Fair Isle Brewing is taking the brewery model back to its roots, becoming Seattle’s only brewery with a tasting room that is exclusively dedicated to producing farmhouse and wild beers. With Fair Isle, owners Andrew Pogue and Geoffrey Barker are partnering with the highly-esteemed Jester King Brewery (renowned farmhouse-style brewery based in Austin, TX). The new brewery will blend the unique flavors and ingredients of the Pacific Northwest with the operational expertise and reputation of an established operation.
Fair Isle is filling an underserved niche in Seattle’s vibrant craft beer scene. Farmhouse beer is one of the most exciting and fastest growing segments in the beer industry. These special beers are fermented with a mixed culture that includes local, wild yeasts and bacteria; instead of the laboratory-isolated and tightly controlled commercial yeasts that are more typically used today. Farmhouse brewing techniques embrace the local environment. Like fine wines, Fair Isle’s beers are all about a specific place and a specific time.
The brewery will create, sell and market its unique style of beers while also operating a tasting room. A small commissary kitchen will play host to local chefs for monthly pop-up beer pairing dinners and events. Located in the heart of Seattle’s "Ballard Brewery District," Fair Isle will benefit from the synergy of nearby breweries. Additionally, offices for Facebook, Google, Tableau, Adobe and more are located just a few miles away in nearby "Silicon Canal."
The 50-seat front of house (with additional standing room) will be complemented by an additional 50-seat seasonal outdoor beer garden. The Fair Isle design aesthetic will be a marriage of the Northwest farmhouse and Danish modern – clean and simple, with a lived-in natural feel that elevates the beer, fosters community and nurtures a connection with the craft, time and place that the beers embody.
Fair Isle's partnership with Jester King will help catalyze the success of the business. Pogue has been friends with the founders of Jester King since it was launched in 2008 - building their bar, brewing, bottling, and even developing the recipe for Bonnie the Rare, a berliner weiss style beer. The team at Jester King will assist Fair Isle with guidance on operations, best practices developed at its Austin brewery and tasting room, and creative ideas for how Fair Isle can tap into its local surroundings. The partnership also lends Fair Isle a unique competitive advantage through leveraging Jester King's existing reputation and connections within the brewing industry.
In February 2017, the first collaboration beer was released under the name Fair Voyage. A sampling of a brew coined "Ellie" was sent to the editors at Draft Magazine – to which they responded, "Fair Isle is going to be a big deal among beer drinkers come 2018." For a brewery that isn’t in operation yet, they have had some fantastic press.
Jester King co-founder Jeffrey Stuffings with Fair Isle owners Andrew Pogue and Geoffrey Barker
About The Beer
Focusing on the increasingly popular niche of farmhouse beer, the Fair Isle team has refined its recipes over the last several years and developed the house fermentation culture that will define the brewery.
The technique of farmhouse brewing and mixed culture fermentation shares a lot with the process of baking sour dough bread. It uses a unique community of organisms from both commercially available and wild yeasts and bacteria that were cultivated locally from areas East and West of the Cascades. It includes native cultures built up from Yarrow harvested in the Yakima wine region and Elderflowers from the Bastyr Campus and other wild cultures gathered near the Ballard Locks.
It is then patiently aged, allowing the culture time to develop its uniquely complex flavor profile. It simply cannot be replicated elsewhere.
The yeast isn't the only local ingredient in their beers. Plenty of wonderfully delicious fruits and plants grow in the Pacific Northwest that will be integrated into the brewery’s recipes. And while “local” will never outweigh "quality," the team fully intends to take advantage of the amazing ingredients available in the region.
Click here to view the Issuer's SEC Form C filing.
The total anticipated project cost for Fair Isle Brewery is $1,350,000, including production equipment, build out for the brewery and tasting room, working capital and a contingency buffer. The owners have committed $496,000 in equity to date.
Proceeds from the NextSeed raise, if the minimum is hit, will be used for production equipment and building out the brewery and tasting room. This includes purchasing the brewhouse, fermenters, cellar equipment, malt handling equipment, barrels and foeders. Construction in the production space includes water and electric improvements along with trench drains and a new floor. The tasting room build out consists of demoing existing walls and structures, adding a cold-room, bar and finishes, improving the bathrooms and purchasing furnishings and fixtures. Working capital will be used to pay for inventory, supplies, rent and salaries. This is particularly important for breweries making farmhouse beer, as the quickest turnaround beers take 90 days from brew to customer. This means Fair Isle will be brewing for four to five months prior to opening its doors to customers.
Funds raised above the $200,000 minimum will be put towards increasing the number of seats in the tasting room as well as refining and finishing out the space to achieve the desired environment and feel. The brewery will also use the funds to purchase additional oak vessels such as barrels and foeders. This additional oak capacity will allow for ample beer aging, increasing the selection of mature farmhouse ales that Fair Isle will offer when it opens.
Once the Issuer commences operations, the Issuer will share a percentage of each month’s gross revenue with the investors as a group until they are paid in full.Monthly Revenue Sharing Percentage
Each investor will receive its proportionate share of the monthly payments made to the investors as a group.
