Eastern Market Brewing Co. recently launched an investment campaign with the goal to raise $1 million. The funds will be used for three major initiatives: growing self-distribution, expanding their recently opened self-service taproom, and kicking off a project to build out its flagship location. Equity in the parent company will allow investors to own a piece of its entire family of brands, which includes Eastern Market Brewing Co.’s sister brewery, Ferndale Project, its production facility in Royal Oak and its self-service taproom, Lincoln Tap, as well as ventures adjacent to beer such as Dooped Donuts and ASHE Coffee, both located in downtown Detroit.
“Having recently celebrated five years, we’ve been doing a lot of thinking about what the next five years will look like,” said Dayne Bartscht, managing partner of Eastern Market Brewing. “The table is set for a successful 2023. Our spaces are locked in, we have the brewing capacity to grow, and most importantly, a dream team ready to roll.”
Eastern Market Brewing is the only brewery in Michigan that is self-distributing at scale, meaning it not only produces its own beer but also sells and delivers beer to local retailers. The brewery had so much early success in self-distribution, that back in 2020 they worked with lawmakers to increase the cap on how much beer they are able to self-distribute in the state. Eastern Market Brewing now distributes more than $1 million in beer each year and is growing.
“Our self-distribution model allows us to own the supply chain. By hand-delivering products, the customer experience we cultivate in our taprooms extends to our retailers. We ensure better quality when compared to our competitors, and we also take home a higher margin,” said Pauline Knighton-Prueter, VP of sales and marketing. “With this investment, self-distribution will continue to see 50% growth year-over-year and further expand the visibility of our beer brands.”
Lincoln Tap, Eastern Market Brewing’s third customer-facing taproom, made waves in September when it became the first fully self-service taproom in Michigan. Governor Gretchen Whitmer signed a bill earlier in the year allowing the use of self-pour tap wall technology for bars and restaurants in the state of Michigan becoming the 45th state to legalize the self-pour model.
Customer response to Lincoln Tap has been so positive that the taproom is regularly operating at its seating capacity. Sitting on the front side of their 16,000-sq-ft production facility, there is room to further expand and this investment campaign will cover those buildout costs.
The third use of funds will be investing back in where it all started, the Eastern Market taproom. The brewery’s founding members purchased a dilapidated meat-packing facility in 2016 and spent a year renovating it, before opening the original 2,500-sq-ft brewery and taproom. That’s less than one-third of the usable space in the building which also includes a second floor that could be used as a private event space and a rooftop that looks out over downtown Detroit.
“So far, we’ve been focused on building and growing. Some of this was at our own design, like our Ferndale Project location, but much was forced on us to adapt and survive the pandemic. We’ve come to a point in the life of our businesses that we want to capitalize on our foundation,” continued Bartscht. “This investment will allow us to continue our growth, but on our terms. We’re in a strong position to quickly become the largest independent craft brewery in Michigan.”