Archive for the ‘crowdfunding’ Category

De Kromme Haring

It was quiet in Utrecht City for a while. Sure, the number of commercial breweries kept rising as it did everywhere, but it’s big brother to the north, Amsterdam, overtook Utrecht with some fine new brewing initiatives. But 2016 is the year of the comeback. I have already discussed Duits & Lauret and Oproer in earlier posts who now have their own installations in or near Utrecht. New brewers like NeoBosski are also doing fine right now. The end of summer saw the opening of another brewpub: De Kromme Haring.

logo-v2De Kromme Haring is not a completely new name in Utrecht. Steve and Gijs met over a bottle of Brett IPA called Twisted Kipper and things started rolling after that. Two years ago they made their debut on the Utrecht Beerbrewersfestival. Not unnoticed because their Smokey the Barracuda immediately won the prize for best beer in Utrecht. I also recall having a great sour called Lactic Fantastic.

The names of these three beers should already tell you the types of beer De Kromme Haring makes. Don’t come here for simple dubbels or blondes, more adventurous stuff happens here with a great focus and yeast and fermentation. Beers that cross borders of style, and that is no surprise because De Kromme Haring is an American-Dutch cooperation. Steve and Gijs, you figure out who is from which country.

Kafe België

In Amsterdam ‘t Arendsnest and sister bars Beer Temple and Craft and Draft have spawned some of the best breweries in the city. Oedipus and Pampus for example had their start there. Utrecht has a similar bar in Kafe Belgie and sister store Bert’s Bierhuis. “Graduates” from both now work at illustrious Utrecht beer haunts Maximus, Oproer and De Bierverteller to name a few. Gijs also started here. The better breweries always seem to have a history at another beer places it seems. Goes to show the brewing business is mostly not for complete newcomers.

Steve was born in Massachusetts (yes, he is the American in case you hadn’t figured that out yet) and was working at Utrecht University as a biologist. This background in biology has helped him understand the brewing process better than most, making the second branch on which De Kromme Haring is built another firm one. He took the big step of quitting the university to work at De Kromme Haring full time.

A real place!

During the first years they were gypsy brewers with a dream of their own place. After a very successful crowdfunding campaign they found room at the Vechtclub XL and moved in. De Vechtclub XL is a building that besides De Kromme Haring also houses a restaurant, coffee place, flower store and a bakery. A place that might not look much from the outside, it’s a little built in between other buildings, but once you wander onto the courtyard you will find a lot of cool stuff.

krom1The bar and brewery

The brewing installation has made its way from China and is being set up so that they can brew themselves. Beer flows from 12 taps with taphandles crafted by Steve’s father who does woodworking as a hobby. He also made the bar and tables. For now the first four taps are all Kromme Haring beers. The others from like minded breweries from all over. When I was there I saw some stuff from Cloudwater and Lost Industry. Gijs tries to keep it diverse so that there is something for everyone at all time, also for novices to the beer drinking scene. Last week they had their first Tap Takeover when English brewery Wiper and True came over to tap their wonderful beers in Utrecht.

Utrecht’s Comeback?

With the Kromme Haring Utrecht has another great beer destination and can now boast 3 brewpubs (Oproer and Maximus the other two) in the city and surrounding suburbs. The bars (like DeRat and Drie Dorstige Herten) are still the same and amazing. I have already discussed the growing number of shops for good beer. And with VandeStreek opening a new brewery Utrecht is back and better than ever.

krom2Oh, what’s a Kromme Haring?

The translation of Kromme Haring is Crooked Herring, but there is no deeper meaning to it. Steve needed a name when he went to festivals like Kimchi when he was still homebrewing and just put some words together, influenced mainly by an alley in Utrecht called the Drie Haringensteeg and the Kromme Rijn river. Two of the first experiences Steve had when he arrived in Utrecht. It is now in their logo. Kromme Haring anyone? Then go over to the brewpub.

Kromme Haring Website

 

Crowdfunding, and why you should all help Proeflokaal Mout

Money, it is a subject we can’t ignore when it comes to the growth of the beer industry. The usual path goes like this: a brewer starts small at home, then expands by brewing somewhere else. It is here that (successful) brewers have to make a decision: do we keep brewing as much as we do now with the risk of not getting the potential profits or do we expand even further. When the latter option is chosen a new problem arises: how to pay for all of this? Do we keep brewing somewhere else meaning we don’t have full control or do we take matters into our own hands.

Starting your own brewery and/or tasting room is not cheap. We are talking hundreds of thousands of Euros, not something you make in a few years by just selling bottles of beers in small batches. And also not something people tend to have just laying around.

Following your dreams means looking for outside funds. The option often chosen is that of a bank who sees that the plan the brewer has will eventually work and will make them money as well.

A second option is to go look for investors. These investors generally like to take a little more risk, but often you as a brewer have more obligations towards them as well. Investors tend to have bigger chunks of change to invest.

A third, and maybe most in line with the craft-beer ethic, is to let the public fund you. Crowdfunding is a relatively new and popular way of looking for investments. Breweries in the past have worked with loan certificates, saying that the investor will get the money back, or will get the equivalent liters of beer, or a special brew every year. What is most important about this type of funding is that there is no outside meddling of banks or investors.

Online crowdfunding is these days the preferred method. For those of you unfamiliar with how it works: on the website the person/company needing the funding makes a pitch and gives the details on how you get the money back. Over how many years, the interest rate and if there are any other interesting perks like free beer, tours, discounts etc. You can give anything from in most cases €50 up to €1000s if you feel so inclined.

Lately, three initiatives were started on the website crowdaboutnow.nl. Two were for now well-known breweries Oersoep and Kompaan. Breweries that easily are in the top 20 of Dutch breweries, if not higher. But also breweries that convey a do-it-yourself attitude, who are in it for the art and not the bucks.

But it isn’t only breweries you can find on this website.

Mout

You might know Susan Heitinga and her Proeflokaal Mout from earlier collaborations on articles. Her dream is to open a Dutch Craft Beer only bar in Groningen, the second one in the country after the Arendsnest in Amsterdam. She already has experience in Beer Café’s and has traveled throughout the country the last two years to experience firsthand what the burgeoning Dutch craft beer scene is like. This was done with love and interest for Dutch Craft beer and its brewers. With the rising interest in Groningen and the Netherlands this bar would be a welcome addition not only to his city but to beer culture in the country in general.

So here is my pitch for Mout.

Brewers of the Netherlands! This place will be great for you, another bar that might sell your beer, and one that will be even more eager to sell Dutch beer. So no competing with those standard Belgian boring tripels or German weizens. Here you will find people not bound to any contract with a big brewer but with genuine interest in what you make.

And if you’re a lover of good beer, well, do I really have to tell you? Groningen was already a good destination for beer lovers, but it will become a great one if Mout opens. And for only €50 or more you can be a little engine behind the Dutch Craft Beer revolution, of which Mout will likely be a stronghold in the years to come.

So go to https://www.crowdaboutnow.nl/proeflokaalmout and help out.

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