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Oklahoma City-area breweries try hand at online fundraising

Roughtail Brewing Co. and Black Mesa Brewing Co. use online Kickstarter projects in search for funding.
BY NICK TROUGAKOS Published: January 12, 2013

“We would love to pay for our canning operation through crowd-funding, and we believe that it would make a tremendous statement about the desire for great local beer in Oklahoma,” Tielli said. “If it doesn't happen now then we will figure out how to get the canning line up and running eventually, whatever it takes.”

Black Mesa Brewing's Brad Stumph said his team was drawn to Kickstarter because they had seen other breweries use the tool successfully.

“We found examples of nanobrewery projects getting funded across the country,” Stumph said. “The idea that project backers are willing to make micro-investments in their local creative community in exchange for some initial swag is liberating for project creators and backers.”

Black Mesa is seeking $17,990 to pay for eight months of brewing time at the OKCity Brewing Cooperative. Stumph and brewmaster Chris Sanders have already produced two commercial beers out of OKCity — a blonde ale and a style known as extra-special bitter — and felt having product on the market could boost their chances at Kickstarter success.

“Chris and I both felt that we had to give potential backers at least one example of what we are capable of before asking for their support,” Stumph said, citing Black Mesa Blonde, which was released to market in August. Their second beer, Black Mesa ESB, was released Jan. 1.

As of Friday afternoon, Black Mesa had received pledges of $3,995 from 38 backers. Their deadline is 11:59 p.m. Jan. 27. They're offering prizes ranging from stickers and posters to brewing lessons.

Stumph said their Kickstarter project was months in the making, and the fact that it coincides with Roughtail's project is coincidental. He said they would like to celebrate two Kickstarter wins by the end of the month — for themselves and Roughtail.

Tielli said the Kickstarter experience has been worthwhile.

“Regardless if we are successful in funding our project we feel like Kickstarter, and crowd-funding in general, is a great way to get the community involved in helping small business,” he said.

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