Stillwater Founder Seeks Nearly $2 Million for Side Project

After announcing plans last summer to open a Brooklyn fermentation facility, the founder of Stillwater Artisanal is attempting to raise $1.8 million via a revenue-sharing crowdfunding campaign and an equity sale for a new side project.

Slated to open inside a 6,000 sq. ft. warehouse in Greenpoint this fall, the offshoot, called Production, will serve as an “experimental fermentation facility,” bar, restaurant, event space and music venue, Stillwater founder Brian Strumke told Brewbound.

“We’re not going to have a traditional brew system,” he explained. “We’re going to have fermenters and some wood barrels for aging beers, but we’re not going to have the actual brew system.

“It’s just going to be for me to do small-batch special projects,” he continued. “It’s not going to be consuming any of the production that I do for Stillwater.”

As of press time, Strumke has raised $4,210 of his $1 million goal via GrowthFountain, a Securities and Exchange Commission-approved third-party crowdfunding portal. The minimum to invest in Production is $100, and investors will receive 5 percent of its gross revenues — up to two times their original investment until it is repaid. The company declined to share how much equity it is offering investors through the sale of Class B shares.

Production will operate as a stand alone beer brand, separate from Stillwater, which Strumke founded in 2010.

“Stillwater has always been such a personal endeavor and artistically led project,” he said. “To keep it free — and since I’m the only one who has control over it — I like to let it be wild and do its own thing. The move with Production is about creating a more traditional brand that translates beyond beer. Beer is kind of the gateway into the marketplace; it’s really set up to collaborate with other food producers and various lifestyle products and high-end food experiments.”

Strumke added that the plan is to brew the liquid at a yet-to-be-determined brewery in either New York or Connecticut, and then ferment the wort in Brooklyn. Production will then sell “a few hundred barrels” of mixed-fermentation and wood-aged sour ales in large-format bottles.

The long-term goal, however, is to open a an off-site brewing facility for Production and possibly Stillwater beers.

Production will also make non-alcoholic drinks such as kombucha as well as other fermented food products like pickles and sourdough bread, Strumke said.

“I just want to get my hands into other avenues of creation,” he added.

In an effort to “represent the brand” in the marketplace, a small amount of Production’s beer will be sold through Stillwater’s master distributor, 12 Percent Imports, Strumke said.

Stillwater, which sold 12,000 barrels of beer across 38 U.S. states and in various international markets, currently produces its offerings at Connecticut’s Two Roads Brewing, Denver’s Sleeping Giant Brewing Company, Massachusetts’ Dorchester Brewing and a handful of international companies. This year, Strumke said he’s hoping to make upwards of 20,000 barrels.

“We’ve just done so much redesign and new product development over the past two years that last year saw us grow about 40 percent,” he said. “We have another drop of new product coming in the next couple months, so I think it could help to ignite another at least 20 percent growth, if not more for this coming year.”

Strumke credited Stillwater’s growth to new products, such as Wavvy, an IPA that the company changes the hops in it monthly, and a series of sour beer made with wine grapes.

“In a day of intense competition, newer products are what sell,” he said.

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