Velum Fermentation opens Pittsburgh Craft Brewery with Equity Investment Offering
A new craft brewery is opening up in Pittsburgh’s Southside Flats neighborhood, and part of it is due to community investment through Honeycomb Credit! Velum Fermentation is owned by Nate and Jenna McLaughlin, who are taking their passion for fermentation and for equitable labor practices to the next level.
Velum Fermentation just opened in 2023 after a new kind of Honeycomb investment offering - an equity offering - on the platform. Their community of 118 investors invested $102,600 into the business at $4 per share, which gave Velum the final push of funding they needed to open.
Craft beer fueled by community, passion, and values
“I fell in love with brewing more than a decade ago when I started to experiment as a homebrewer,” says Nate. “was immediately drawn to the craft of brewing beer and decided to pursue it as a career. I have spent the last decade gaining as much industry experience as possible at breweries of different sizes and diverse beer styles. My goal has always been to eventually start my own craft brewery, and Velum is the culmination of this life long dream.”
However, passion for the art of craft beer wasn’t Nate’s only reason for striking out on his own. “Jenna and I have both worked in industries that take advantage of hard work, mistreat employees, and do not run businesses with people in mind. Starting a company of our own was attractive because we wanted to become leaders in the business of caring about employees, adopting a transparent business model and incorporating the community that it serves. We think these values transcend the business and are key to the future of community-supported local industries.”
This community-minded attitude meant that Velum Fermentation’s leadership team was clearly a great fit for a Honeycomb loan - but Honeycomb wasn’t their first option of financing.
“We decided to use the Honeycomb platform as we were nearing the end of construction and close to opening,” said Nate. “Choosing to work with Honeycomb was to serve as a last push to the end and help us get to the finish line.”
Community Investment - a powerful part of a diverse local business financing stack.
“We did a little bit of everything,” said Nate about the business’ financing. “We have private investors, mostly family and friends who believe in us and our dream of opening a brewery. We have an SBA loan that really helped us get through all the shutdowns during the pandemic and allowed us to continue construction. And, we decided crowdfunding for equity was also a good fit, not just because of the monetary aspect but because it was a way to ignite interest in our project.”
“Additionally, through Honeycomb other friends and family were also able to invest small amounts and get to be a part of our journey,” says Nate. “Crowdfunding for debt or for equity has many benefits beyond funding. We saw so many people, family, friends, community members, etc. show up for us and really give us confidence that there is excitement out there for Velum!”
Innovating a new kind of community investment - equity investment offerings!
One really unique thing about Velum Fermentation’s investment offering on Honeycomb is that they were one of the first equity offerings on our platform. Nate noted that equity was a great option for their Honeycomb offering because while they didn’t have the ability to go into any more debt, they had equity they were willing to part with - especially since it was integral to sparking the public’s interest in the new business!
“Honeycomb’s business mission aligns with Velum because they are providing opportunities to small businesses who have a passion for their craft, want to be a part of their community but aren’t necessarily of interest to VC’s or other more traditional funding options,” says Nate. “We value our community and want to be an integral part of it and Honeycomb gave us the opportunity to invite the community to join our company and truly be a part of our dream.”
Community-driven investment with a side of excitement for a new local business!
“The first major highlight was the outpour of support we saw from everyone. We are so thankful and amazed by how many people, who know us and who don’t know us, signed up to be a part of Velum,” says Nate. “It is awesome to see so many people excited about beer and the space we are building for everyone to come together and have some fun!”
“The second major highlight that pairs with the first is the added marketing aspect that comes along with an investment offering. Honeycomb has a wide range of investors that get notified of the campaign, but we also leaned on social media and traditional media outlets to get our voice out there. Putting yourself out there and telling your story is a great way to engage with your audience and community. We saw a lot of people reach out beyond our campaign, interested in our progress, excited to drink our beer and cheering us along to the finish line.”
One of the key factors for their success was the fact that Velum Fermentation remained committed to the investment offering throughout its entire duration. They were constantly posting on their social media channels and getting the word out there - coached along by their Honeycomb champion. “There is no question that keeping the momentum going can make or break your campaign so it was on the constant forefront of our tasks for the duration of the campaign. This is very important for the investment offering and was really exciting to see our followers, neighbors, community members and local media engage with us with such enthusiasm.“
This commitment allowed Velum Fermentation to join the hallowed halls of the Honeycomb $100k club - they raised $102,600 from 118 investors!
Raise a glass to community investment in an exciting local business!
Velum’s top three goals for this year are to make their first 10 beers and open our doors to the public - which they already have as of April 2023. As they scale up, they will add more beer styles and make products that their customers want. Their second goal is to brew at least 2,500 barrels of beer by the end of the year in order to ensure financial stability. Their third goal is to hold at least 3 large scale events utilizing their 15,000 square foot space that will eventually become the larger taproom and arcade space - and they already have several events planned!
We’re excited to see a new addition to the craft brewing community in Pittsburgh, and can’t wait to see how Velum Fermentation continues to flourish with their team of Honeycomb investors cheers-ing along with them.
Pick your poison - there are now more ways to gather community investments on Honeycomb
Velum Fermentation has proven that Honeycomb investors are excited by the possibility of investing in equity offerings on our platform - it’s not just a lender’s game now! Learn more about Honeycomb’s new array of investment offerings by signing up below: