LR Startups Stone's Throw Brewing, Treatsie Attract Funding

by Jan Cottingham  on Monday, May. 6, 2013 12:00 am  

Kickstarter, based in New York City, is a crowdfunding platform that allows individuals to seek donations for their projects in exchange for rewards.

Since its founding in April 2009, the company says, more than $594 million has been pledged by more than 3.9 million people, funding more than 40,000 creative projects.

The projects generally focus on the arts: filmmaking, record-producing, novel-writing. But some of them focus on consumables. Among those are two projects based in Little Rock: Stone’s Throw Brewing and Treatsie.

Ian Beard of Little Rock joined with fellow home brewers of beer Theron Cash, Shawn Tobin and Brad McLaurin to start a brewery. Beard, who works for the Old Statehouse Museum, had noticed other breweries raising money on Kickstarter and had himself donated money to a friend to produce a film.

“We reached the point where our finances were starting to get a little stretched,” Beard says. “So to do everything we wanted to at the level that we were hoping for, a little help from our friends was needed and Kickstarter presented itself as the best opportunity to do that.”

The Kickstarter campaign originally was to outfit a tasting room at the young entrepreneurs’ business, Stone’s Throw Brewing, which, as an LLC, they had already funded. Their entry read: “We can brew the beer, now we need a place to serve it! Your help will build a tasting room at the brewery.”

The brewery, at the corner of Ninth and Rock streets in Little Rock, offered Stone’s Throw Brewing logo stickers to $10 donors. Givers of $100 or more were promised “a reservation for the first pint sold out of our new tasting room,” in addition to a few other freebies. And those who pledged $2,000 or more — two of those so far — will get the opportunity to hang with the guys and brew their own recipe.

The beer-brewing partners sought to reach $10,000 in donations in 20 days. They met their goal in three and a half.

So with their campaign set to continue to Wednesday, they set a new goal, what’s known in Kickstarter parlance as a “stretch” goal. If they reach $19,000 they will double the company’s brewing capacity with the purchase of a bigger fermenter.

As of last Thursday, they had 154 backers who had pledged $14,405.

“We had also considered Kiva,” Beard says, a crowdfunding nonprofit that was launched in Little Rock in March. The partners chose Kickstarter because it “offered more on the publicity end of things. We could have tried to get a traditional loan or something, but even people who contributed to that — they wouldn’t be engaged in quite the same way as with Kickstarter. Not only are you pledging and helping to meet your goal, but also you get something for it that engages you in the project itself.”

“It was a way to get people to buy into the project without actually giving them any equity,” Beard says. “They’re now rooting for you because they’ve already bought into what you’re trying to do.”



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