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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 6: Leaky Roof Meadery

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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 Leaky Roof Meadery Kickstarter project, which can be found here.

LeakyRoofMeadLogoLeaky Roof Meadery produces a line of 6.5% alcohol carbonated meads. Leaky Roof’s three founders met working at a small production meadery in Rogersville, MO. However, the business fell through before ever opening its doors, leaving Todd Rock, Jhett Collins, and Andrew Steiger to set off on their own. After searching for a suitable spot for a meadery, the three decided to build in Buffalo, MO.

The Leaky Roof Meadery takes its name from the Kansas City, Clinton and Springfield (KCC&S) Railroad, nicknamed the Leaky Roof Railroad. In the 1870s, plans were drawn up and work was started to run a branch off this railroad up to Buffalo, MO. However, the railroad went bankrupt prior to completion, leaving Buffalo, MO as one of the largest ‘landlocked’ communities to never benefit from the presence of a railroad.

In the initial planning stages, the Leaky Roof Meadery realized demand for their product outstripped their production capability. Thus, they went to Kickstarter to seek the funds necessary to build an expanded canning line that would help them meet market demand.

The Leaky Roof Meadery sought $25,000 to build their new canning line, and offered funding tiers from a $1 “build your own” option, up to $5,000 to name the new canning line. Over the 60 day funding period, the Leaky Roof Meadery raised $25,050 from 160 backers, just barely beating their funding goal. 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 Leaky Roof Meadery’s Kickstarter project.
Raw data of Leaky Roof Meadery’s Kickstarter project.
Analysis of the backers and total funding received per funding tier for Leaky Roof Meadery’s Kickstarter project.
Analysis of the backers and total funding received per funding tier for Leaky Roof Meadery’s Kickstarter project.

The Leaky Roof Meadery project is unique in that they offered most of their items stand-alone, with packages combining the items vs having every subsequent tier including the options from the tiers above them. They further drove this home by providing a “build your own” tier at the $1 level, and listing individual prices for each of the items available. This resulted in six of the sixteen funding tier options receiving at least 13 backers, with the most backers supporting tier 7 and tier 10 with 23 backers each.

The items offered by the Leaky Roof Meadery included coasters, stickers, koozies, pint glasses, tickets to the LRM Grand Opening, a blue “Bringing the Railroad” t-shirt, a Kickstarter only “Track Crew” t-shirt, a Kickstarter edition Growler, founder’s plaques, catered tours, and the option to name the production fermenters and canning line.

The most popular items included a t-shirt, founder’s plaque displayed in the taproom, a ticket to the Grand Opening, and a specialty pint glass. The most funding was received from the canning line sponsor, netting $5,000. The next greatest amount of funding came from the tier 10 level, receiving $2,300, followed closely by tier 14 with $2,000.

The Leaky Roof Meadery’s decision to offer multiple tier options and a build your own plan was met with great success by their backers. This provided the flexibility to purchase exactly what the backer wanted, without throwing money away on the items summed up in the funding tier with the item the backer was most interested in.

But is flexibility the key to financing your meadery through Kickstarter? While inherently this gives backers the option to purchase what they want, they might only purchase a single item vice spending more on multiple items bundled in a single tier.

Check back with us next week as we continue our Crowdfunding your Meadery Series. Next up, Melovino Meadery from New Jersey, whose Kickstarter project can be found here.