While American craft beer has often been called a small business renaissance, that doesn't mean that entry into the business is a cheap initial investment. Brewing space and equipment can push start-up costs well north of six figures and beyond. This prohibitive figure often means that some of the very best beers and some of the most creative minds in American brewing are in the homebrewing category.
Contract brewing -- the practice whereby a brewery offers their equipment and manpower to brew another company's beer -- is nothing new to the beer industry, and has allowed many small companies without brewery or with limited production space of their own to expand and grow.
A new Houston enterprise -- Brewery Incubator -- wants to take the concept a step further by downsizing and offering a small commercial brewery space to start-ups and homebrewers alike. With access to Brewery Incubator's commercial brewing system as well as a tasting room, small breweries can work on developing their product and showcasing their beers in a private venue. A planned taproom at Brewery Incubator would also allow small brewers to bring their beers directly to customers and receive direct and instant feedback.
This isn't entirely new business project, just a new direction for the already successful Kitchen Incubator. With commercial kitchen space for rent, Kitchen Incubator --founded by Houston entrepreneur Lucrece Borrego -- provides cooks with access to facilities and services they may not have been able to facilitate on their own. The space has already served as the launching pad for several successful Houston food businesses including Kickin' Kombucha, Offenbacher Fudge, Porch Swing Desserts and Bravado Spice Company.
Brewery Incubator would also serve to help showcase Downtown's steadily growing north side -- anchored by Market Square Park -- by adding one more destination to the list of existing bars and eateries, not to mention the handful of other openings planned in the area over the next few months.
By using Kickstarter to fund the initial costs for Brewery Incubator, Borrego hopes to raise a minimum of $25,000 to purchase brewing equipment. Excess of the goal will be used to help build a tap room. For those not familiar with Kickstarter, the crowd-funding website allows companies to seek investors by setting a monetary goal and selling their concept or product to the general public.
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The Brewery Incubator kickstarter is currently about $4000 shy of its goal with less than 48 hours remaining. Because Kickstarter works on an "all or nothing" scenario, if the project does not reach its set goal, the funding will not go forward.
Because the project is so close to it's goal, Borrego has planned a "Race to the Finish" bottle share party Thursday night. Offering entry to the party and bottle share for a starting donation of $5, the project hopes to insure its success with one last push. Five dollars for a chance to fund new Houston breweries and drink rare beer sounds like a deal to us.