A Helsinki microbrewery that makes ‘nerd culture themed beers’ has been forced to stop operations after a series of management missteps and cash flow problems.
However, the company is hoping a crowd-funding campaign can get their quirky beers flowing again.
8-Bit Brewing was the brainchild of Portland, Oregon brewer Jason Wolford who moved to Finland in 2014 with the dream of setting up his own brew operation.
Early sales success at a time when the Finnish microbrew scene was still growing, and a partnership that saw an 8-Bit Brewing pub open in Helsinki were signs the venture had a bright future.
However, the beer business went sour, quickly.
“When we first ordered our brewing equipment from the UK, we had a miscommunication and were very surprised to find that when our fermenters showed up they had open tops, and don’t seal at all” explains Wolford.
Welding the vats shut, to make sure oxygen doesn’t get inside, proved to be too expensive, and around that time one of the company’s three founders quit. A financial snafu meant the brewery was running up debts even though they could afford to pay their bills.
So Wolford is turning to loyal customers and fans they’ve met at beer festivals to get their products – with gaming and sci-fi / fantasy-inspired names like Sonic Screwdriver, Carina of Lime, Razident Evil and God of War – on supermarket shelves and in bars.
“We are right now in a position where we can’t continue without help […] we’re hoping that between the beer community, the game community and anybody who ever worked hard for their dreams, we can find the help we need to continue” says Wolford.
A new crowdfunding campaign has been launched to help save 8-Bit Brewing, with the goal of raising between €60,000 and €120,000 to put the business back on track. Beer-loving investors can pledge as little as €100 to the cause, and own shares of the brewery, get permanent discounts on beer or a custom-labeled case of ale.
“If we can sell around 20% of the company we can […] weld the tanks shut which will immediately double the quality of our beers and make the shelf life of our bottles finally viable for shops” says head brewer Wolford.
The company would also use the crowdfunding money to open their brewery shop as an extra way to raise income; and they want to hire sales staff to get their beers out to more supermarkets around the country, as well as the capital city region.