Food Business Incubator Leader Extends Concept to Craft Beer in the World’s First Co-working Incubator Brewery
After several years of success helping launch food businesses at the forefront of the nation’s “kitchen incubator” movement, industry leader and innovator Lucrece Borrego is now launching the world’s first co-working brewery and incubator in historic downtown Houston, Texas. The incubator will foster the development of craft breweries by providing a pilot facility, tap room, support network and audience accessible to all aspiring brewers.
Borrego joined forces with brewer partner and engineer Jesus Acosta to extend the Kitchen Incubator (kitchenincubator.com) model to craft brewing. Having launched over a dozen companies in just two years and inspired as well as co-developed food incubators around the country, the model has become a leading development tool for food business incubators across the world. The partners have already built out the facility adjacent to the Kitchen Incubator and are currently seeking $25,000 to help build the ultimate shared-use brew system and tap room on Kickstarter (kickstarter.breweryincubator.com). The kitchens and brewery combine into a single storefront as a unique collaborative brewpub, a business badly longed for in Houston, a city missing a brewpub in spite of a burgeoning craft brewing scene.
Through involvement with local homebrew clubs and hosting popular bottleshares at their craft coffee shop, Cafe Luz, Borrego and Acosta have already reached deep in the Houston beer community to understand the market and its needs. The partners have spent the last six months working with applicant brew concepts to determine the five opening breweries that will be incubated during the first year as members of the League of Extraordinary Brewers. Each brewery has been carefully chosen to fill a specific niche so that the brewpub will always have a variety of beers on tap. Most importantly, the brewers have been invited in because of their strong support for the local beer community and ability to work together in a collaborative business. These breweries will be cultivated not only through the ability to professionally brew and sell their beer, but through business workshops, networking events, co-marketing, investor pitches and collaborations until they are fully ready to launch their own brewery. “We will ensure that when our brewers graduate,” says co-founder Lucrece Borrego, “that they will have all of the tools necessary to succeed – a built in customer base, established brand and industry connections, all the while having a great time and drinking some amazing beer.”
The founders also aspire to serve as a venue for experimental brews and new collaborations, promoting industry innovation and education. A small two barrel system and the flexibility of the brewpub allow for risky brewing that may not be viable on a large scale or for a brewery that must invest in labels, bottles and distribution contracts. The concept is an ideal fit for Texas, a state where outdated legislation on distribution, licensing and labeling has served to deter the growth of craft breweries. The Founders invite all craft brewers from around the world, including gypsy and contract brewers, to collaborate. In Houston, the Brewery Incubator will serve as a hub for the craft beer community, bridging together communities of home brewers and beer drinkers by hosting classes, tastings, community brew-ins and competitions.
Currently, the League of Extraordinary Brewers consists of six different brewing concepts, including the house Luz Brews from co-founders Borrego and Acosta. TBD Brewing specializes in classic styles, High Fidelity in Belgians, Down Easy in pales ales, Frostown in IPAs and Warlocks Games and Beer aspires to be the first ‘gaming brewpub,’ a geek culture mecca for video and board gamers and beer geeks. The Incubator has put on big events such as Craft Beer Quest and their Most Wonderful Time for a Beer Holiday parties and beer pairing dinners to educate the community about the concept and help each brewer gain valuable feedback on their beers. With tastings, bottleshares and a few creative surprises in the works for the remaining weeks of the Kickstarter campaign, the League of Extraordinary Brewers should be well established by their projected February 2013 opening date.
In the final stages of local and federal licensing, an arduous and lengthy process, and with a facility already built out, this revolutionary idea in craft brewing awaits only the Kickstarter funds to finish payment on their custom brew system currently being built in Portland, Oregon. This is, of course, where you come in. Always creative, the brewers have joined together to offer unique and compelling rewards for Kickstarter Backers in addition to beer tastings and party invitations throughout the campaign. Beer scene tours by motorcycle, private beer pairing dinners, custom brewing parties, a Community Supported Brewery monthly bottle membership and even the right to tattoo the founders’ bodies make up just some of the possible Rewards for Kickstarter supporters.
You can learn more about the Brewery Incubator and the League of Extraordinary Brewers by visiting kickstarter.breweryincubator.com and stay up to date by following them on Facebook (facebook.com/brewinc) and Twitter (twitter.com/breweryinc.).
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