How would you like to start a business with 50,000 of your closest friends, pals, friends of friends, acquaintances and complete strangers?
What if it only cost you $50 to start and you had a vote in what products you sell, how you market them and where? What if the business we are talking about here is a brewery? Pretty cool eh?
This is exactly what is happening in the U.S. right now as Beer Bankroll (www.beerbankroll.com) is taking a shot at creating the first community-managed brewery.
The premise is simple: a minimum of 50,000 members will be recruited and they will each throw $50 into the pot in exchange for a say in each of the brewery’s key decisions (logo, brand names, product, etc.).
Once the company has raised $100,000 in addition to administration and overhead costs, the plan is to hire a consulting company to walk the group through key decisions and concepts to the point where membership can put each issue or concept to a vote.
When the business becomes profitable, the cash flow will be divided in three: a third to the membership in the form of rewards points, a third goes back into the company and the final portion will go to charity.
Crowd funding or managing is becoming a popular way for individuals to get involved in a business scheme with other socially similar people.
Although it is a great idea to bring people together in business that may not normally have the chance to be part of a project like this, there may be a few problems with the approach.
What if the Yukon Brewing Company was a crowd funded business? When two or three of us sit down to talk about a graphic for an ad, a name for a brand or any other marketing decision, it is hard enough to corral the ideas and sentiments of three, let alone 50,000.
Also, each and every day on our tours, we get people from all over the world who try the full range of brands we offer and most times not everyone is going to like them all. How could you go to a board of 50,000 decision makers and expect to come up with what beers to brew?
The answers would be all over the place until you were forced to make a beer that is accessible to everyone (most likely something very light and not very flavourful).
Not that the beer won’t be good, perhaps Beer Bankroll has an excellent brewmaster, but it is hard to imagine where this venture fits in the beer market. Does it roll with the big boys or the craft and micro breweries?
The point here is that anyone with $50 can get involved. This will create a membership of some that are business savvy, others that just love beer and a few in-betweeners.
Fifty dollars from 50,000 people is some good start-p cash to draw from ($2.5 million by my count). What are the guys administering this business making? Just curious. Hopefully profits are high right off the bat and everyone is happy, especially the charitable organization that is set to get a third of the revenue.
This column is courtesy of the Yukon Brewing Company, an organization that wonders if a camel is a horse designed by a committee, what would such a beer end up looking like.