Wisconsin Beertech: MobCraft Fundraising to Open Brewery in Spring

Xconomy Wisconsin — 

As a fan of craft beer, I’ve been spoiled to live in places with plenty of savory options, between spending the past eight years in Wisconsin, and now with my new digs in Boston.

Every once in a while, I’m able to convince my editors to let me write about beer (cheers!). I took advantage of those opportunities while I was Xconomy’s Wisconsin editor, launching a periodic feature about the beer on tap at tech companies’ offices and penning stories about the intersection of technology and beer.

I’ll likely get more chances to cover beertech in Boston (Drizly, anyone?). But first, I wanted to check in with some of the Wisconsin beertech companies I’ve covered in the past.

First up: MobCraft Beer, which is notable for its business model and fundraising strategy.

The Madison-based startup brings a twist to traditional brewing—it asks its customers to vote each month on which new beer recipe they find most enticing, and MobCraft will make whichever one wins. MobCraft can ship the beer to your doorstep, and you can also pick some up at one of the Wisconsin and Illinois bars or liquor stores that carry its products.

When I last caught up with MobCraft in April, it was raising money to open its own brewery near downtown Milwaukee. (It’s currently renting some brewing space at House of Brews in Madison.)

Those efforts are humming along, co-founder Henry Schwartz says in an e-mail. MobCraft has raised $800,000 from investors, which includes about $68,000 raised in one of Wisconsin’s first equity crowdfunding campaigns, held on Milwaukee-based CraftFund’s website.

MobCraft still needs to raise about $1.8 million for the brewery project, and its leaders are hoping to secure a bank loan to cover that, Schwartz (pictured above left) says. The goal is to open the brewery next spring, he adds.

Meanwhile, MobCraft is rolling out new features on its website, distributing more of its flagship beers in cans, and growing its staff. The company employs four people full-time and four part- time, Schwartz says.

“We’re also launching a Cyber Monday Beer this year,” Schwartz says, adding that more details will be shared in early November.