Major Fundraising Update--Location Search Begins

City-State raised $140,000 in June. After months of finding investors one by one at the $10,000 minimum, we finally broke through with a huge month. With additional firm commitments of at least $125,000, our June total puts us over $500,000. All of a sudden we are more than halfway there, and ready to start negotiating in earnest on a location. 

We're working with an excellent real estate team, but if you know of a great industrial property in the District of Columbia, please get in touch with us. 


Duty to the Dream

I brewed beer on Sunday. I didn't want to. There is something recently and as yet unknown wrong with my right foot [update--there is some foreign object 1/2" deep in the ball of my foot, and I'll be having surgery the week of July 4 to get it out]. Standing or walking is painful--basically like someone has been whacking my right sole and then left a stone in there. Brewing takes me 7-9 hours including cleanup, and is mostly standing and walking, punctuated by lifting and carrying. It is physical, and though it is not strenuous aside from a few heavy lifts, brewing beer is certainly not the rest and ice which my foot was pleading for.  

The beer had to be made. We are down to our last keg of 8 Wards Independent Pale Ale after two events. The first was a tasting with prospective investors at WeWork Crystal City, where our new partner Nick Freshman and Mothersauce Partners have an office. It yielded good leads and positive response on the beer from those invited and the uninitiated public--because the WeWork is also a WeLive, and building residents were entitled to attend. We knew this going in. I expect any event to have a small number of real investor leads--making haystacks to to find needles, as I've said--and anyone I talked to is at least a potential future customer and City-State supporter. Some were so enthusiastic that they helped themselves whenever the taps were unattended. 

That spirit drove our second recent event--hosting a stop on the annual Brookland House and Garden tour. When the Brookland Garden Club asked us to be on this year's tour, we were flattered and nervous about the work involved, and because my life is raising money for City-State, also saw it as an opportunity to tell a lot of people about the brewery. 

About 500 people must have come through my house and yard that day, and I pitched every one of them on City-State. We have a stainless steel kegerator inside the patio door, so everyone who came in from garden got a welcome, a little patter, business cards, a sticker, and tastes of beer. We had the 8 Wards, Equal Marriage, and the Brookland on tap--the Brookland's label features my lime-green house. 

When the tour started, it was small groups which I could take through the house, end at the kegerator, and let them into the garden. Then new people were appearing in every room started encountering new people in every room, and then, and I mean this in the best possible way, it became like a friendly zombie movie, with smiling people pouring in through all entrances. I would come downstairs and find them parked in front of the kegerator, pulling full glasses of beer. So my station became the kegerator, and I gave over the rest of our home to the happy masses. Yes, hundreds of strangers were browsing unsupervised through our home, but my first duty was to the beer. Though their numbers were overwhelming, everyone who came through was enthusiastic and complimentary. We kicked two kegs, generated two decent leads, and, I hope, created a lot of goodwill for the brand and some future customers. It was a fine day of haystack making. 

Hurt foot or no, I had to make more beer on Sunday. Beer has its own demands. It requires time and forward planning, as each batch takes a minimum of two weeks to be ready to serve. We have an event scheduled for mid-July and are working to line up others, so we need more beer on hand. 

The brewing went well--I'll document the process in another post--and was unremarkable except for the shooting pains in my foot. Many people deal with worse every day, but pushing through 8 hours of high discomfort to make a batch of homebrewed beer marks the day this pursuit shed any semblance of being a hobby or avocation. Brewing is not yet my profession, as I'm not earning any money from it, but it is my now duty. Without the beer, I will not have City-State. Iwill do a lot with uncertain returns--like pitching 500 visitors on a garden tour--but I will grab every opportunity that can possibly advance our cause. We are starting City-State Brewing Co., and we won't stop.  

Brewery on Paper, Looking for Paper

My name is James Warner, and I am City-State Brewing Company in the District of Columbia. We have a killer brand, graphics, trademarks, and beer I make at home for sampling. To sell it, I need to build a brewery.

I am working to start City-State in DC. My vision is a production brewery and cultural institution for the District. I've raised a few hundred thousand dollars and put in a hundred thousand of my own. The purpose of my life is finding the rest. 

Until I do, we are a brewery on paper, a phrase that is literal in two ways. City-State exists in the operating agreement, SEC-compliant Private Placement Memorandum, business plan and cash flow model that we use to raise money and plan, as well as in the trademarks we own. We also exist on the paper of the labels we've designed for model bottles, and on the stickers and coasters we made for potential investors as tangible evidence--along with sample beer--of our work.

There is no science to raising money, no proven method. To find more investors, we just have to keep generating leads, attention, and enthusiasm to finish taking City-State from paper to bricks and mortar. I call this making haystacks to find needles, or generating noise to find signal. That's what this blog is about--our work to make City-State a physical reality, and our lives as we get there.  In the meantime, I will keep selling others' beer at top craft distributor Legends, Ltd.

City-State Brewing Company. Build it or bust.  

If you're reading this and are interested, please contact us to learn more.

More to come.