The owner of Maple Island Brewing in downtown Stillwater is asking for the community’s help to make his planned taproom a reality.
Owner Frank Fabio of Grant, and his master brewer Nic Brau, have launched a campaign on kickstarter.com to raise $30,000 in 30 days.
Kickstarter is a “crowd sourcing” website where entrepreneurs can raise capital from ordinary people who want to invest in an idea.
Those who give to Fabio’s campaign will receive perks, ranging from a Maple Island Brewing sticker at the $10 level to a private party for five that includes brewing a batch of beer, plus merchandise at the $5,000. Everyone who contributes $250 or more will have his or her name engraved on a plaque in the brewery, in addition to other benefits.
Substantial work has already gone into the former Maple Island Hardware Store building at 225 Main St. N., where Fabio plans to create the only taproom downtown. He received a special use permit from the planning commission in January.
Already a granite bar is installed, as well as coolers, and a brewing tank was scheduled for delivery June 10. The finished product will have a private loft and two large glass garage doors opening to patio seating with a river view.
According to Brau, the taproom will always serve three flagship beers: an coffee oatmeal stout, a Kolsch and an IPA.
“What I do differently from a lot of other people is that I don’t limit myself to seasons or style,” Brau said. “I pretty much do whatever I think is going to … taste good in the beer using a combination of grains, extracts, fruits, spices, herbs.”
But the construction costs have exceeded Fabio’s expectations due to several factors.
A change in Minnesota Department of Agriculture rules at the beginning of the year required Fabio to submit his plans for review, which took approximately 30 days. After the review, the department added requirements for the building.
Another challenge was that the building was changing its classification from retail to special use permit. Because it hadn’t been a restaurant in the past, it required many upgrades to the building.
After delays in the project, suppliers also had to change their original quotes.
With the increased expenses, Fabio began looking for ways to cut costs by doing work himself and receiving help from others. Already many local businesses and community members have supported the project, he said. The brewery received many donations, including a large, stainless steel sink and wood finish.
“We’ve been doing everything we can to make it work ourselves,” he said.
Now the project needs cash to help fund its electrical and plumbing needs, lighting, art, decor, tables, chairs, pint glasses and growlers.
“It’s somebody’s chance to actually say, ‘I helped that brewery happen,’” Fabio said.
Fabio said the brewery needs the money within about 30 days. The Kickstarter campaign runs through Sunday, July 6. If supporters pledge the full $30,000, their credit cards will be charged, and the money will go to the brewery. If the campaign misses its goal, no one is charged. It’s all or nothing.
“Whether it’s a little or a lot, we’re just asking for help,” Fabio said. “It’s going to help us make our dream happen.”
The campaign had raised $960 as of the morning of June 10.
To watch a video about the project, to read more or to contribute, go to tinyurl.com/MapleIslandBrewing.
Contact Jonathan Young at [email protected]