Local brewery uses crowd sourcing to stand out from its peers

Imagine wanting to try a raspberry pomegranate beer, but never being able to find it on store shelves let alone make it yourself. Look no further, because MobCraft Beer has a solution.

Founded in 2012 by Henry Schwartz, Andrew Gierczak and Giotto Troia, MobCraft Beer allows users to submit ideas for beers, which are then taken and turned into a recipe by the brewmaster.

From there, customers can visit MobCraft’s Facebook page or website to pre-order their desired flavor. After their order, they are encouraged to share the beer they “voted for” and ordered on their social media accounts. Each month a winner is chosen based on which beer is voted for the most. If that beer is not completely pre-sold out, those who voted for the “losing” beer are allowed to purchase the winning beer. This beer is then brewed and is sent straight to the buyers’ doors.

The idea for MobCraft came about in a unique way. Originally launched out of an incubator in Whitewater, the group wanted to open a brewpub. After realizing the vast expenses of this dream the group shifted its focus: crowd sourcing beer recipes. As co-founder Schwartz describes it: “We have found that through crowd sourcing we are able to make an direct emotional connection between consumer and brewers.”

When asked what sets MobCraft apart from other microbreweries beside their use of crowd sourcing Schwartz mentioned its beer recipes. Most microbreweries in the area are creating classic beer recipes such as IPAs, stouts, and ales. With the use of crowd sourcing, Schwartz said MobCraft has received requests that set its product apart from the rest.

The company’s unique business plan is paying off already. Mobcraft Beer was just rated as the top new brewery in Wisconsin by RateBeer, a widely visited website that provides information and acts as a forum for beer lovers everywhere. MobCraft is also a finalist in the Wisconsin Governor’s Business Plan Contest.

That does not mean the three founders have not seen some setbacks along the way. Because their business model requires quick turnaround on new beer recipes, the trio has seen some issues arise with obtaining proper permits for their product.

“We work a lot faster than the government does. It has been hard to get some permits set in place,” explained Schwartz.

MobCraft Beer has been popular enough that it has struggled to keep up with demand, making expansion necessary.

“We just bought a bunch of capital equipment to quadruple capacity. We will be installing these by the end of the month.” Schwartz said. “We will be able to produce a heck of a lot more beer, enter new markets and satisfy all of our orders in Madison alone.”

MobCraft Beer is also working on moving to a larger location; with its growth rate, the new equipment is projected to only last the crew through the end of the summer. After that, the brewery is projected to move into larger facilities in October to accommodate an expected increase in demand.

— By Jessica Graser, for WisBusiness.com . Graser is a student in the UW-Madison Department of Life Sciences Communication.