Skeptic Distillery

Fusing Craft & Science Into Incredible Spirits

Skeptic Distillery

Fusing Craft & Science Into Incredible Spirits

Melrose Park, IL
Food & Beverage
Skeptic Distillery uses a unique cold vacuum distillation process to produce fresh, innovative and delicious-tasting spirits.

$29,834

raised
$102,129
previously crowdfunded
26
Investors
$9M
Valuation
$5.00
Price per Share
$250.00
Min. Investment
Common
Shares Offered
Equity
Offering Type
$1M
Offering Max
Reg CF
Offering

$29,834

raised
$102,129
previously crowdfunded
26
Investors
$9M
Valuation
$5.00
Price per Share
$250.00
Min. Investment
Common
Shares Offered
Equity
Offering Type
$1M
Offering Max
Reg CF
Offering

Rewards

Get rewarded for investing more into Skeptic Distillery:

$250+
Investment
StartEngine Owner’s Bonus
This offering is eligible for the StartEngine Owner’s 10% Bonus program. For details on this program, please see the Offering Summary section below.
$1,000+
Investment
$1000+
Unique Code for FREE trio of products on website (any 3)
$2,500+
Investment
$2,500+
First tier plus Unique Code for $100 of free merch via Skeptic online store
$5,000+
Investment
$5,000+
First two tiers plus lifetime 20% off all drinks, spirits and merch purchased online or in the distillery
$10,000+
Investment
$10,000+
First three tiers, plus guaranteed (at no cost) bottle of every limited release product for 10 years.

Reasons to Invest

The 2019 US craft market was worth $3.7 billion and is expected to reach $20 billion by 2023 with a CAGR of 32%
Skeptic Distillery’s spirits have received numerous awards and have been featured in a multitude of publications including Wine Enthusiast Magazine, with its gin ranking among the ‘Top 100 Spirits in the World 2019’
Skeptic’s sales, which took off last year, reached $303,000 in 2020 (despite the setbacks of the pandemic) and are already at $180,000+ for 2021, as the distillery ramps up to secure distribution in up to 25 US states by 2022.

Overview


Where craft meets science

At Skeptic Distillery, we believe in free thinking and individuality when it comes to solving problems. When we founded the company back in late 2014, we set out on a mission to test the limits of distilling, making spirits fresher, faster, smoother and more flavorful than before. We believe in fusing science and craft and have worked under the guidance of a chemical engineer to develop our cold vacuum distilling process. 


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Founder and CEO, Karl Loepke, is a skilled entrepreneur who transformed his last company from $3.5 million in sales and over $6 million in debt, to the number one company in its niche market with over $16 million in annual sales. Sales Manager, Bruce Jacobson, was heavily involved in Seagrams Wine Coolers and helped launch and grow products like Hpnotiq, Evan Williams Whiskey, Elijah Craig and numerous other brands. Bruce’s deep connections are helping Skeptic to gain rapid distribution, as we expand and gain entrance into key opportunities with major industry players.


 


THE PROBLEM


There is a gap in the spirits market for innovative products at an attractive price point


Traditional distilling methods lack innovation, while many of the more innovative and unique spirits on the market are just highly overpriced. At Skeptic Distillery, we believe in providing premium spirits at affordable prices. Just because we use seemingly dense technology and methods, doesn’t mean our process is more expensive or labor intensive.  



Craft spirits don’t need to be pricy or eccentric. We focus on making spirits that are exceptionally smooth, flavorful and approachable. Even our most out of the box spirit, GinQuila, is incredibly versatile and drinkable!


THE SOLUTION


Our vacuum distillation makes for a smoother, more nuanced product



Everything begins as an experiment for us! We cold-distill our spirits with a custom-built continuous vacuum still, that removes air and pressure, and allows us to distill at temperatures well below boiling. Our method removes the heads and tails of the base beer and concentrates the congeners (flavor compounds), producing a smooth and flavorful spirit. 


