My name is Karl, and I'm the founder of Skeptic Distillery Co. Welcome to our campaign!
I'd like to take this opportunity to say thank you for considering an investment in my distillery, and to give you some additional information about where we came from, where we're at, and where we plan to go.
Originally, I started the company to be a craft brewery, which was a passion project. I was an avid homebrewer hoping to turn pro one day. But my journey down that path was irreversibly changed after I tried a cold vacuum distillation on a beer I was working on, a mango-habanero Double IPA. Having tasted and spit back out white whiskeys (aka white lightning, white dog, etc.) in the past because they were harsh, grainy, raw and generally undrinkable, the clear liquid coming out of this R&D lab still not only smelled just like the beer, but it tasted like it too. And it was SMOOTH! Incredibly so. Nobody was doing anything like it at this time, and I decided then and there that this was the way. I was going to bring that craft beer ethos, creativity and variety to the whiskey world.
So, no whiskeys yet though, you say? This is true. The equipment to produce whiskey from scratch in this manner would have been far more expensive than I had the resources for, and scaling a lab process up to a production scale on custom equipment is no easy feat. I would have to work out the kinks first. But what I could do, was develop a vacuum distillation process for already high proof distilled spirits that would vastly improve them, and as a gin enthusiast, I knew that capturing the freshest essence of the botanicals was something that only distilling at cold temperatures could accomplish. So I began working on perfecting my gin recipe over the next couple of years, as well as making an incredibly smooth and clean vodka.
I bought a tote on eBay full of random sanitary fittings, connectors and pipes that came out of a Caterpillar filtration system (I'm guessing, since a few of them had the CAT logo etched into them), and used these along with some self-fabricated components, purchased components and other eBay or auction equipment to begin building the production distillery for gins and vodka, and eventually also for beer whiskeys.
In June of 2018, I sold my 1/3 interest in a chemical company I helped grow dramatically (and where I found my entrepeneurial niche and developed my business acumen) over the prior 7+ years, and focused full-time on Skeptic Distillery. There have been many challenges, successes and missteps along the way, but we persevered. We adapted. We iterated on the fly. We raised money on another crowdfunding platform and received the bulk of it one week before the country went into lockdown in March 2020 for Covid-19, so we had to change our plans for those funds from growth to survival. That money allowed us to produce, sell and donate thousands of gallons of hand sanitizer to support first responders, charities, low income communities, etc. But the pandemic certainly put a massive crimp in our plans for Skeptic's growth.
Even during this time, we focused on doing things that would allow us to really grow once the pandemic began waning and restrictions were lifted. We knew the tasting room would be important as a place to really engage with our community of supporters and fans, to test out new product concepts and to generate revenue, so we began demolition on the offices in the front of our facility in order to make way for a future tasting room and bar. As of today, we have come a LONG way towards bringing it to reality and opening, and we plan to focus on finishing it and opening it ASAP with the early proceeds from this cap raise.
Despite the pandemic, we grew our alcohol sales significantly from 2019 and opened into new markets (because if you can't feasibly sell in your home state, you have to look to other markets where you can). 2021 has seen similar growth in alcohol sales, and we are poised to grow even more next year. Here are a few highlights of things we've done this year, as well as some things we just began that we expect to increase our volumes:
1) We began a partnership producing and contract bottling high-end vodka for the first 100% African-American owned spirit brand in Illinois, PlayPen Vodka (www.playpenvodka.com).
2) We opened into several new markets including Texas, Georgia, Florida, New York/New Jersey, New Hampshire, Maine and Minnesota, as well as Alberta, Canada.
3) We kicked off an online store where our products can now be purchased and shipped to over 40 states in the USA at www.shop-skeptic.com.
4) Just this week, we launched a new program with our Illinois distributor to sell our vodka and gin in 1L bottles, in packaging geared to well placements in bars and restaurants, and at exceptionally competitive price points. Additionally, several of our distributors in other states requested samples of these to potentially begin similar programs in those markets where it makes sense. We are already gaining new placements in and around Chicago and the suburbs and expect to get some increasingly larger quantity orders through the end of the year and to continue growing into 2022.
I plan to be posting more updates here regularly in the future to show how we are using your investments to actually follow through on our plans, with things like before/after pictures, time lapse videos, etc. We want you to see in real time, or as close to that as we can get, how your investment is helping us take the steps we believe we need to take, in order to achieve our goals.
We're very excited to partner with you and grow our business and community together!
Cell: (773) 910-1339
P.S. Please feel free to reach out to me directly. Texting or email are the best ways to reach me if you have any questions or would just like to talk - I get way too many spam calls to answer numbers I don't have programmed in!