IMBĪB Custom Brews starts fundraising for Reno brew store

IMBĪB Custom Brews wants to create Community Supported Ale in Reno

IMBĪB Custom Brews started 33 days of raising money to build a new beer store and brewery combo May 14. The campaign launched at a fundraising event in Great Basin Community Food Co-op and continues on Indiegogo. In the first day, the online campaign raised $1,000 from two funders.

Matt Johnson, Jason Green and Bart Blank want to build a store that sells homebrew supplies, makes custom brews and produces draft beers for distribution. The homebrew supply part of the business would come first, tentatively opening in August, with later phases of the store opening three to six months later when they establish licensing for the production brewery.

Matt envisions a homebrew store, which would be the fourth in the area after Reno HomebrewerJust Brew It and BrewChatter, where customers could rent space and equipment on site to make beer without the upfront cost and difficulty of making their first batches alone. Customers would receive expert advice and brew on a 10 or 20 gallon pilot system, then ferment their beer in a temperature controlled environment, bottle at the store and take it all home with prices depending on volume and gravity of the recipe.

In the second phase of the business, Matt, Jason and Bart will take custom beer orders for special events, such as weddings, birthdays or parties. These brews will deliver beers to customers who want something specific and special. Matt said the custom beers would be contracted with the understanding that any leftovers from the seven or 10-barrel brew will go on draft at the store to make the batch more cost effective.

A brew club model will also allow customers to pay an annual membership to receive a guaranteed volume of beer, such as one or two growlers a month, made specifically for club members. Members would give feedback for the monthly recipes.

“For example, if we make 12 brews a month, maybe six would be voted on by club members and the other six would be decided on by the brewery,” Matt said.

A few places, such as Lion Bridge Brewing Company out of Iowa, use a similar club model they call Community Supported Ale. The business model is similar to Community Supported Agriculture, where someone pays a fee to receive a regular supply of local fruits and veggies.

Alone, the three business models often don’t survive. Custom brewing requires production-level scaling, but most folks don’t want 310 gallons (10 barrels) of beer at their wedding and a 10-gallon batch is not cost effective. Brew-on-site stores don’t make ends meet as many folks learn to brew then take their supplies home. A standalone homebrew supply store would now compete with three others in the area. Instead, they want to combine them together for the omni-beer stop.

Originally, the crew looked at the outskirts of Midtown for a site but now an industrial area may work better for their plans. Ultimately they want something accessible and central but have not yet selected a location.

IMBĪB Custom Brews fundraising event

When: Thursday, May 15 at 7 p.m.
Where: Great Basin Community Food Co-op
Fundraise: On Indiegogo

Updated May 15, 11:10 p.m.: First paragraph changed to reflect ongoing fundraising campaign instead of one-time event.

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Mike Higdon

Editor & Publisher at Drinkable Reno
Mike Higdon is a journalist passionate about beer and cocktails. He started the site because no one else covered Reno's growing craft scene at the level of detail required to stay in the know about all things drinkable in Reno.

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