We always assumed Beer Voltron spoke with a diabolical English accent. Now, it’s been confirmed. In December, Anheuser Busch-InBev (Code Name: Beer Voltron) added another craft brewery to its global beer rollup — London-based Camden Town Brewery. According to this Fortune article:
With the Camden Town deal, AB InBev gets a European craft brewer that started full production in 2010. It has grown to a team of 95 and sold 12 million pints this year, with the beers sold in over 1,000 pubs and bars.
Same old story, right? Macro beverage giant eats up small, fan-driven beer brand.
Well, Camden Town Brewery is somewhat unique in that it actually has to pay out to some of its biggest fans — crowdfunding investors. Jasper Cuppaidge started the brewery in the basement of his small pub but to make it a success Cuppaidge sold fans shares in the brewery through the equity crowdfunding portal Crowdcube. All of those investors are looking at some serious cash. According to this article and Crowdfund Insider, one crowdfund investor is seeing an 88 percent return. We quote the American Spectator:
This sounds like an American success story, except that outdated laws combined with new regulatory burdens have made such an event all but impossible in the U.S. in the past few years. Equity crowdfunding, in which entrepreneurs offer ordinary folks in the crowd any type of monetary reward or share of potential profits (as opposed to trinkets like T-shirts), has been considered a “securities offering” subject to the same red tape as that which governs companies listed on the New York Stock Exchange. So an entrepreneur trying to raise $50,000 for a new venture may be subject to $1 million in compliance costs from the onerous mandates of laws such as Sarbanes-Oxley and Dodd-Frank, thus making equity crowdfunding a nonstarter in this country so far.
The article (nicely written by John Berlau) goes on to state that new business formation in the United States has plunged 30 percent since 2008, and business deaths now outpace business births for the first time since the 1970s (Berlau cites the Kauffman Foundation). That has a lot to do with America’s antiquated business laws, including the ability for ordinary Americans to start and invest in a new business without over-the-top government interference. The article goes on to discuss the efforts of Obama, Bernie Sanders and JOBS Act 2.0, as well as the smothering structure that is the current state of American venture capitalism. Read the whole piece right over here.