costs, but will generally be $10-15. Slower taproom sales in late winter will create time in the production schedule to produce these special beers for release during the busier summer months.

For regular visitors to the taproom, we will also offer Mug Club Memberships that include a $1 discount on pints and discounts on growler fills.

During the winter months, we will sell half-barrel and sixth-barrel kegs of our winter seasonal (Darkbrier Wheat) to area bars and restaurants, for $100 and $65, respectively. We will also sell a limited number of kegs of our summer-only Sweetbrier Wheat to local bars to help familiarize seasonal drinkers with our product.

What is your product development timeline?

Earthen Ales anticipates opening in spring/summer of 2016 as an 8.5-barrel brewhouse with seating for 80 to 100 patrons. Beer sales will increase rapidly between the first and second year of operation - projected at over 75%. In opening the taproom, we are looking to start operations with a brewhouse that is fiscally sustainable for the brewery in the long-term.  The 8.5-barrel brewhouse allows for Andrew and Jamie Kidwell-Brix to serve both as taproom staff and brewers for Earthen Ales, streamlining staff costs in the initial opening months and fostering a stronger connection between the makers of the craft (the brewers) and the customers (the drinkers of beer). 

Locating in the Traverse City area means co-locating with several other breweries and wineries in the area. This is an asset to Earthen Ales and to the state of craft brewing in Michigan. A confluence of makers, producers, and growers is building in the Traverse City area. Earthen Ales sees the addition of hop growers, maltsters, and breweries in the region as an opportunity and would like to grow and support the allied businesses and industries in the region.

If opportunities to expand arise, Earthen Ales will deepen its roots locally rather than simply increasing production volumes. This may include deeper connections to Grand Traverse and Leelanau counties and the budding hop and malt industries in the region. Expansion options will emphasize producing new beers, developing ingredients such as specialty malts, and connecting customers to the brewing process beyond the pint. One such possibility is an inn located in an agrarian setting that connects customers with local beer ingredients and brews experimental beers on-site. Additional opportunities may include co-location with a local maltster and/or hop grower in the region to integrate multiple levels of the beer-making process on the same site.

Provide detail on your hiring plans

For the first few months, we expect to be able to staff the taproom and brewery operations ourselves. During the summer months, we will have a taproom attendant assisting with serving from 4pm to close on weekdays and all day on Saturdays. If demand grows beyond our initial expectations, we will add additional taproom staff as necessary during both the summer and off-season. We will remain the primary brewers, but may hire an assistant brewer within five years to assist with brewery operations. 

Our staff must have a passion for high-quality beer, and we will hold regular beer tasting with our staff to familiarize them both with our product and other products in the marketplace. Only in this way will our serving staff be able to appropriately recommend beers to our customers, based on our customers' personal preferences. All new employees will spend one day in the brewhouse learning about how we make our beers. All servers will have or will seek beer server certification from the Cicerone program within three months of employment. We are both certified beer servers and recognize the value of this program. We will also encourage our employees to brew beer at home in order to become more familiar with the ingredients and process involved. Serving high-quality product demands well-trained and knowledgeable staff. Well-made beer does not provide an enjoyable drinking experience without attention to customer service.  

What is the composition of your current team?

Jamie and Andrew Kidwell-Brix will serve as the brewers and taproom attendants for the brewery in the first months. This will streamline costs, and establish a key connection to the customer base of the brewery. Jamie and Andrew will also oversee product distribution in the first two years of operation to foster strong relationships with local area bars and restaurants. Demonstrating a strong interest in the beer through self-distribution will ease the transition to a distributor and ensure a large customer base. As demand increases, Earthen Ales will hire additional taproom staff to assist with service. 

How do you sell your product or service?

The majority of beer sales will occur in the taproom. This ensures a larger profit margin (91%) per pint than beer sold outside the taproom via bottles, cans, or kegs (60% or less). However, distributing beer is an essential marketing tool to enticing new customers to a new brewery. Due to recent changes in Michigan legislation, Earthen Ales is able to self-distribute beer to events, bars, and restaurants. Jamie and Andrew Kidwell-Brix will oversee distribution in the early years of the brewery to establish personal connections with area restaurants, bars, and other customers. When the brewery is ready to contract with a distributor, Earthen Ales will have a proven customer base, which in turn will make the product attractive to distributors and guarantee a pipeline for Earthen Ales beer beyond the taproom. 

How do you market your product or service?

