Tag Archives: Vanaheim gold

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 2: Vanaheim Gold

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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 Vanaheim Gold’s Kickstarter projects, which can be found here: successful project and unsuccessful project.

Vanaheim Gold Logo

Torvald Adolphson, owner and vintner at Wide-in-Wisdom Winery in Bastrop, Texas, didn’t take no for an answer when his first Kickstarter project failed in early 2012. The Wide-in-Wisdom Winery creates its meads under the brand name Vanaheim Gold (website, facebook). According to Adolphson, the Vanaheim Gold name pays homage to the realm of the World Tree where the gods of farming and fertility lived.

Adolphson’s first project funding goal was $10,000, and consisted of six funding tiers, from $25 to $5,000 (project link). During the 30 days of this project, Vanaheim Gold secured $1,121 from 17 backers. A further explanation of the funding tiers used for this unsuccessful project, the number of backers per tier, and a comparison pie chart of how much money was received per tier are shown in the figures below.

Raw data of Vanaheim Gold’s unsuccessful Kickstarter project.
Analysis of the backers and total funding received per funding tier for Vanaheim Gold’s unsuccessful Kickstarter project.
Analysis of the backers and total funding received per funding tier for Vanaheim Gold’s unsuccessful Kickstarter project.

Following his unsuccessful project’s conclusion, Adolphson was undeterred. Just 48 days after the first project, Adolphson sought funding for Vanaheim Gold again, but this time with updated goals, funding tiers, and project duration (project link). The funding goal of the new project was $3,950, and 40 days were allowed for collecting the necessary funds. Adolphson simplified the funding tiers to four levels, starting at $25 and going to $100. By the end of the project, the Kickstarter project had collected $4,502 from 47 backers, beating his funding goal by 14%. Additional details concerning the funding tiers, number of backers who supported the funding tiers, and total amount of funding per funding tier are shown in the figures below.

Vanaheim Gold's Successful Data
Raw data of Vanaheim Gold’s successful Kickstarter project.


Analysis of the backers and total funding received per funding tier for Vanaheim Gold’s successful Kickstarter project.
Analysis of the backers and total funding received per funding tier for Vanaheim Gold’s successful Kickstarter project.

Comparing the two projects, some interesting trends appear. For the unsuccessful project, there were many high ticket items that did not receive any backers. These expensive options included a framed poster of the Vanaheim Gold logo, additional t-shirts to those provided at the lower funding levels, a set of six etched wine glasses, and a personal tasting for the backer and friends. When creating the second project, Adolphson removed these options from his project and simplified the set of items that could be purchased.

The successful project included four funding tiers, of which the first, a $10 option for a certificate of thanks bearing the official Vanaheim Gold logo, did not receive any backers. However, each of the remaining three funding tiers received backers: twenty-two backers for tier 2 at $25 each, seven for tier 3 at $50, and eleven for tier 3 at $100. These funding levels included a 4″ sticker of the Vanaheim Gold logo, grey t-shirts bearing the Vanaheim Gold and Wide-in-Wisdom Winery logos, and according to the Kickstarter project updates (but not in the table above), an undisclosed number of bottles from the first mead production run if the $100 or more was given. Kickstarter regulations forbid the giving of alcohol as one of the funding tiers, and thus it was left of the tier definitions for the project (and subsequently not included in the table data above).

A quick and dirty analysis of the data would suggest that certificates of thanks, meadery logo posters, and large funding levels for private tastings are not as popular as branded t-shirts, stickers, and (dare we say it) bottles of mead. But this is only analysis for Vanaheim Gold and its backers. A single data point is anecdotal.

Check back with us later in the week as we examine the other successfully funded meadery projects on Kickstarter. Up next, Bee Well Meadery from Northern Michigan. Their Kickstarter project can be found here.