The issuer anticipates a 6-month startup period for renovation and construction. If the 11th month after the fundraise falls within the first 6 months of revenue, the issuer will share 4.5% of revenue that month.
If the issuer generates $100,000 in revenue during this month, the issuer will make a $4,500 payment ($100,000 x 4.5% = $4,500) to investors. Since you invested with 1% of the total amount raised ($3,000 / $300,000 = 1.0%), you would receive a $45.00 payment in Month 11.
* The calculations above are mathematical illustration only and may not reflect actual performance. They do not take into account NextSeed fees of 1% on each payment made to investors. The exact length of time that it will take the Issuer to pay each investor in full cannot be known in advance since the Issuer's actual revenues may differ from its reasonable forecasts. If any balance remains outstanding on the maturity date, the Issuer is contractually required to promptly pay the entire outstanding balance due to each investor. Payment is not guaranteed or insured and investors may lose some or all of the principal invested if the Issuer cannot make its payments.
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1 Pickup at brewery required.
2 To occur within one year of our opening at the taproom. Food and two drinks included.
3 To occur within one year of our opening, date set by brewery.
4 Come to the brewery to learn more about our Coolship program. Watch our custom copper Coolship get filled with a new batch of beer while enjoying rare beers from our cellar and talking to the founders.
Farmhouse and wild beers represent both the old and the new frontiers in the craft beer movement. Although they make up a small part of the Craft Beer market today, the segments are growing rapidly. A recent survey by Nielsen shows a year-over-year growth of 73% in sales for Sour / American Wild Ales and a 38% growth in Saison and Farmhouse beer in 2015.
The vision of Fair Isle is centered around the community of the tasting room and on-premise sales. This will allow the business to have an immediate and direct connection with its patrons and will increase early revenue and profits by reducing the costs and low margins associated with distribution.
Fair Isle floorplan
The 7,500 square foot property is made up of four separate buildings. These will be renovated and adjoined to create a single brewery and tasting room facility.
The primary tasting room will be in the middle buildings and will contain a mix of functional production space and a seating area under a visually interesting trussed ceiling. They will have a 50 seat tasting room with additional standing space. An indoor beer garden will have room for 20 guests and will play host to local chefs for monthly pop-ups and events. The indoor beer garden expands directly into the outdoor beer garden which doubles the seating capacity. Adjacent to the main bar are the oak foeders and the coolship loft; visually connecting the consumer to an important part of the process.
Just as the beers are centered around patience and are specific to the Northwest, the space is being designed with intention and care. The space is not a temporary or stale industrial room but is a place that encourages patrons to stay and welcomes them to return.
Flanking the tasting room on the left is the 1,300 SF barrel house which provides ample conditioned space for maturing beers in oak barrels. On the opposite side (far right) is the 3,000 SF production building; holding the 30bbl stainless steel fermenters and brewhouse - the first step of the beer production.
The business projects a first-year sales volume of 800 barrels of beer (one barrel is equal to 31 gallons). Production growth is anticipated to increase at a healthy 25% annual rate and reaching capacity at around 3,300 barrels (bbls) annually. Initial sales will focus primarily on on-site sales with an anticipated 50% of production being sold on-premise in draft and bottles to-go.
As production grows and outpaces the consumption from on-premise sales, the business will expand with bottle and limited keg distribution. Gross revenue is projected to increase from $1.2 million in the first twelve months to $3.3 million in Year 5. Fair Isle’s partnership with Jester King will help to open doors with potential distributors and retailers.
Geoffrey Barker at a tasting event.
The Fair Isle brewery and tasting room will be located at 936 NW 49th St, Seattle, WA 98107.
Located in the Ballard neighborhood of Seattle, this area is known as a maritime-centric enclave – a hip foodie hotspot and the center of the "Ballard Brewery District." Seattle Met Magazine rated Ballard as #6 of the Top 25 neighborhoods in Seattle (2018).
This location is in an urban corridor in an area known as an IBU (Industrial Buffer Zone). This is a city zoning designation for property that buffers the commercial and residential zones from the light industrial zones. “Silicon Canal” is also located less than 2 miles away, home to offices for Facebook, Google, Tableau, Adobe and more.
This offers a balance of a great WalkScore (91) and solid bike score (77), proximity to other bars, restaurants and housing, while taking advantage of the lower real estate prices and larger buildings of the industrial zones.
Within a 3-mile radius of Fair Isle, the median income is approximately $115,600 and the population of college educated individuals exceeds 67%. There's also a dense population in the area, with over 200,000 residents. Median age is 37 compared to the national average of 42. Demographics mainly comprises of upper-scale urban singles, urban singles with moderate income and mobile singles living in the city.Market Analysis
Despite Seattle’s #2 ranking in the nation for percentage of Craft Beer drinkers (38%), Washington state brewers are behind in embracing the trend for farmhouse brewing. Washington state currently has only a few dedicated farmhouse breweries and a handful of other breweries that commit a portion of their production to farmhouse beers. Despite the average Seattle consumer’s strong focus on local food and beverage, the Seattle farmhouse drinker currently has few options for locally produced farmhouse beer.
