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Best Practices for Crowdfunding your Meadery

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The last few months I have analyzed the successful meadery Kickstarter projects, posting separate entries on each of the companies who have successfully secured backing (first post here). The series to me has opened up my eyes on the possibilities to make mead professionally, as the biggest barrier to entry in the market is the up front funding required. Below I have encapsulated some of the best practices that were identified during this initial analysis, specifically focusing on the items most likely to be funded on Kickstarter. Actually managing and running a Kickstarter project is a whole other topic (or series) on its own, and I may tackle this topic later with some updates to the initial guide. And if you haven’t seen it, the entire article series was published in the latest American Mead Maker Journal. Pretty cool!


Best Practices

Comparing the seven successful meadery Kickstarter projects has its limitations, so making direct analyses is difficult. Some of the success may be owed to popularity of the meadery owners, professionalism of the Kickstarter project, or sheer dumb luck at the time of founding. However, there are some important conclusions that can be drawn when looking at the individual projects.

Tickets, tours, and tastings. 

The popularity of Algomah Acres’ ticket invitation is similar to that of Bos Meadery’s tour and tasting, where both of these funding tiers received the most support for their respective projects.

Knickknacks pave the way. 

The Leaky Roof Meadery and Golden Coast Mead projects showed the popularity of stickers, t-shirts, glassware, and honey. Melovino’s project suggests that glassware is more valuable than t-shirts to backers, as many more backers purchased these items.  However the small sample size available cannot definitively say that glassware is more popular. (Anecdotally, I like to collect craft brewing pint glasses. I personally would not make a major push to collect logo-embossed wine glasses. Similarly, most of my beergeek friends collect pint glasses. Thus, for those making low alcohol meads, glassware should be in your Kickstarter project, as I expect the trend to follow for session meads.)

Avoid all inclusive funding levels to spread support. 

The Leaky Roof Meadery and Melovino Meadery mix and match options (funding tiers were not inclusive of prior levels, but instead specific items were offered) may be worth considering for future projects, as it spread support across a wide range of funding levels and provides improved options for a backer to purchase exactly what he or she wants.

Consider mead club membership options.

Bee Well Meadery’s concept of an exclusive membership option was unique to their project. It is important to note this idea received the greatest number of backers and most funding in Bee Well Meadery’s project. If a meadery is considering having a wine club in its future, providing an enhanced membership option to crowdfunding supporters may be a great idea.

If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again. 

The Vanaheim Gold projects show that even if a project is unsuccessful in its first go around, that does not mean it cannot find supporters in a subsequent project. A willingness to test the market seek crowd-sourced funding builds a sense of community from the project’s backers, and can only help with early promotion of the meadery.

Design your project with tiers for all funding levels. 

When designing a Kickstarter project, the range of funding options should be considered. Although some of these projects benefited from large donors purchasing the most expensive items, a large amount of support comes from low priced items. In addition, those who purchase low priced items might be the ones who shared the project with the donors purchasing the higher priced options. Therefore it is important to remember that providing funding options that all potential backers may be necessary to garner extensive support. Also note that according to the successful project owners, funding tiers less than $50 may not cover the distribution costs, but are fantastic for raising awareness and building a community to advertise your product for you.



The seven meaderies showcased in this article series present the only successful crowdfunded meadery project data points currently available. Further analysis of the unsuccessful projects may shed additional light on what items truly are most popular among backers, but are not included in this analysis for brevity. Additional research in winery, brewery, and distillery projects may also yield important trends between the beverage markets. Nonetheless, the crowdfunding concepts presented here may not guarantee success for a new crowdfunding project. However, they are worth considering if a small amount of funds are needed to bring your new product to market.


Crowdfunding your Meadery, Part 5: Golden Coast Mead

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This is a continuation of our Crowdfunding your Meadery series, examining the funding tiers of successful mead Kickstarter projects to identify commonality between funding levels and determine what items are most likely to be purchased by a project’s backers. For a list of articles in this series, see the first article here. In this article, we will examine the Golden Coast Mead Kickstarter project, which can be found here.

GCM_WEBlogoGolden Coast Mead, started by three young entrepreneurs, Frank Golbeck, Joe Colangelo, and Praveen Ramineni, began in 2010 by leasing equipment and borrowing space to create 70 gallon batches one at a time. Their ingredients are locally sourced using orange blossom honey and water from Palomar Mountain Spring in San Diego. In May of 2012, they had realized the demand for their mead was greater than they could meet through their production space, and the three began their Kickstarter project.

Golden Coast sought $19,906 to purchase the necessary meadery equipment to move into their own brewing space. This included one bond for a winemaking license, two 150 gallon fermenting tanks, three 300 gallon flex tanks, one 300 gallon bright tank, eight hoses, one pump, one compressor, and a used forklift. The funding tier options included 11 separate funding tiers, starting at $1 for a mention on twitter to their 6,000-plus followers, up to $5,000 to have a bottled named and label designed in the backers honor.

During the course of the 60 day project, Golden Coast Mead received $20,471 from 172 backers, beating the funding goal by 3%. Details concerning the funding tiers, number of backers who supported the funding tiers, and the total amount of funding per funding tier can be found in the figures below.

Raw data of Golden Coast Mead’s Kickstarter project.
Raw data of Golden Coast Mead’s Kickstarter project.
Analysis of the backers and total funding received per funding tier for Golden Coast Mead’s Kickstarter project.
Analysis of the backers and total funding received per funding tier for Golden Coast Mead’s Kickstarter project.

Three of the Golden Coast funding tiers garnered support from more than 30 backers each (tiers 4 through 6). These funding levels, inclusive of the funding tiers less expensive than them, included a founder sticker and t-shirt for $25, founder pint glass for $50, and a 12 ounce jar of Golden Coast’s honey for $100. However, despite constituting the most popular items, combined these three options only accounted for 33% of the total funding received from the project.

Funding tier 7, priced at $500 for a permanent founder’s plaque, an invitation to the launch party, and a free tour and mead tasting, provided the most funding to the completed project, totaling $6,000 of support from 12 backers. Funding tier 8, including the backer’s name on a cask to be opened at a local gastropub received $4,000 from 4 backers. Funding tier 9, which included the backer’s name and portrait on one of the six production tanks financed through the Kickstarter project, received $2,700 from 2 backers.

Golden Coast Mead’s Kickstarter project provides valuable insight concerning the most popular funding items (stickers, t-shirts, pint glasses and honey), but they still received the largest amount of funding from a smaller number of backers willing to provide a larger sum of money for a more exclusive reward.

Have we identified a trend here? Does a successful project result in large numbers of backers purchasing low priced items, spreading the word about the project to the catch the eye of the high rolling backers who are mostly interested in the exclusive, high priced items? Check back later in the week to find out as we continue our Crowdfunding your Meadery series, examining Leaky Roof Meadery’s Kickstarter project, which can be found here.