Save The Brewery
We have launched a crowdfunding campaign to keep 8-Bit Brewing alive.
Here is our plan.
Tier 1: 100 € or more
Be a part of the solution, and own a share of 8-Bit Brewing.
Tier 2: 500 € or more
Own five shares of the brewery, get a permanent 10% discount at the brewery shop, and an invite to our annual owner's party.
Tier 3: 2500 € or more
Own 25 shares of the brewery, the discount and the party invites, PLUS a custom labeled case of beer of your design.
Feel like pledging a custom amount?
No worries! The pledges can be made in 100€ steps, with each step earning you an extra share. The other rewards are still tiered. So a 300€ pledge gets you three shares, 600€ gets you six shares plus all Tier 2 rewards, and so on.
Own a Brewery
To own a piece of 8-Bit, simply fill out this form to pledge your support and allow us to implement our plan.
We are looking to raise between 60 000 and 120 000 euros to implement our plan.
The sale of shares will not be final unless people pledge to buy the minimum of 60 000 euros in shares, so that we can be sure we have the resources to fully implement the plan and get to a point of sustainable growth with your investment.
Our current valuation is 550 000 euros.
After closing the crowdfunding campaign, the sale will go through within 2 weeks. We will first make the sale in the form of a convertible equity loan to get the money moving and get the process started to upgrade the brewery.
Within 8 to 12 weeks of the sale, we will file the formal paperwork with the authorities to convert your investment to shares at the 550 000 euro valuation rate, and then you will receive your shares in 8-Bit.
Our plan in greater detail
1. Who We Are
8-Bit Brewing - Easy to drink ales from the nerdy side
Starting as a gypsy brewery in 2016, and then opening our own facility in January of 2018. We are a fun and highly stylized geek culture themed brewery operating in Helsinki.
2. What We Do
Approachable Craft Ales
Noticing that too much of the craft beer market was trend chasing and trying to make the biggest, heaviest and boldest beers that appeal only to the small segment of serious craft beer drinkers, we sought to make craft beers for the wider market. Beers that go down smooth and aren’t massive on alcohol content. Good beers for an after-work pint on a Tuesday, or for pairing with your favorite game.
Drinkable Session Ales
Our Head Brewer, Jason Wolford started out as a very active homebrewer in Portland, Oregon. He had a 50 liter brew system and was constantly experimenting. But every beer that he made, he had to drink 100 pints of, so unintentionally, he developed a style of beer that has big flavors but is also approachable enough, that if you drink 100 pints of it, you won't get tired of it, and it won't start to taste heavy or leave you horribly hungover every day.
So far, we have released 21 unique recipes in our line of approachable ales. And our customers have responded greatly. In the last 3 years, at least one of our beers has been among the top 5 best-selling beers at almost every beer festival that we have attended according to either organizers or the festival’s Untappd check-ins. And we have expanded our customer base to over 50 bars, mostly in the Helsinki region, in our first year of full production.
4. Our Team
Jason Wolford – Head Brewer - Brewing, Packaging, Inventory, R&D, Design
Mikko Lindqvist – CEO – Chairman of the board, Accounting, Legal Compliance, Sales
Our First Year
Like all new businesses, our first year was full of triumphs and challenges. We had some things go very very right. Our Partnership with CMB Ravintolat has driven sales and helped us greatly, as they purchased our bottling line for us and made us their main craft beer on their chain's tap systems. We have consistently had amazing summer festival sales, allowing for profitable summer months. We opened the 8-Bit Taproom in downtown Helsinki in collaboration with CMB Ravintolat, which has driven sales greatly.
We also achieved our first profitable month in December 2018 without any festival sales. Our first-year expenses were around 180 000 euros and our sales were about 168 000. So, for being understaffed and a start-up, we came very close to breaking even.
We ordered our fermenters from the UK based on a suggestion from a wonderful brewery there who has a style very similar to ours. Their beer was delicious, clean and similar to ours, and they had been using the system for three and a half years with no issues. The company gave us very little information about the details of the system other than quantity and price, but it was affordable, and we knew good beer could be made on it for years. But when the tanks arrived, we were shocked to find that they were English real ale tanks that don't seal at the top and don't have a draining port above the trub line. We found out that the brewery who suggested we purchase from them had received used fermenters from them made by another company and was just using their brewhouse and brite tanks. As a result of these open tanks, our beers when in primary fermentation are open to the outside air. This allows oxygen contamination as well as wild yeast to get into our system making proper quality control and product consistency pretty much impossible. Our keg beer is mostly fine, but the shelf life of our bottles if not refrigerated has been only a few weeks. As a result of that, we have discontinued bottle production till the tanks are welded closed. When we first opened, our plan was to immediately retrofit the tanks before we used them, knowing this would be an issue.
Right as we were dealing with this problem, one of our founding partners had to leave the company. So instead of the planned team of 3 we were down to 2 people running the business. Working 70 plus hours each week, with two of us, we have been able to only produce and sell enough beer to barely break even from month to month and have not been able to make the money needed to upgrade the fermenters. We have also not had enough time to open our shop, make sales outside of Helsinki, or begin to push into the grocery store and Alko market. We need extra staff to be able to do all of these things.