Compare this to Oregon’s twelve highly successful and well-regarded breweries which consistently produce farmhouse beer (six breweries are exclusively farmhouse). Oregon currently produces 7 times more Farmhouse beer than Washington.
The Pacific Northwest holds a number of delicious ingredients that are favorable for the craft beer business. Washington barley grows just north of Fair Isle, and the majority of US hops are grown three hours east. The team is also excited about access to fresh fruits farmed in the area as well as access to wild ingredients (berries, flowers, and etc.) that can be foraged in the Cascades.
Fireweed local to Washington state was used in the production of Fair Isle’s first collaboration beer, Fair Voyage.
While living in Austin in 2008, Andrew met Jester King Brewery partners Jeffrey Stuffings and Michael Steffing just prior to their first brew day. He lent a hand with the brewery from 2008-2011. Andrew designed and built their bar and assisted with brewing and bottling operations. He also inspired and developed the recipe for Bonnie the Rare, a Berliner Weisse.
His vision for Fair Isle is an intersection of farmhouse beers, rooted in the Northwest, in an aesthetically pleasing place, with on-site sales directly to the patron; creating a destination like only a few breweries across the nation have achieved.
Andrew has built an architectural photography and videography business in Andrew Pogue Photography, developing client bases in Seattle, Portland and Austin. He works with architects and industries of various types, weaving visual stories within marketing and branding campaigns.
Geoffrey has spent the last 32 years honing his skills in the IT world. Since starting his own consultancy in 1998, he has worked long-term engagements in large and small businesses in several industries including venture capital, restaurants, healthcare, tech startups, and fire services. Geoffrey brings an unquenchable curiosity about how things work.
Running a production brewery is not just about making and selling beer. Being able to apply concepts, skills and ideas from multiple disciplines frequently results in better, more creative solutions. Geoffrey is, among other things, a skilled (though not certified) welder, electrician, plumber, carpenter, potter and jeweler. His varied interests, strong troubleshooting abilities, and technical skill will be of considerable value to the brewery.
In addition to his broad background, Geoffrey built a large, sophisticated 1bbl, 3-vessel electric pilot brewery from scratch - closely mimicking the processes of a large commercial brew house. In fact, many small (nano) professional breweries start on a system this size. Fair Isle will benefit from this pilot system. It will be used to test new ideas, recipes and ingredients in small batches before committing to a full-sized batch.
The business's Anticipated Opening Date is its best estimate, and the timetable can vary significantly due to unforeseen circumstances.
November 26, 2018
With just a few days left in our campaign, we are still making waves in the press! We’re humbled to say, we’ve been featured in Draft Magazine, Craftbeer.com, SeattleMet, New School Beer, Seattle Eater and today in Washington Beer Blog. It feels great to know that we aren’t alone in our vision for farmhouse beer in Seattle. Visit our Press section of our website to read more.
November 1, 2018
We are ahead of schedule! This week we’ve received access to our production space a month early. We’ll start trench drains, utility upgrades, demo and installing a new floor later this month. Although this doesn’t necessarily mean we’ll open early, it does give us breathing room and reduces our risk of future delays.
October 15, 2018
For those in Seattle, we hope you’ll join us on Thursday November 1st, in Ballard from 7-10pm for another special Fair Isle Salon event!
We have 40 spots available and light fare will be provided. Similar to our last event, attendees will learn more about our vision for Fair Isle, receive details about our new space in Ballard and get updates on the R&D influencing the direction of Fair Isle’s offerings.
Spaces are limited so please reserve your spot by getting a free ticket here.
October 15, 2018
Thanks to all the attendees for making this past Thursday’s Salon a success! We hosted nearly 40 guests for a night spent learning about the exciting months ahead for Fair Isle while trying some of Andrew and Geoffrey’s homebrew paired with small bites. This structure was new to us but we thought it went quite well. Capping these events at a manageable size allows us to interact with all of our guests and collect feedback to make these Salons even better in the future. In fact, we’re already gearing up for another event soon. Keep your eyes on our campaign page for the next announcement!
October 5, 2018
Last Monday we collaborated with chefs Chris Webber and Jack Gingrich of The Herbfarm for a wonderful dining experience hosted by Ecolibrium Farms. The event was part of Ecolibrium’s “Under the Walnuts” dinner series where local chefs create amazing dinners served under a canopy of walnut trees. Inspired by Chris and Jack using ingredients from the farm, we homebrewed two unique beers to pair with the dinner experience. The first was a light and refreshing mixed-culture saison with crab-apples harvested from trees near the farm, and the second was a stouted farmhouse ale refermented on green walnuts harvested from the trees above the table.
September 27, 2018
Quick update, the event has filled. Due to the overwhelming and quick response, we’ll be planning more of these in the future. Stay tuned for the next event!
September 25, 2018
For those in Seattle, we hope you’ll join us on Thursday October 4th, in Ballard from 7-10pm for a special Fair Isle Salon event!
We have 40 spots available and light fare will be provided. Attendees will learn more about our vision for Fair Isle, receive details about our new space in Ballard and get updates on the R&D influencing the direction of Fair Isle’s offerings.
Spaces are limited so please reserve your spot by getting a free ticket here.