If you invest, you're betting Soulmate Brewing Company will be worth more than $4.95M in the future.
Still standing after all these…no, not beers, OBSTACLES! So many obstacles we could and probably should write a book at some point about what it has been like to try to open a brewery during a pandemic. Which leads us to…ROUND TWO! It’s been a wild journey Soulmates. We are not going to change the name of the brewery but if we were, a few names we were considering include Perseverance, Tenacity, Can Do, Never Quit, Achieve, and Keep Calm and Carry On!
Whether you are new to investing or are looking to expand your portfolio, we invite you to learn more about our story. We truly believe you will want to be a part of the Soulmate journey with us.
For those of you new to Soulmate Brewing, here are some details about our journey thus far:
We completed our business plan pre-Covid with a goal to open Soulmate utilizing a 3bbl system in a building we own in Morrisville Vermont. As we conducted our due diligence for equipment options, we simultaneously wrapped up the offering document for Wefunder. Before we knew it, Covid had reached our shores. Despite all of the challenges Covid delivered, 136 investors joined us on our journey.
Much has changed since we completed our initial business plan and the first Wefunder round closed. We have always known that in business, to succeed and exceed we have to adapt to the environment we are working in and adjust accordingly so we can achieve our goals. And so, we did.
But before we dive in, I want to share the story behind the Soulmate name. Like so many people, Carol and I met after previous long-term relationships ended. On our first date, we knew immediately that we were soulmates who had been dancing around the universe separately until the stars aligned and brought us together. We have enjoyed finding off the beaten path breweries all over the place and meeting people who love to do the same. What we love the most about our visits to breweries near and far is that everyone is always happy and having a great time. This inspired us to create Soulmate Brewery, a place where people come as friends and leave as soulmates, just like we did.
What Has Remained the Same?
Our commitment to be a brand everyone can enjoy is stronger than ever. We are excited about our future and even more excited to share the experience with all of you by building a brand with the goal of having a return for everyone who believed in us. We will strive to be a multi-experience operation.
What Has Changed?
After hours of research and consulting with well-established beer brand owners, brewers, architects, and engineers during Covid, we decided to purchase a much larger 15bbl Prospero steam system with 6 fermenters and 2 bright tanks and here is why:
Why Change is Good
With renovations to the equipment area under way, we discovered a hidden area under the roofline that originally served as storage for the hardware store dating back to the 1800’s. This hidden gem now offers an observation area overlooking the brewing operations below. With this discovery, we will have a second area approximately 1200 square feet that can be used as a lounge, conference area and special events area to enjoy our brews. We have already had several phone calls inquiring about renting the space! Having this second space will allow for more outdoor seating as well.
The upstairs lounge will be completed after we open our doors as finishing this space was not in our original budget, however, we are well on our way to completing this wonderful new space. We think you will really enjoy the warm and inviting space that has been created out of many repurposed materials that came directly from the teardown. Picture 100-year-old wide plank woods in a variety of tones covering the walls with custom live edge cherry bar tops and hints of antique and industrial touches throughout. Truly one of a kind.
Even with the exciting upstairs discovery, our priority is to open the primary tasting room which is completed and furnished with thirteen taps and a two-zone wine kegerator to serve two reds and two white wines at the perfect temperature.
To make things even more exciting for Soulmate Brewing and our investors, Morrisville has been the fastest growing Vermont town 13+ years in a row. Since our first round closed, there are over 500 additional residential units being built within walking distance of the brewery. In addition to a town filled with industry including Copley Hospital, Concept 2, TurtleFur, MSI, Hearthstone, and Butternut Farms, two major American corporations, Marshalls and CVS, opened in the last few years. There are many great things going on in our town in support of our business.
Green and Clean
Recycling at its finest! We have 5 local farmers who will take our spent grain and use it to feed their livestock. These same farms will take our byproducts from our fermenters and use them to compost.
Making beer requires a lot of cleaning. Cleaning requires a lot of water. Utilizing my naval engineering experiences, we came up with some solutions to accomplish green practices.
We purchased highly efficient, self-contained cleaning units to sanitize our equipment after production so we can recapture our chemicals for reuse until they are no longer capable of cleaning. When this happens, we will neutralize them and send them to be recycled at waste processing plants.
We purchased a reverse osmosis system to serve multi purposes for our brewing operation.
We will process the tank rinsing water to remove sugars and minerals prior to introducing sterilization chemicals. This will create an opportunity to make one-off beers as well as supply our local farmers with additional composting materials. Water stripped of sugar and minerals is a blank slate for us to create beer flavors that reflect regions all around the world.
We will also be stripping water used for sanitizing. This water can be reused for additional cleaning with a goal to eventually design a grey water system to flush our toilets. Reusing water that we have already paid for is a great way to save money while saving resources.
Since our brewery was not open when Covid arrived, we were excluded from many of the Covid grants and low interest loans that were made available to the hospitality industry. We had multiple calls with our congressional representatives’ aids and our congressman, but they would not include verbiage in their bills to include businesses who were in the process of opening at the time. All that aside, we found other grant funds and incentives in programs that we qualified for. We are excited to share with you the results of our efforts as we were awarded four grants/incentives totaling $130,600.
