FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
STRATFORD, Conn., March 14, 2016—Fairfield Craft Ales, a music-inspired nanobrewery under construction on Honeyspot Road in Stratford, took only 73 hours to pass the halfway point in its $15,000 Kickstarter campaign (https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1740197116/fairfield-craft-ales). The campaign launched on March 10 and hit 50 percent of its goal by early morning on March 13. The company has until April 9 to meet its target. Under Kickstarter’s all-or-nothing rules, the brewery won’t receive any of the pledges if it doesn’t get at least $15,000 in support.
Over 90 percent of the pledges to date have come from friends, family, and brewfest acquaintences of the owners, Fairfield residents Mike Borruso and Joe Bow. But about 7 percent has come from the Kickstarter community. On March 11, Kickstarter’s staff named Fairfield Craft Ales’s campaign a “Project We Love,” which earns the project page a blue heart badge and more exposure on the Kickstarter site. According to Kickstarter’s FAQ page, projects that receive this designation “usually have a super crisp project page with a clear description, captivating images or video, a thorough plan for completion, an excited community, and of course, a lot of creativity.”
For its campaign, the brewery posted a music video featuring Borruso and Bow dressed as blues musicians singing an original song about their project. (Fairfield Craft Ales plans to name all of its products after songs the owners like, so it decided to incorporate music into the campaign, as well.) The video has been viewed 645 times as of this morning. Parts were shot at the brewery’s Honeyspot Road location, so viewers can see how the space is coming along. Borruso and Bow collaborated with their friend and neighbor, Steve Lackey, who is a professional video producer. The three worked together to write the song and conceptualize the shots for the video. “When Steve first suggested a music video, I was a little nervous,” says Borruso, “but his vision, direction, professionalism, and—most importantly—sense of humor, helped us make something we’re really proud of. We had a lot of laughs doing it.” The video ends with some outtakes that give a sense of how much fun their shoots were.
Borruso and Bow are avid, award-winning home brewers who met when Bow was coaching both their sons in youth baseball. They started talking about brewing when they ran into each other on their Metro North commute to New York City, and hatched a plan to start a brewery in the summer of 2014. That began an extensive search for properties throughout Fairfield county, and a little bit in New Haven. They looked at buildings in Bridgeport, Fairfield, Milford, Norwalk, Stratford, Trumbull, and Westport. “We probably saw more than two dozen spaces,” says Bow, “and every time we thought ‘this is the one,’ some problem would come up, like the zoning wasn’t right, there wasn’t enough parking, or the landlord just didn’t want a brewery.”
But in the fall of 2015, everything came together and they signed a lease for 724 Honeyspot Road in Stratford. Borruso says, “This space really has everything we were looking for—the right size and layout located in a diverse and creative community, not to mention a thriving craft beer culture created by our neighbors up the street at Two Roads Brewing Company. Stratford has it all, as far as we’re concerned.”
Since signing the lease, Borruso and Bow have invested over $100,000 of their own money into the project and are hard at work acquiring equipment and building the brewery and a tap room where up to eight different varieties of beer will be available in pints for onsite consumption and in growlers to take home. Almost all the equipment needed is already in the space and construction is almost complete. Borruso and Bow plan to get their equipment hooked up and the space painted by the end of March. But even assuming all that gets done on time, they can’t start brewing without government approval.
“To quote Tom Petty, ‘the waiting is the hardest part,'” said Borruso, who notes that they filed for their federal brewer’s permit in October. “We’re hoping to get our approval by the end of March, start brewing in April, and open in May. Then we can start serving our beer, which is the whole point.”
In the meantime, they’re paying rent and utilities, and continue to incur startup expenses. Those expenses include professional installation fees for some pieces of equipment, brewing ingredients and supplies, barware, and merchandise for resale like T-shirts and growlers. “This Kickstarter campaign is all about getting us through this initial startup period so we can deliver the amount of beer and brewery experience that our customers deserve,” says Bow. “The best part of this whole thing will be seeing people enjoying our products.”
Fairfield Craft Ales, Inc.
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