While not all 25 to 44 year-olds are currently craft beer drinkers, the craft beer market continues to grow nationally and an increasing number of beer drinkers are becoming "craft curious." Between 2013 and 2014 alone, craft beer’s volume share of the overall beer market grew over 40%, from 7.8% to 11%. However, that still leaves 89% of beer production in the hands of multinational breweries and a considerable share of market still available to craft brewers. Despite the fact that beer outsells wine on both volume and sales, there are over 8,300 wineries nationally and only 3,400 breweries (as of June 2015). The trajectory over the past few years suggests that craft beer will continue to erode market share from the multinational brewers and more beer drinkers will choose craft beer.

Many of our target customers currently drink beer at one or more Traverse City breweries, such as Right Brain and Rare Bird, or at a craft beer bar like Seven Monks. While some may have strong loyalty to an existing brand, most craft beer drinkers are excited to try new products, especially from new producers. Recent data from Nielsen's May 2015 Craft Insights Poll reveals that Midwestern drinkers that consume craft beer at least weekly purchase an average of 5.7 brands per month, with 15% buying 10 or more brands per month.

Marketing Activities

Earthen Ales will reach its target audience through a mix of social media, company website, an email list, earned media, and paid advertising that makes efficient use of limited startup capital.

Social Media: We will provide frequent photos of production, ingredients, new beer releases, and other brewery happenings, posted simultaneously to Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. Special events will be created as Facebook events and posted to Twitter and Instagram. Finally, we will actively maintain and monitor Earthen Ales' presence on Untappd, BeerAdvocate.com, RateBeer.com, and Yelp.

Website: Earthenales.com will be primarily a reference for customers that want to confirm hours, location, tap list, and upcoming events. Background information on the business, staff, and beers will be available, but the emphasis will be on what customers typically check immediately before visiting: hours, location and tap list.

Email List: We will use this more sparingly than social media outlets, so as to retain subscribers. This will be primarily to advertise special events or special/limited release beers. An initial email list will be created from the crowdfunding campaigns.

Earned Media: Press releases will be distributed to local print, radio and television media in advance of opening, as well as to announce special events, collaboration beers, and company milestones, such as the addition of new fermentation tanks.

Paid Advertising: Paid marketing will mostly focus on awareness within the beer community, particularly the Michigan Beer Guide and the Traverse City Ale Trail. We will also place summer advertisements in local print publications like Northern Express.

Crowdfunding: Prior to opening, Earthen Ales will launch a crowdfunding campaign to raise awareness of the brewery opening and to pre-sell merchandise, mug club memberships, and other perks. Funds from the crowdfunding campaign will support operating expenses and/or equipment upgrades. 

Other Activities: Limited local self-distribution of a summer seasonal (the Sweetbrier Wheat) will establish relationships with bars and restaurants in the area, and provide a hook for customers visiting local bars. Additionally, new legislation allows breweries to sell takeaway containers at farmers markets, which presents a unique opportunity to reach both seasonal and regular customers within our target audience. Finally, in the interests of driving business on slower days while being a responsible retailer of alcohol, we plan to offer 10% discounts Monday-Wednesday to customers who use non-motorized transportation to visit the brewery (Non-Motorized Mondays, Two-Wheel Tuesdays, and Walk-In Wednesdays).

Team

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Jamie and Andrew Kidwell-Brix

Cofounders and Brewers

Jamie and Andrew Kidwell-Brix are accomplished project and program managers with experience managing energy and sustainability projects with budgets in excess of $2 million. Andrew's experiences as the City of Ann Arbor's Energy Programs Manager, combined with recent work at Bare Knuckle Farm (Northport, MI) and brewing for Witch's Hat Brewing Co. (South Lyon, MI), provide him with the skills and tools necessary to run a successful craft brewery from top to bottom. Similarly, Jamie's work as the City of Ann Arbor's Sustainability Associate, combined with the experience of growing up in her family's retail business and eight-plus years of home brewing, provide her with the skills and tools necessary to run a successful craft brewery from top to bottom. Andrew and Jamie will share management, production, and serving tasks until the workload justifies additional staff.