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We sell primarily to distributors, and use a pseudo DTC model that also allows us to advertise directly to customers while still selling through a distributor. We also plan to open our tasting room soon, where we will offer cocktails, host events, and sell our products directly to the public.

THE MARKET


In a multibillion dollar market, we prioritize the science and consistency that makes our product unique


In 2019, the US craft market was worth $3.7 billion and is expected to reach $20 billion by 2023 with a CAGR of 32% (Source). Craft spirits are expected to grow by 30.22% between 2020 and 2027 (Source). Vodka makes up 31% of the US spirits market and was up 2.9% to $6.6 billion in February 2020, while whiskey was up 10.8% to $4 billion. (Source). 



Skeptic’s cold distillation process is what we believe truly sets us apart from the crowd. We create flavors and smoothness that others can only dream of. While most distilleries are filled with massive tanks and columns, ours uses a vacuum distillation process that allows us to focus on monitoring the temperature, pressure and flow rate of our pumps, to ensure the consistent production of our high quality spirits. 


OUR TRACTION


Turning ‘Skeptics’ into believers, with our numerous accolades and press mentions

We have received a multitude of awards for our spirits, including: 

Double Gold SIP Awards, 2019 and 2021 International Consumer Tasting

Best of Category, 2019 Judging of Craft Spirits 

Gold medalist, 2019 World Spirits Design Competition 

Best in Show by Country Category, 2018 USA Spirits Competition

Gin of the Year and Vodka of the Year, 2018 USA Spirits Competition 



Our spirits have been featured in Wine Enthusiast Magazine, with our gin ranking among their ‘Top 100 Spirits in the World 2019’. We have also received reviews and recognition from Liquor Hound, Booze Dancing, Good Spirits News, Beauty Loves Booze, USA Trade Tasting, and Best Tasting Spirits. 


Our 2020 revenue was $128,000 in spirits, plus another $175,000 in hand sanitizer, despite the setbacks of the pandemic. This year we have done more than $173,000 in spirits YTD, and are expanding our distribution almost exponentially. Now that things are opening up again, we are adding markets and finally gaining momentum.

 

Why Invest


Our products have a unique edge in a red hot market

At Skeptic Distillery, our vision is to become a leading innovator in the liquor space, globally renowned for the unique yet approachable and delicious character of our spirits. We also aim to become a brand house from which we can use our cutting edge technology to create and sell off new brands.


The US craft market is growing exponentially and expected to reach $20 billion by 2023, so as our distribution expands, we believe we will have no problem capturing a significant market share with our one-of-a-kind spirits. As business ramps up, we are working toward distribution in 24-26 states by 2022, and we look forward to having you be a part of our success story!

 



Insert Image (⌘P)

Offering Summary


Company

:

Skeptic Distillery Co.

Corporate Address

:

2525 W Le Moyne St., Melrose Park, IL 60160

Offering Minimum

:

$10,000.00

Offering Maximum

:

$1,000,000.00

Minimum Investment Amount

(per investor)

:

$250.00











Terms


Offering Type

:

Equity

Security Name

:

Class B Common Non-Voting Shares

Minimum Number of Shares Offered

:

2,000

Maximum Number of Shares Offered

:

200,000

Price per Share

:

$5.00

Pre-Money Valuation

:

$9,000,000.00











*Maximum Number of Shares Offered subject to adjustment for bonus shares. See Bonus info below.

Investment Incentives and Bonuses*

Previous Backer Bonus

All previous investors will receive an additional 5% bonus shares on top of the highest bonus for which they qualify.

Time-Based 

Friends and Family Early Birds

Invest within the first 48 hours and receive an additional 15% bonus shares.

Super Early Bird Bonus

Invest within the next 72 hours and receive an additional 10% bonus shares.

Early Bird Bonus

Invest within the next 7 days and receive an additional 5% bonus shares.