Dealing with our open tank-based quality issues has forced us to close production two times in 2019 to bring in consultants and try and help us get our bottle shelf life where it needs to be to go after shops. Other brewers, professional biologists and food quality management professionals have verified for us that our brewery is high quality and that our process is impeccable, but that until we weld the tanks shut, we simply can't have the quality and consistency that we are looking for. Not having bottles available and closing production a couple times has put us from breaking even to about 25 000 euros behind which we currently owe to our suppliers and have to pay before we can get resources to brew again. In the absence of investment, July 17th we will have brewed the last batch we can afford to make without money for additional brewing materials. We hope to make enough at the July beer festivals (last year we made 28 000 in sales) to pay of a large chunk of our current outstanding invoices, but after that we will still need to replenish our runway capital for a few months as we retrofit the tanks and find qualified staff.
7. Shifting Market
A different Finland
When we first came up with this idea, there were 36 breweries in Finland. By the time we opened, there were 90. Now there are over 100. While the total craft beer segment of the market continues to grow as expected, there is more competition than ever, and it is harder to break through. We are very well established in the Helsinki bar market, but our sales have been an uphill fight. Breweries that opened 4 or 5 years ago had customers calling them and they exceeded sales expectations simply by being open. When we were in the planning phases, other brewers assured us that we would have no problem moving our product, but we entered the market in a very different situation than them, and each client is the result of forming a relationship and sitting down with beer samples. In order to move product consistently, we need a full-time sales representative to maintain regular relationships with bar and store managers.
8. Remaining Open Markets
In 2018 we came close to breaking even and we did that with selling just to bars in the capital region and going to beer festivals. We still have many central region bars to sell to. We were just recently approved as a supplier to the S-Ryhmä restaurants (the largest restaurant operator in Finland), but have not made any sales to them yet. We have not been to Alko, we have not been in grocery stores or shops, we do not have our own brewery shop, we have done no exporting, and we have not had regular sales outside of the capital region. Given all of these available markets that a full-time sales rep could open up for us, there is still massive room for growth.
9. Improvements and Growth
For the last year and a half, Mikko and Jason have bravely held the line while fighting our open fermenter and staff issues and have managed to keep the company above water. But we have determined that without some additional assistance and resources, we cannot continue. We are currently raising capital with 3 goals.
- Retro-fit our fermentation vessels to make them sealed standard craft beer tanks, which will immediately double our beer quality and make our bottles viable for shops.
- Purchase two more carbonation tanks to double the brewery’s maximum capacity.
- Add a steam condenser to our boil kettle to make our brewery a completely sealed system from beginning to end.
These things will increase the shelf life and consistency of our product line, while also giving us the ability to produce up to 100 000 liters of beer per year.
The other breweries that have already opened their shops are reporting very high volume sales levels, sometimes as high as full batches of beer sold directly to the public in a single afternoon. Reports are that we can move between 4 000 and 11 000 euros worth of beer from our own shop each month. This, and having the tanks sealed, would immediately make us a profitable company. Having the ability to sell to the public will also allow us to implement our planned expansion of renting our portable keg units and selling kegs for corporate events and private parties.
A Sales Rep
The day to day operations of the brewery and keeping up with our existing client base is taking all of our time. We currently have massive market segments left completely untapped because we lack the staff to reach them. We have attempted for 9 months to find a partner who can come on to do sales and distribution full time, but the people who have tried have had to keep their full-time jobs and also do our sales. That hasn't been enough time to reach the volumes we need to make enough profit to pay them. So, we need capital to bring on a full-time sales representative that can begin to break us into the untapped markets that Finland still has to offer us.
10. Leveling Up
We have spent years establishing this brewery and developing a reputation for quality in the local industry. But with our current staff and resources, we have hit a growth plateau. We are hoping that you will see the potential for growth and greatness in our product and vision and help us to level up. By increasing our capacity and quality we can ensure that we have plentiful high-end beer to meet the demands and growth that we expect to see. By opening up our own shop, we will instantly gain thousands of euros each month in additional low-labor, high-profit sales that will put us safely in the black each month. And by bringing a full-time qualified sales representative onto our team, we can increase our current sales efforts by a factor of 4 and begin to truly cement our position as one of the top breweries in Finland.
11. Your Investment
We need a minimum of 60 000 euros to make all of this happen. We are taking pledges for investment right now. For 100 euros, you can own a share of 8-Bit Brewing and be a part of our future success. For 500 euros or more, you will receive a permanent 10% discount at our brewery shop when it opens, and also an invite to our annual owners’ party. We aren't going to take anybody's money till the 60 000 threshold is reached, so if you pledge, the sale won't go through till after we reach that point. We don't want to take 20 000 of people's money, not be able to fix everything, and then just close in 4 months. Once we reach 60000 euros, we will take your sale in the form of a temporary convertible equity loan, then file the appropriate paperwork with the government to generate additional shares equal to the quantity that people pledge. Within 8 to 12 weeks of the sale, your convertible equity loan will be converted to shares at our current valuation of 550 000 euros.
We know that our beer and our brand are great. We are creative and have a strong work ethic. We believe this investment will be worth your time and money, and that we can make this brewery something spectacular. Please invest in us and share this with anybody you know who would be interested in contributing to this dream. Thank you.
An in-depth look at our financial situation or a tour of our facilities are available on request for potential investors. Just contact Jason@8bitbrewing.fi