Key Skills:

• Brewing: have brewed on and developed award-winning recipes for home and commercial systems, ranging in size from one gallon to 465 gallons (15 barrels)

• Beer Server: TIPS certified and recognized by the Cicerone Program as Certified Beer Servers

• Management and Accounting: managed state and federal grants, including Ann Arbor's $1.2 million Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant, in addition to facilities projects and community outreach programs

• Brand Identity Creation: managed effort to create a2energy brand, Ann Arbor Sustainability Forums, and Ann Arbor Climate Partnership

• State Regulatory Affairs: led coalition that successfully lobbied for Michigan legislation to enable Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) financing for energy improvements

1438115654 bing square

Jason Bing, RA, LEED AP

Board Member

Jason is currently the Healthy Buildings Director at Ecology Center in Ann Arbor and is advising Earthen Ales on building/site selection and build out.

Jason is a licensed architect, experienced in performing, coordinating and administering healthy, high performance residential and commercial building services. Bing has conducted or supervised energy assessments on over five million square feet of commercial, institutional and multifamily residential buildings over the last five years. Bing has conducted tours, consultations and on/off-site presentations to broad audiences on topics ranging from ecological footprint and resource conservation to building science and healthy structures.

Built work includes Water Street Tavern in Kent, OH, a project that included a majority of reclaimed, repurposed and/or refurbished materials and emphasized low carbon footprint/adaptive reuse. This historic downtown building was previously home to a retail sports store. http://www.waterstreettavern.com/

Bing is a former member of the Ann Arbor Energy Commission (2005-10), a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Accredited Professional, and has previously maintained status as a Home Energy Rater (HERs), certified by RESnet, from 2005-09. He received a certificate from the Climate Reality Leadership Corps in 2013 and currently serves on the Steering Committee of the Affordable Multi-Family Energy Efficiency (AMFEE) network.

1438025470 revision

Revision Legal

Service Provider

Revision produced our Website and Crowdfunding Terms and Conditions, as well our website's Privacy Policy. They have also advised us on trademark considerations regarding our name and beer brands.

Missing

Adcock & Nemeskal Accounting

Service Provider

Handling our bookkeeping, tax preparation, chart of accounts setup, and eventually payroll services.

About Earthen Ales

Entity Type LLC
State Organized Michigan
Founded May 2015
Website

Headquarters

Company Updates

Counting Down...Five Days Left!

December 26, 2015

Happy holidays from Earthen Ales! In between cleaning up the wrapping paper and eating leftover roast beast, we're writing to remind you that our offering on Localstake closes at midnight on New Year's Eve. That means you have five more days to complete your investment in Earthen Ales.

The sooner you're able to complete your investment the better. If you can steal away from the festivities for a few minutes today, what better way to spend it than making your investment in Earthen Ales?

As always, we're available to answer questions!

Cheers,
Jamie and Andrew

Last Chance - Investment Closing 12/31

December 21, 2015

It’s the homestretch for Earthen Ales, and your last chance to invest! Our Localstake offering closes on December 31st, and every investment gets us closer and closer to opening our doors and serving you beers!

Tis the season for brewery planning – we’re reviewing a draft lease, piloting new batches of beer, and working towards a summer 2016 opening. Join us in the Earthen Ales journey by completing your Localstake investment today!

Thanks for helping make our holiday (and yours!) a happy holiday! We’re happy and available to answer any questions via Localstake.

Cheers,
Jamie and Andrew

Last Call for Perks! Today!

November 30, 2015

Well, here we are in your inbox, nestled amongst a barrage of Cyber Monday emails. And maybe that's appropriate, because today is your last chance to earn perks for committing to invest in Earthen Ales on Localstake! What does that mean exactly? That means that everyone who has made a commitment to invest by the end of the day today gets a free lifetime mug club membership.

If you commit $1,000 or more, you'll also receive two tickets to an Earthen Ales soft opening event. Committing $2,500 or more? We'll throw in an Earthen Ales t-shirt, hat, and pint glass. At $5,000 you'll get special "Founding Member" recognition in the brewery along with a second mug club membership and two more soft opening tickets. And for $10,000 or more, we'll also brew a special batch of beer for a private event for you and your friends.

So if you've been putting off clicking that "Commit to Invest" button, today's the day!

Cheers,
Jamie and Andrew

p.s. To those of you that have already committed to investing and signed documents: thanks again!

p.p.s. Because we heard a couple of questions about this, if you've signed your investment documents and elected to pay by check, we will send you more information once everyone else has signed.

Thank You! (And a Last Call for Perks.)