Amount-Based:

$1000+

Unique Code for FREE trio of products on website (any 3)

$2,500+

First tier plus Unique Code for $100 of free merch via Skeptic online store

$5,000+

First two tiers plus lifetime 20% off all drinks, spirits and merch purchased online or in the distillery

$10,000+

First three tiers, plus guaranteed (at no cost) bottle of every limited release product for 10 years.

*All perks occur when the offering is completed.

The 10% StartEngine Owners' Bonus

Skeptic Distillery will offer 10% additional bonus shares for all investments that are committed by investors that are eligible for the StartEngine Crowdfunding Inc. OWNer's bonus.

This means eligible StartEngine shareholders will receive a 10% bonus for any shares they purchase in this offering. For example, if you buy 100 shares of Class B Common Non-Voting Shares at $5.00 / share, you will receive 110 shares of Class B Common Non-Voting Shares, meaning you'll own 110 shares of Class B Common Non-Voting for $500. Fractional shares will not be distributed and share bonuses will be determined by rounding down to the nearest whole share.

This 10% Bonus is only valid during the investor's eligibility period. Investors eligible for this bonus will also have priority if they are on a waitlist to invest and the company surpasses its maximum funding goal. They will have the first opportunity to invest should room in the offering become available if prior investments are canceled or fail.

Investors will only receive a single bonus, which will be the highest bonus rate they are eligible for.

Irregular Use of Proceeds

The Company might incur Irregular Use of Proceeds that may include but are not limited to the following over $10,000: Vendor payments. Salary payments made to one’s self, a friend or relative. Inter company debt or back payments.

Show More
Most recent fiscal year-end:
Prior fiscal year-end:
Total Assets
$309,692.00 USD
$204,384.00 USD
Cash And Cash Equivalents
$14,956.00 USD
$13,610.00 USD
Accounts Receivable
$45,511.00 USD
$449.00 USD
Short Term Debt
$355,722.00 USD
$253,925.00 USD
Long Term Debt
$299,666.00 USD
$275,449.00 USD
Revenues And Sales
$324,237.00 USD
$40,050.00 USD
Costs Of Goods Sold
$203,133.00 USD
$13,851.00 USD
Taxes Paid
$0.00 USD
$0.00 USD
Net Income
-$153,106.00 USD
-$207,724.00 USD

Risks

A crowdfunding investment involves risk. You should not invest any funds in this offering unless you can afford to lose your entire investment. In making an investment decision, investors must rely on their own examination of the issuer and the terms of the offering, including the merits and risks involved. These securities have not been recommended or approved by any federal or state securities commission or regulatory authority. Furthermore, these authorities have not passed upon the accuracy or adequacy of this document. The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission does not pass upon the merits of any securities offered or the terms of the offering, nor does it pass upon the accuracy or completeness of any offering document or literature. These securities are offered under an exemption from registration; however, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission has not made an independent determination that these securities are exempt from registration.


Updates

Notice of Funds Disbursement

3 days ago

[The following is an automated notice from the StartEngine team].

Hello!

As you might know, Skeptic Distillery has exceeded its minimum funding goal. When a company reaches its minimum on StartEngine, it's about to begin withdrawing funds. If you invested in Skeptic Distillery be on the lookout for an email that describes more about the disbursement process.


This campaign will continue to accept investments until its indicated closing date.


Thanks for funding the future.

-StartEngine

Skeptic Progress Update

19 days ago

Hello everybody!  

Please take a couple minutes to watch this video where I do a walk-through of the distillery facility and discuss in some depth the vision for the tasting room space, the progress we've made, and our plans for the capital raised in this crowdfunding campaign.  I actually did this video a few weeks ago and we have made some further progress since then, which you can see in the images below the video.  



