February 22, 2013

The Trend Towards Crowdsourcing in the Craft Beer Industry

Breweries are increasingly turning to crowdsourcing to help connect with consumers.  Here are but a few examples of how breweries crowdsource recipes, brand input and capital.

Recipe Design

Boston Beer teamed up with Guy Kawasaki to create the Crowd Craft Project, which sought to design a beer based on input from fans via a Facebook app.  The final product was launched at a release party in Austin.

Blue Pants Brewery recently announced that it was also turning to its Facebook community to determine which beer recipe would be distributed in the local area.

Big Beer is even utilizing crowdsourcing to make inroads in the craft market.  Bud’s Project 12 campaign featured 12 different recipes as created by the brewmasters of Bud’s 12 breweries across the county.  The public was provided samples of the final 6 beers and voted on the 3 they wanted to see distributed.

Brand Input

Chicago startup Arcade Brewery puts crowdsourcing at the heart of its mission.  Not only did the  brewery turn to the crowd for startup capital, but it also seeks input on label designs and beer names.

When Atlanta’s Monday Night Brewing opened its new production facility earlier this year, it turned to its fans for help designing the tasting room.  Specifically, the brewery put out a call for used ties that were then transformed into a mural (“wall of ties”) featured prominently in the tasting room.

Crowdsourcing makes sense in an industry that is so consumer centric.  Breweries will likely continue to brainstorm creative ways to engage and bridge the gap with consumers

Investment Crowdfunding is the Future

We believe investment crowdfunding is the next step in this process.  Indeed, startup breweries have already raised over 800k in donations through rewards crowdfunding. Investment crowdfunding will take this a step further by allowing consumers a chance to purchase shares in the brewery and become the brand.  This should appeal to startups and established breweries alike.

Right now we are waiting on the SEC to write the final rules implementing the JOBS Act. In the meantime, CraftFund is launching a new website in the coming month that seeks to create a disruptive community of craft beer lovers interested in investing in craft breweries once investment crowdfunding becomes legal.  Stay tuned.

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