November 25, 2015

As we reflect on what we are thankful for this week—our friends and family, each other, our budding baby brewery—we find ourselves especially thankful to you. Yes, you, reading this message right now. Whether you're a friend, family, or someone that found us on Localstake, your interest in seeing Earthen Ales succeed helps keep us going. And your faith in Earthen Ales motivates us to do the very best that we possibly can, not just so that you will earn a good return on your investment, but also that you will be proud to be an investor in Earthen Ales. We want you to feel all warm and fuzzy inside when you think about Earthen Ales and know that you're a part of something great!

And so, while we spend our holiday weekend evaluating draft lease terms, we hope that you can take your next step in investing in Earthen Ales. Already committed? Now's the time to sign documents and make it official. If you've expressed interest in investing, now's the time to commit to a dollar amount. Have a question you've been putting off asking? Now's the time!

Why now? Because one of the ways that we can show you how appreciative and how thankful we are is through the investment perks that we're offering here on Localstake. But those expire at the end of November, so now's the time!

Happy Thanksgiving,
Jamie and Andrew

We've Got a Live One Here

November 3, 2015

A big thank you to every one of you for your help in getting us to where we are today: our investment offering is now officially live! It's what we've been working toward the last few months. You can now go into Localstake, sign revenue share agreements and transfer funds. This is the real deal!

And it's really important. Our bank loan is contingent on the $100,000 we are raising via Localstake, so this is so much more than your individual investments: this allows us to leverage the rest of the startup capital we need. It's the linchpin, the keystone, the...well, you get the idea. Your investment here puts everything into motion for us.

As always, if you have any questions about the Localstake investment process or other aspects of Earthen Ales, please let us know. If not, now is the time to finalize your investment and make Earthen Ales a reality!

And don't forget that all Localstake investors qualify for investment perks. Once you've finalized your investment, we'll follow up with you to fulfill your perks.

Finally, we can't thank you all enough and can't wait to start pouring beers for you in 2016!

Help Us Reach $100k by October!

September 18, 2015

First, thanks to everyone who has committed an investment so far! Our proposed terms are posted and available for your review. Our target is to have our full Localstake funding committed on those terms in the next month, which is to say by Friday October 16.

Second, we had a few folks tell us they couldn't download our preliminary term sheet or had trouble accessing our profile last week. These issues should be resolved now, so if you were one of those folks, please accept our apologies and give it another go!

Third, we know you all want to hear more about our planned location, and expect to share more about that in our next announcement…

Finally, our first pint glasses arrived this week and they are looking good! Check out the attached picture! (Mistah H's Lager on the left, and the Ale of the Earth on the right.) Hats are on the way, too!

As always, if you have any questions about anything really, please let us know.

Cheers,
Jamie and Andrew

Making Commitments

September 10, 2015

It is time to get serious and start talking about committing investments. We've worked with the Localstake team to produce a preliminary term sheet, which can be downloaded from our profile page. Also on our profile, you can see the unique perks that we'll provide to all investors in Earthen Ales.

If you like what you see, you can commit to invest right there on our profile page. Every investment committed gets us one step closer to opening our doors next year.

As always, if you have any questions, please let us know. Thanks for helping to make Earthen Ales a reality!

Cheers,
Jamie and Andrew

Earthen Ales: Now Available in Full Color!

August 20, 2015

First off, we're excited to announce that—like television and computing before it—our logo has made the move to color. We still love our black and white logo (and it's going to see plenty of use), but we think the color version brings a welcome liveliness and depth to our overall look and feel. (Plus it has a little brother in the form of an accent mark!)
But the new color logo is just the tip of the iceberg: we've added loads of new information to our Localstake profile, so go check it out! You'll find answers to questions that you never knew you had…
Cheers,
Jamie and Andrew

Discussion

Topic Last activity
Liquor license 2 comments about 2 years ago

Risks & Disclosures

Comment on and upload any information regarding previous, current, or anticipated legal proceedings or regulatory issues

There are no previous, current, or anticipated legal proceedings or regulatory issues to be commented upon.

Describe your company's organizational structure

Earthen Ales is organized in the State of Michigan as a Limited Liability Corporation with two members: Jamie Kidwell-Brix and Andrew Kidwell-Brix (who are married to each other).

Do you have any shareholder loans?

No, we do not owe any compensation for prior years.

Who owns your product/service?

A beer brand consists of two primary pieces: the recipe and process used to produce the beer, and the name and branding associated with the product. We have talked with our lawyers at Revision Legal about a strategy of trademarking select brand names that we expect to widely circulate for distribution.

The recipe itself cannot be copyrighted, but it is not so much the recipe that is important as it is the vision and taste memory of what the beer should be. The same recipe brewed on different systems will taste somewhat different, and seasonal variations in ingredients and their availability will cause a recipe to adapt over time to reflect these changes while staying true to its original vision.