As you can see from the video, there's still a lot of work to be done, though not much as you might think.  Primarily completing and outfitting the bar, paint and floor resurfacing, then it's just adding in tables, chairs, etc.  Because it was an old office space earlier, there was a ton of stripping down to bare bones and demolition required to get to this point.  The heavy lifting is done though, now it's time to paint, build and finish it up.  The warehouse is completely done aside from cleaning and sealing the concrete, and the distillery is now 95% complete but for some paint touchup and reorganization.  We're distilling vodka this week and gin next week so we had to pause finishing up to make some product.  I'll post about our production process to give you a behind-the-scenes at what makes us so unique in a future update.

I recently revamped and relaunched the Skeptic merchandise online store with the arrival of some new GinQuila shirt designs.  These are available in aqua blue and sunset orange.  You can also preorder the Skeptic astronaut rocker shirts there as well.  If you have already invested and are owed a unique promo code perk, please reach out directly to me at kloepke@skepticdistillery.com or text me at (773) 910-1339 if you would like to order something as I have not set those codes up yet for each individual.  To celebrate the launch of the store, anyone can use the code GINQUILA10 to get 10% off anything in the store (albeit limited selection at the moment).

We're also offering 10% off at the Skeptic Spirits Store with the code SKEPTIC10, if you would like to order some spirits in time for the holidays.  We'll be running a Cyber Monday deal over there as well as a holiday promotion for gifts.  Please follow us on social media to stay in the loop on what's coming up!



An Explanation of how/why we use Cold Vacuum Distillation Technology

about 1 month ago

I would like to discuss in a bit more detail what really separates Skeptic Distillery from the crowded spirits category, and why what we're doing here has enormous investment potential.  In a series of articles I began posting on LinkedIn a couple of weeks ago (the first two of which are in the links below), I go into some depth about the process and elaborate on what we plan to do with the options it opens up for us in the future.  

(7) Vacuum Distillation and Spirits | LinkedIn

(7) Vacuum Distillation Feedstocks - Mash or Beer? | LinkedIn 

These articles are intended to be more or less educational, and I will continue writing them, but I want to discuss here what this all means in terms of the investment potential of Skeptic Distillery.  

Cold vacuum distillation allows us to distill at room temperature or below, which means we can preserve the complexity and character of what we're distilling into the spirit.  Traditional distillation temperatures and methods destroy most of that and only the most potent flavors and aromas come through.  This means that we can introduce complexity up front, rather than rely on the barrel to develop it over time.  This is revolutionary in the industry, when you think about it.  

What it also means is that extended aging and such are not necessary.  In fact, that would crush much of the complexity of the starting spirit and turn it into something more like a traditional whiskey over time.  So what we're talking about doing is creating white spirits right out of the still that are already complex and tasty, essentially creating entirely new categories of spirits that haven't really existed before.  And then, we can also age these to introduce character either from a barrel or wood spirals or chips from different types of wood to give even more unique character.  The possibilities are practically limitless.

Being one of the first to market leveraging this kind of technology in a practical way, we plan to become the leading distillery in the world producing spirits in this way.  One of the first whiskeys we plan to produce with the cold vacuum whiskey still will be based on a Toasted Coconut Porter recipe that we have experimented with extensively on the pilot still.  The flavors and aromas are complex out of the still, with notes of chocolate, caramel, raisin/prune and toasted coconut, which is then aged on oak chips or in a barrel, picking up the oak character, vanilla and some cinnamon notes as well.  And it's remarkably smooth as well.  

So please take a look at the articles to gain a better understanding of our unique process and how we're applying it to spirit distillation, and why it makes for a superior product with limitless possibilities.  And if you decide to invest with Skeptic Distillery, thank you as well!  Your investment will allow us to bring these products to market faster and to achieve our goals on a much quicker timeline.  

Welcome to Our Campaign!

about 2 months ago

Hey there! 

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!

Cheers,

Karl Loepke

Founder/Distillaristó

Email: kloepke@skepticdistillery.com

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!


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