Split Rail Brewery takes second crack at KickStarter campaign

MANITOULIN—The Split Rail Brewery folks were a little disappointed when their first KickStarter crowd sourcing campaign fell just short of its goal, but undaunted they relaunched their efforts with a more modest set of goal posts.

“We might have been just a little ambitious to start,” laughed co-founder Andy Smith. “But yes, we are still determined to forge ahead. Both Eleanor (Charlton) and I have developed a passion for this and we are not ones to easily give up.”

The new campaign runs to April 22 and seeks to raise $20,000 as a formal goal. “But we are hoping to match what was pledged in the first campaign, $30,081 (note that a Recorder article quoted that the first campaign raised $20,000 but it was actually $30,081),” she said. “We choose the lower amount $20,000 as the formal KickStarter goal rather than the actual amount raised to ensure a successful outcome. The funding will go towards various start up costs including equipment, inventory and licencing.”

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The first KickStarter campaign attracted 162 backers and raised a total of $30,081, but the rules of the online crowd sourcing site dictate an all-or-nothing approach. So they didn’t receive anything from the previous campaign—but it was not at all a loss in the eyes of the Split Rail crew.

“While we didn’t meet our target we were very encouraged by and grateful for the support shown by way of pledges, as well as other methods of support, for example the positive word of mouth and social media buzz;  the local, regional, and even some international media attention; and interest expressed by people and entities who may have interest in equity or other forms of involvement in Split Rail,” said Ms. Smith. “We were also excited to see that after our crowd funding launch, other crowd sourcing campaigns were launched including an Ottawa craft brewery, a project in Sudbury and a few on Manitoulin even. While not everyone believes in the premise of crowd sourcing as a form of capital raising, it (crowd sourcing) clearly has become a common and legitimate method in the modern capital raising context.”

Ms. Smith said the duo were referring questions about the building and location in Kagawong to the Billings council. “It really is all up to them at this point,” she said.

Billings Mayor Austin Hunt was keeping things pretty close to the chest as well. “There really isn’t all that much to report,” he said. “There has been an expression of interest, and we have a project that might just fit in well with their plans, but it is still too soon to say for certain what will develop. If we can fit it into the picture it would be a good thing, add a little bit to the town. They sound very excited, but there are a lot of hurdles yet to overcome.”

The new KickStarter campaign had collected $14,333 as of press time Monday with 81 backers and 10 days left to go on the clock. Time to belly up to the keyboard, Manitoulin—we know you are out there and we know you like a good brew. There are plenty of great rewards waiting for those with the vision to help make it happen.

To support the campaign go to kickstarter.com and search for Split Rail Brewery. There is a great video explaining the plans and a list of the rewards available to each level of supporter.