Do you have any employment contracts for key personnel?

Jamie and Andrew Kidwell-Brix are the owners and brewers for Earthen Ales. Since the owners are also the brewers, this will ensure continuity of product throughout the life of the brewery. When demand increases, Earthen Ales will first hire taproom staff, and Jamie and Andrew will remain as brewers. 

Minimizing staff turnover is paramount to quality customer service and knowledge of products. Earthen Ales strives to hire employees who share a passion for beer and a commitment to community building. Additionally, Earthen Ales aims to provide a competitive wage, and eventually health benefits and paid time off for employees. While we recognize this will increase the cost of staffing, it aligns with our commitment to providing a better quality experience to our customers and will reduce staff turnover and training costs. Earthen Ales will strive to be a community of businesses that solicits and encourages feedback and ideas from its employees. Earthen Ales will explore using an open finance model to foster engagement and trust with staff. Employees should feel connected to and invested in the success of the business, so they, in turn, will invest in providing quality service to customers.

What are the legal and regulatory requirements in your industry?

The first licensing step for a new brewery is to obtain a "Brewer's Notice" from the U.S. Treasury's Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB). We will be able to make this application once we have a lease agreement in place and drawings of the brewery to submit with the application. The current processing time for Brewer's Notices is approximately four months.

With a Brewer's Notice issued, Earthen Ales can apply to the Michigan Liquor and Control for a "Micro Brewer" license. In addition to the Brewer's Notice, the Micro Brewer license requires:

  • $1,000 Surety Bond, which later can increase up to the brewery's monthly average excise tax.
  • $50,000 security for liability, which can be in the form of liquor liability insurance.

The Michigan Micro Brewer license allows a licensee to sell beer that it manufacures for on-premise and off-premise (takeaway) consumption without any additional license. Additionally, as long as annual production is less than 1,000 barrels, a Micro Brewer may self-distribute beer to retail licensees.

An investment in the Company involves a high degree of risk, and should be regarded as speculative. Prospective investors should carefully consider these investment risks, among others, in addition to the other information presented in the Offering Materials, in evaluating the Company for investment. The risks listed herein are not a complete list of potential risks facing the Company and it may encounter unexpected risks in the future, which, may adversely affect its performance.

Business status: No current fundraise

You cannot express interest at this time. Check back soon!

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1 Express Interest

If the business begins fundraising, you will be able to review and complete the investment steps.

2 Commit to Invest

Once you've indicated interest, you can commit to invest or provide feedback to the business about your potential investment.

3 Sign Documents

Once you have committed to invest, you will review and sign the investment documents.

4 Transfer Funds

Once you have reviewed and signed investment documents, you will choose how you would like to transfer funds.

Company Updates

Counting Down...Five Days Left!

December 26, 2015

Happy holidays from Earthen Ales! In between cleaning up the wrapping paper and eating leftover roast beast, we're writing to remind you that our offering on Localstake closes at midnight on New Year's Eve. That means you have five more days to complete your investment in Earthen Ales.

The sooner you're able to complete your investment the better. If you can steal away from the festivities for a few minutes today, what better way to spend it than making your investment in Earthen Ales?

As always, we're available to answer questions!

Cheers,
Jamie and Andrew

Last Chance - Investment Closing 12/31

December 21, 2015

It’s the homestretch for Earthen Ales, and your last chance to invest! Our Localstake offering closes on December 31st, and every investment gets us closer and closer to opening our doors and serving you beers!

Tis the season for brewery planning – we’re reviewing a draft lease, piloting new batches of beer, and working towards a summer 2016 opening. Join us in the Earthen Ales journey by completing your Localstake investment today!

Thanks for helping make our holiday (and yours!) a happy holiday! We’re happy and available to answer any questions via Localstake.

Cheers,
Jamie and Andrew

Last Call for Perks! Today!

November 30, 2015

Well, here we are in your inbox, nestled amongst a barrage of Cyber Monday emails. And maybe that's appropriate, because today is your last chance to earn perks for committing to invest in Earthen Ales on Localstake! What does that mean exactly? That means that everyone who has made a commitment to invest by the end of the day today gets a free lifetime mug club membership.

