High-Tech Terroir: Strike Brewing Co. Launches in Silicon Valley

Strike Brewing Co.Call it high-tech terroir. Drawing inspiration from the technology business for which Silicon Valley is known, a Los Altos, Calif. woman has launched a new brewing operation.

Strike Brewing Co., which officially sent product into the market before the Christmas holiday, is applying some traditional Silicon Valley startup practices to the craft beer business, according to Co-founder Jenny Lewis.

“We are acting exactly like a venture startup,” Lewis said. “We have set this company up to attract the appropriate investors who see potential in the craft beer industry.”

Starting with her initial seed money, Lewis launched the Strike brand in a contract brewing model. But the business plan she wrote calls for a brick-and-mortar facility and additional investors.

“The seed money has allowed us to get the brand off the ground and can keep us going in a contract model for a while,” she said. “But we are really looking for investors who want to be in something other than the tech world.”

Lewis said they are looking to raise between $1 and $2 million during the company’s first round of financing. Once $800,000 is secure, Strike will take out a lease on a location.

“Strike is going to be a medium- to long-term investment,” said Lewis. “It is acknowledged that building a premium brand beer business is not the typical Silicon Valley networking, social media or software play with three-to-five year investment window, IPO or acquisition exit strategy. That did not mean that we could not use aspects of the venture capital model.”

Those aspects? Angel investors, stock options, and series A financing, to name a few.

Strike currently brews under a partnership agreement with Hermitage Brewing in San Jose, Calif. The company has launched with a lower alcohol, “session” lineup, in 6-packs and on draught to a limited number of on-and off-premise accounts.

While the brand begins gaining traction at the consumer level, Lewis said she and her partners are continuing to pitch angel investors, offering restricted stock options.

“We are presenting our investors with preferred shares paying eight percent in an area with substantial market growth potential and an industry growing, nominally, ten percent per year,” she said.

The plan is to open a facility before the end of the year.

The company has secured almost 40 percent of its total capital needs from a handful of investors and Lewis said she is already scouting potential brewery locations in the Los Gatos, Campbell and San Jose areas.

Strike is currently self-distributing four lower ABV styles (Blonde, Brown, Porter and Wit), but Lewis admits she is “definitely” looking to get picked up by a distributor.

“We have that Silicon Valley startup mentality,” said Lewis. “We want to keep growing, and we want to grow quickly.”

Brewbound Job Board

The leading job board for the beer industry. Featuring hundreds of jobs from leading breweries and associated companies.

Brewbound Marketplace Listing

The Brewbound Marketplace features listings for equipment, services, and more. Post a listing today.

Brewbound's Database of Breweries

Brewbound's database of breweries includes thousands of breweries from around the world.

Brewbound Podcast

The Brewbound Podcast features interviews with beer industry executives and entrepreneurs, along with highlights and commentary from the weekly news. New episodes every Thursday.