For more than a decade, Boise was a brewpub city with four options for fresh suds: The Ram, TableRock, Highlands (or Harrison) Hollow and Sockeye. Stop by, get a meal and drink a few beers, and maybe leave with a growler.
This paradigm radically shifted last year with the introduction of two production-only breweries, Payette and Crooked Fence, which have tasting rooms but do most of their business selling kegs to local bars and restaurants. The Treasure Valley has at least two more production breweries set to come on line later this year Slanted Rock Brewing in Meridian and Kilted Dragon in Garden City.
Both of those models are traditional ways to start a beer biz. You give them money, they give you beer in return. The owners got loans or had the cash to establish the business.
The next wave of the craft beer business about to hit Boise is just a little bit different than that.
The newest beer destination in town will be Bogus Brewing Idahos first community-supported brewery. Drinkers and craft beer comrades of the world unite! All we have to lose is our chains!
A kickstarter campaign to raise the $30,000 needed to cover part of the startup costs for Bogus Brewing ended in success last week, with 223 contributors providing $30,992 in seed money.
(Kickstarter.com is a website where you ask the public for money for a cause or business and generally offer something in return for a donation. Its been used to start finances on films and create charitable foundations.)
Those folks who contributed to Bogus Brewing will get a variety of stuff.
For instance, people who contributed $10 or more get their names inscribed on the wall of the brewery building when that space is rented, owner Collin Rudeen said. For contributions of $25 or more, the gift is an exclusive window decal. Fifty dollars got donors a T-shirt, and $150 earned contributors a cycling jersey or exclusive access to guinea pig nights, where you will get to sample new beers and talk to Rudeen about what beers Bogus Brewing should be making.
For $300, donors got a one-year membership to Bogus Brewing, including a monthly growler fill (when the brewery finally opens) for a year, all kinds of access to brewers and a vote on what kind of beer to make next. Of the 223 backers, 14 people are part of this Founders Club.
OK, its not really communism or socialism, although the thought of that in Idaho is just a lot of fun. Kickstarter.com is just a new way to ask people for money. Rudeen says this $30,000 will be used to rent some space for the building (he has a few places he is checking out in Garden City, which might as well change its name to Craft Beer City) and pay some people back who have invested time and money in his idea.
The rest of the funding for Bogus Brewing, including operating income, will come from a traditional bank loan, Rudeen said.
The kickstarter campaign gives me a chance to help people who have been working for free and giving us some operating cash to get started, Rudeen said.
The kickstarter campaign had been going for several weeks and got to the $30,000 goal on the last day, with a few hours to spare. It seemed to gain momentum last week as Boise beer nuts took the cause to Twitter.
I was pretty nervous, Rudeen said. Its really hard to tell why it came together the last week, but it sure feels like social media was a big part of it.
Rudeen, an engineer by trade, has been homebrewing for eight years on a pretty elaborate home system. He quit his engineering job about a year ago, did some traveling and tried to figure out what to do next. A visit to a friends just-opened craft beer store in Washington inspired him to come back to Boise and go all-in on craft beer. He also spent some time visiting several craft-brewing operations in Washington to get a feel for the business.
Rudeen already has three recipes dialed in for staple beers the Down Down Pale Ale, Hard Guy Saison and Hip Check IPA but says his brewery will emphasize a rotating cast of new and ever-evolving brews inspired by customers, especially those who buy yearly memberships.
Rudeen hopes to have a space leased, financing done and a 10-barrel brewing system in place by early 2013.
Every homebrewer dreams of opening their own brewery one day, Rudeen said. When I started thinking about this, I didnt realize all these other breweries were in planning (such as Crooked Fence and Slanted Rock). But look at Bend (Ore.) or Fort Collins (Colo.). There is room for more in Boise.
I like the idea of the spirit of the company being small. I want the tap room to be the heart and soul of the brewery, based on a close relationship with the customers.
Patrick Orr: 377-6219. Twitter: @IDS_Beer
Patrick Orrs beer column runs the first Friday of the month.