If you commit $1,000 or more, you'll also receive two tickets to an Earthen Ales soft opening event. Committing $2,500 or more? We'll throw in an Earthen Ales t-shirt, hat, and pint glass. At $5,000 you'll get special "Founding Member" recognition in the brewery along with a second mug club membership and two more soft opening tickets. And for $10,000 or more, we'll also brew a special batch of beer for a private event for you and your friends.

So if you've been putting off clicking that "Commit to Invest" button, today's the day!

Cheers,
Jamie and Andrew

p.s. To those of you that have already committed to investing and signed documents: thanks again!

p.p.s. Because we heard a couple of questions about this, if you've signed your investment documents and elected to pay by check, we will send you more information once everyone else has signed.

Thank You! (And a Last Call for Perks.)

November 25, 2015

As we reflect on what we are thankful for this week—our friends and family, each other, our budding baby brewery—we find ourselves especially thankful to you. Yes, you, reading this message right now. Whether you're a friend, family, or someone that found us on Localstake, your interest in seeing Earthen Ales succeed helps keep us going. And your faith in Earthen Ales motivates us to do the very best that we possibly can, not just so that you will earn a good return on your investment, but also that you will be proud to be an investor in Earthen Ales. We want you to feel all warm and fuzzy inside when you think about Earthen Ales and know that you're a part of something great!

And so, while we spend our holiday weekend evaluating draft lease terms, we hope that you can take your next step in investing in Earthen Ales. Already committed? Now's the time to sign documents and make it official. If you've expressed interest in investing, now's the time to commit to a dollar amount. Have a question you've been putting off asking? Now's the time!

Why now? Because one of the ways that we can show you how appreciative and how thankful we are is through the investment perks that we're offering here on Localstake. But those expire at the end of November, so now's the time!

Happy Thanksgiving,
Jamie and Andrew

We've Got a Live One Here

November 3, 2015

A big thank you to every one of you for your help in getting us to where we are today: our investment offering is now officially live! It's what we've been working toward the last few months. You can now go into Localstake, sign revenue share agreements and transfer funds. This is the real deal!

And it's really important. Our bank loan is contingent on the $100,000 we are raising via Localstake, so this is so much more than your individual investments: this allows us to leverage the rest of the startup capital we need. It's the linchpin, the keystone, the...well, you get the idea. Your investment here puts everything into motion for us.

As always, if you have any questions about the Localstake investment process or other aspects of Earthen Ales, please let us know. If not, now is the time to finalize your investment and make Earthen Ales a reality!

And don't forget that all Localstake investors qualify for investment perks. Once you've finalized your investment, we'll follow up with you to fulfill your perks.

Finally, we can't thank you all enough and can't wait to start pouring beers for you in 2016!

Help Us Reach $100k by October!

September 18, 2015

First, thanks to everyone who has committed an investment so far! Our proposed terms are posted and available for your review. Our target is to have our full Localstake funding committed on those terms in the next month, which is to say by Friday October 16.

Second, we had a few folks tell us they couldn't download our preliminary term sheet or had trouble accessing our profile last week. These issues should be resolved now, so if you were one of those folks, please accept our apologies and give it another go!

Third, we know you all want to hear more about our planned location, and expect to share more about that in our next announcement…

Finally, our first pint glasses arrived this week and they are looking good! Check out the attached picture! (Mistah H's Lager on the left, and the Ale of the Earth on the right.) Hats are on the way, too!

As always, if you have any questions about anything really, please let us know.

Cheers,
Jamie and Andrew

Making Commitments

September 10, 2015

It is time to get serious and start talking about committing investments. We've worked with the Localstake team to produce a preliminary term sheet, which can be downloaded from our profile page. Also on our profile, you can see the unique perks that we'll provide to all investors in Earthen Ales.

If you like what you see, you can commit to invest right there on our profile page. Every investment committed gets us one step closer to opening our doors next year.

As always, if you have any questions, please let us know. Thanks for helping to make Earthen Ales a reality!

Cheers,
Jamie and Andrew

Earthen Ales: Now Available in Full Color!

August 20, 2015

First off, we're excited to announce that—like television and computing before it—our logo has made the move to color. We still love our black and white logo (and it's going to see plenty of use), but we think the color version brings a welcome liveliness and depth to our overall look and feel. (Plus it has a little brother in the form of an accent mark!)
But the new color logo is just the tip of the iceberg: we've added loads of new information to our Localstake profile, so go check it out! You'll find answers to questions that you never knew you had…
Cheers,
Jamie and Andrew

Discussion

Topic Last activity
Liquor license 2 comments about 2 years ago