October was quite a month for beer in Denver. There was the What the Funk!? Festival, Denver Beer Fest and the monstrosity known as the Great American Beer Festival, which essentially took over town for a full week.
What else happened during that crazy week in early October – Former Future Brewing Company wrapped up its Kickstarter campaign. In case you missed the result while you were awash in suds, the brewery unfortunately didn’t get to its $20,000 goal.
We’ve been checking in with Sarah Howat, founder and community builder at FFBC, as the brewery has moved through the Kickstarter process to see what it’s like to be a brewery trying to gain funding. Unlike some breweries that have tried to raise funds via Kickstarter, FFBC was already fully funded before the campaign – Sarah and her husband James were using the crowd-funding site to add capacity, start barrel-aging and purchase a coolship.
In our third and final installment of the series, we checked in with Sarah about a week after the close of the unsuccessful Kickstarter campaign get her thoughts on the process and see what’s next for FFBC.
Q: When was that one moment when you realized the campaign wouldn’t reach it’s goal, and describe how that felt?
A: I think about two-thirds of the way in, maybe even half-way, we realized we weren’t going to make it. I think I took it harder than James did – I felt that it was in some way a reflection on our ability to do well in the industry. Of course, I knew that wasn’t true, but it was still a hit to the ego.
Q: What has the feedback been from fans, friends and those who pledged to back the campaign?
A: People are pretty bummed that we aren’t going to be offering some of the classes and experiential events. We’ll still do them down the road, but for now people will have to wait. The yeast propagation course was the one that folks were really excited for. We’ll probably offer it through the taproom in the Spring.
Q: Do you plan on reaching out to the backers to offer special packages or incentives similar to the Kickstarter as a way of raising funds?
A: To those that backed us on Kickstarter, we’re going to offer them an invitation to our soft-opening, despite the fact that it didn’t fund. Other than that, we’re still offering memberships, and of course we’ll be selling t-shirts, hoodies, etc. through the taproom. Nearly 100% of our energy now is directed at moving closer and closer to opening.
Q: Did you see a spike in memberships once the media coverage picked up, or were things relatively consistent across the board?
A: There was a huge rush the first day, and then it was steady for the remainder of the time.
Q: Has the lack of a successful campaign or the recent government shutdown created any delays for FFBC?
A: We weren’t counting the Kickstarter as part of our funding, so the lack of a successful campaign hasn’t, in and of itself, created any delays. The government shutdown has, however, delayed us in getting our TTB license. We are still waiting and are expecting it any day. In the meantime, we have begun building the space. So, in a perfect world, we’ll be finishing up our build-out and TTB/Certificate of Occupancy stuff simultaneously.
Q: What’s next for FFBC?
A: Getting this place built and brewing some beer! We are roughly 5 weeks out – all depending on TTB and Certificate of Occupancy, of course. We’re now looking at Dec 6 as our Opening Date. But don’t hold me to that. And… we’ll be pouring at Festivus! We cannot wait for that event – what a blast it was last year.
Q: Any last thoughts that you’d like to get across?
A: We’re elated to finally be moving toward opening, and we can’t wait to share our passion with you. In the meantime, we’ll be sharing some beer via pop-up tastings around town, so watch for those. We hope to feature our 100 percent Brett. American IPA, 100 percent Brett. Black IPA, and our Colorado Session Sour.