Slate Point Meadery Owner Opens New York Taproom after Crowdfunding Success
Updated: Aug 10, 2021
Eric DeRise started Slate Point Meadery in 2017 after he decided he wanted to take his hobby of brewing mead to the next level. Not just a drink served on your Dungeons and Dragons campaign, mead is a burgeoning new field of craft beverages made primarily using honey! Slate Point Meadery is the very first commercial meadery in the Hudson Valley, and Eric has a dream of using this business to make mead into a mainstream beverage alongside craft beer and hard cider.
Soothing the Sting of COVID-19
In the first three years, Eric was selling meads at events, festivals, and farmers' markets to much commercial success. Along the way, he also snatched up some awards at top meadery competitions like the International Mazer Cup and the Finger Lakes International Competition.
Event after event, his customers kept asking, “Where is your tasting room?” So, Eric decided that it was time to give the people what they want. He started on the build-out of Slate Point Meadery’s first tasting room in February 2020.
However, as the COVID lockdowns hit the state of New York, Eric needed to take out some short-term loans at high-interest rates to stay cash-flow positive. Eric searched online for options, and through Square’s small business resource directory, he discovered investment crowdfunding on Honeycomb Credit.
“Honeycomb’s idea really stuck out to me. I hadn’t heard of crowdfunding like this before. I was never keen on any kind of donation-based crowdfunding, and I wanted to pay people back. This was the perfect opportunity and platform to do that.”
Eric also saw a strong alignment between Honeycomb’s and Slate Point Meadery’s missions.
“Honeycomb’s mission completely revolves around local small businesses, and that really resonated with my thought process and my deciding factor of who I wanted to work with.”
Slate Point Meadery used the funds raised through its Honeycomb campaign to refinance the short term loans that Eric had to take out and also to make important steps to getting the tasting room customer-ready. With these funds, he was able to purchase extra brewing equipment, hire employees, and pay for the street signage to draw people into his business.
Overall, Eric says he’s extremely pleased with his experience crowdfunding with Honeycomb.
“It can be really inundating and cumbersome to crowdfund on your own,” he says. “Honeycomb helped me every step of the way, was constantly there, and gave me a customized guidebook that was perfect in keeping me focused throughout the process.”
These sentiments are mirrored by Eric’s customers-turned-investors. Slate Point Meadery investor Christos says, “Eric and the Slate Point team are pioneers leading the mead revival in upstate NY. I believe in Eric’s commitment and dedication to the craft, and his ability to make Slate Point a staple of the Hudson Valley.”
A business owner and former investment banker, Greg D. invested in Slate Point Meadery because “Everyone I introduce to Slate Point’s mead is blown away by how good it is and immediately becomes more interested in mead. Eric’s dedication to the quality of his product is inspiring.”
Cheers to Successful Crowdfunding Investment Campaigns!
With the funds raised through Honeycomb, Slate Point Meadery was able to refinance loans so they can focus on generating revenue and investing in the business, rather than worrying about how to pay off high-interest loans.
”The success of the campaign allowed me to focus more on the here and now of my business: the mead I produce, refinance the debt, and begin to focus on the customer experience,” says Eric.
Eric has been able to partially open his tasting room and use it as a home base for the business. In the future, his plan is to create a direct-to-consumer production facility and open 4 more locations throughout New York.
With an exciting future to look forward to, Eric has nothing but good to say about his experience with investment crowdfunding: “If you’re a small business owner looking to obtain capital with a personable experience, this is the way to do it.”
Best of luck to Eric and Slate Point Meadery, and we can’t wait to raise a glass with you soon!
Let your community build your hive with a Honeycomb Campaign
Do you want help making reaching your business’s goals sweeter than honey? Get started with crowdfunding on Honeycomb and check out our resources for craft brewery owners!
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