When Kickstarter Breweries Fail

I have been loosely monitoring a handful of beer-related Kickstarter funding attempts over the last few weeks, but I would not expect one of those attempting to be funded to approach their own campaign the same way. It turns out that the folks behind Crooked Bottle, the prospective new brewery project from the folks behind Homebrew Exchange, were away from the computer when their funding bid failed, ending up just $243 short of its $25,600 goal.
This is astounding, especially since last I checked the project didn’t seem to be even close and owner Aaron Fabbri admitted as much in his commenting backlash against Bill Night’s “No, I Won’t Kickstart Your Lamebrained Beer Project.”Business Insider brings up the point that surely an owner, a friend, or someone could have ponied up the last $243 rather than losing $25,357 (minus Kickstarter’s cut) they would have received. There are possible legitimate reasons for not making the cut, but in the comments of the Business Insider Aaron Fabbri calls us “lazy bloggers and online commenters” and “a holes” while stating that no one on the team was on their laptop at the time of the campaign’s end. Who is being lazy now? Believe it or not, Aaron Fabbri and the Homebrew Exchange crew, but no one wishes you ill will or for your campaign to fail. I for one am excited every time I hear about a new brewery opening–the more the merrier. Bill Night even told me he kicked in a pledge to the fund. It’s heartbreaking to learn the project was so close to its goal, and I can’t imagine the frustration you must be feeling, but blaming online commenters and the media for your problems instead of reaching out to them for support may not be the best solution to the problem.

Samurai Artist
Samurai Artist

Founder of The New School and most frequent contributor Ezra Johnson-Greenough has worked in the craft beer industry for almost 10 years, doing everything from illustrating beer labels to bartending at renowned beer bars and breweries like Belmont Station, Apex, Laurelwood and Upright Brewing. He has also had a hand in creating events like the Portland Fruit Beer Festival, Portland Beer Week, and the Brewing up Cocktails series. He is available for freelance consultation in marketing, events, graphic design and branding. Contact: SamuraiArtist@NewSchoolBeer.com

Discussion

  • Anonymous
    Anonymous
    Tue Jul 9, 2013 3:51 PM

    While I’m always happy for new breweries, I’m even happier for quality ones. With saturation comes some pretty lousy brews imo…

    • Anonymous
      Anonymous
      Tue Jul 9, 2013 5:36 PM

      I agree with you that Fabbri’s angry comments on BeerPulse & Business Insider articles aren’t helping his cause, but that comment about being away from the computer when the campaign ended was made in sarcasm. Sarcasm can be tough to read in print, but he states that he’s “being sarcastic” a few sentences later.

      • scott lawrence
        scott lawrence
        Tue Jul 9, 2013 6:06 PM

        Kickstarter drives me crazy. I’m tired of getting requests every other day to fund someone’s “dream”. I’d much rather give my discretionary income to a real not for profit organization that is doing good in this world. I’m all for 100 more breweries or cider houses in OR, but I’m certainly not going to fund them over giving funds to Oxfam or Central City Concern. Also, if an aspiring company can’t figure out how to even use kickstarted correctly then they certainly don’t merit receiving funds to start a company.

        • Anonymous
          Anonymous
          Tue Jul 9, 2013 9:34 PM

          After reading this and all the associated posts, I don’t ever want to say or think the word “Kickstarter” again.
          Good luck to the Crooked Bottle community. Carry on…

          • AJ
            AJ
            Thu Jul 11, 2013 5:47 AM

            This comment has been removed by the author.

            • AJ
              AJ
              Thu Jul 11, 2013 5:52 AM

              Oh by the way Ezra was the first person I reached out to to talk about the Kickstarter. No reply. Don’t say I didn’t reach out for help. What I got was an article “No I won’t fund your lamebrained beer project” or whatever that article was called on here. And I was a good sport about it.

              I recommend Casey Parks’ article on our Kickstarter. She did some digging for the backstory.

              • AJ
                AJ
                Thu Jul 11, 2013 6:26 AM

                We weren’t away from the computer.

                The reason for my comments is that the articles were just dead wrong. Same with this one. We were at our computers. We did make calls. We did have family making significant last minute donations.

                It is community funding. You set an arbitrary number, and you lean on the community to fund it. We doubled the amount raised by other successful projects, and then people call us lazy dumb asses. My bad for being a little defensive.

                If you’ve ever done an Ebay auction, you have a feel for how quickly things move. The amount was $243 to go for only a second or two at the very end. Too quick to make a pledge in that amount.. It moved *very* fast at the end.

                “Lazy” is in reference to Internet comments that “we’re dumb asses”, or people who write totally incorrect stories without even a quick email or tweet for comment from the only people who actually know what happened behind the scenes. Kickstarter only shows the pledge arrivals to us, and the articles were very wrong about it (which has been partially edited out, though I’m not able to edit my comments in return).

                We were well aware of Kickstarter’s nature (arbitrary goal, all or nothing) and are actually ok with the outcome. Being so close is painful, I admit, but we view the process as very positive. We learned a lot from it and didn’t really lose anything (minus a bunch of effort).

                If anyone actually wants to hear what happened, contact me @fabbrication or @homebrewXchange on twitter. It is just that easy.

                We’re fine with the way the campaign went. It is the nature of Kickstarter.

                We’re not fine with being called lazy dumb asses.

                • Samurai Artist
                  Samurai Artist
                  Thu Jul 11, 2013 6:41 AM

                  OK its a two way street here. If there is something posted patently false then I hope that you email me about it and it will be corrected. I havent seen one thing that you have specifically called out on The New School which was patently false. Also none of us here are calling you dumb or lazy and we would love to hear your story.

                  And now let me now call you out on complete innacuracy, I contacted you before you launched the kickstarter and asked for info which you refused to give me. I love it when people accuse me of posting something inaccurate when they have had all the opportunity in the world to give the right info and correct it. The article you reference afterwords was from “Bill Night” not myself who has no knowledge of our email exchange. He is an outside columnist and wrote his post probably knowing nothing about yours and because I dont tell my writers what to do or edit their posts on content it was posted as is, his opinion.

                  • Samurai Artist
                    Samurai Artist
                    Thu Jul 11, 2013 6:43 AM

                    Oh sorry I checked our old email exchange. You said, and I quote “Were having a senior citizen only brewpub where all beers are made with metamucil.”

                    So I guess I should have posted that?

                  • AJ
                    AJ
                    Thu Jul 11, 2013 9:52 PM