One grant of $40,000 was from efficiency Vermont. After a review of our potential energy consumption, this grant allowed us to purchase high efficiency motors which will reduce our overall cost to operate.
An $82,00 grant was awarded to us once we demonstrated two things: how our business would have a positive impact on our community, and how the pandemic impacted our opening through supply chain issues. Along with our own substantial documentation, the state required a letter from our town administrator attesting to the work we had completed along with how our business will positively impact our community. The state also required a letter from our county economic development office reiterating the positive impact our business will have in the Morrisville community.
We also received two smaller grants in the amount of $5,000 and $3,600 for the purchase of equipment.
From our first round at Wefunder, our goal was to be a debt free company. Covid changed many things but did not change our desire to be debt free. Our goal is to raise $550,000 in this round with 60% of it going to retire debt and 40% towards completing the second lounge and operations.
SBA loans while widely advertised for their long term and low interest rates were just about impossible to get as the banks were focused on PPP Covid loans. We applied but the wait time for approvals went beyond what we could reasonably work with to accomplish our goals.
In the end we worked with a nonprofit organization in Vermont to secure the bulk of the funding for the remaining equipment, and Carol and I increased our investment into Soulmate in the form of a loan for the rest. As mentioned above, our goal to be a debt free company has not changed. With your new or continued support we can pay off the main loan. While Carol and I would like to repay our portion as well, we have a lot more flexibility than a lending institution so our loan to the company is not a high priority.
When Soulmate is ready, we have two causes near and dear to our hearts that we want to give back to.
Patriot Starter ™ Soulmates don’t just have to be husband and wife, husband and husband or wife and wife. My best friend Scott R McHugh was my male soulmate, like a twin brother. We met in High School when I moved from New Jersey to Florida. We both served in the US Navy after graduation at different duty stations and Scott stayed in the reserves after active duty. His reserve unit was sent to Iraq and ten days later we were notified he was killed along with other members in his NMCB 14 unit. It was the largest casualty the US navy had since Vietnam. Scott was a paramedic who loved his family, friends, animals and went into a career to help people.
Another gentle soul and great friend was Jeff Thorson who served in the US navy with me in Sardinia, Italy. Jeff was a journalist on our ship who found himself years later in full army gear out in the action on patrols. Jeff, like Scott, stayed on in the reserves and was called to Afghanistan. Jeff was able to physically handle the job but it took a toll on him emotionally. Ours was a friendship that lasted until Jeff had a fatal allergic reaction between PTSD medication and an over-the-counter cold medicine.
Patriot Starter ™ is my tribute to my brothers who are gone but never forgotten. The intent is to provide mentorship as well as financial and logistical assistance to injured Veterans and first responders for an existing or new business startup. This opportunity would also be available to the families of these brave men and women who didn’t come home at the end of a shift.
With financial donations from people like you as well as proceeds from our patriot tribute line of drinks and clothing, we can support these brave people and their loved ones.
Real Men Rescue ® In addition to our love for each other, we absolutely love animals, rescue animals and the people who rescue, foster, and adopt rescue animals. After fostering and adopting many dogs and cats over the years, I noticed that there were very few men involved in the whole process. A volunteer I worked with once said, “it takes a real man to step up for this kind of work”. Proceeds from our pet-themed beer line will help with the many costs associated with rescuing animals from kill shelters.
The Bottom Line
There is so much to be proud of to date. When the checkered flag waves at the completion of our renovations and equipment installation, the green flag will wave as we hit the ground running full speed ahead with production and marketing.
Speaking of full speed ahead, we are in the process of wrapping up the electrical upgrade to our transformer which will provide the necessary power for our brewhouse and chiller. While all of this has been in progress, we have been brewing beer on our half barrel pilot system. Training on the brand-new brewing system will occur as soon as the electrical work is completed. At this point we are very close to opening and should be able to narrow down the window to opening in the next few weeks.
Beer Industry by the Numbers
Take a look at the incredible outlook for the craft beer industry as things rebound from the Covid related dip.
Industry Fast Facts
Market Share of Brewers – 2021
The share of the market among brewers and importers has changed significantly over the past ten years. Since 2011, the top two brewers have lost a 17% share of the market. The next group of brewers gained 12% of the market, and the remaining “All Other” group gained 5%. The continued growth in small breweries and new innovations in styles and brands makes the U.S. beer market a dynamic and competitive industry.
Source: Beer Marketer’s Insights, 2022
Beer is the Preferred Beverage of Choice
According to the Gallup Poll, 67% of people (two out of every three people) consume alcohol. Although there have been articles about widespread shifts of legal drinkers from beer to spirits or wine, the annual Gallup survey has shown remarkable stability in consumer preferences for alcohol consumption over the past decade. In 2022, beer remains the preferred beverage of most 21 and older consumers.
Craft beer continues to take market share from the top industry leaders. The opportunity for Soulmate Brewing Company to grow and expand nationally and internationally fits with our goals to launch our brand in Vermont and expand our reach across the United States. Come join us on the journey!