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Levity Brewing Company

Background

More than 15 years ago, Luke McKelvy started teaching himself to brew beer in his apartment while attending Indiana University of Pennsylvania. His passion for brewing inspired other friends to start brewing beer at home, including Erich Walls and Jered Herman. Each of them had full time careers, Luke in banking as a credit analyst, Erich in manufacturing as a sales and marketing representative, and Jered in education as a high school biology teacher. However, they regularly came together to brew beer and soon brewing went from a hobby to a regular get together between them as friends and their families. After years of this, they felt they were in a position to all leave their jobs and start a brewery/brew pub, especially as there were none in Indiana County.

The Problem

Besides bringing small scale beer production experience and expertise, they bought comradery, passion and a brand vision of being about community, art, and joy and not just a product. However, they never started a business before, only had a third of the resources they needed, and did not have experience creating a brand and brand experience.

Thus, they were looking for assistance with all the following:

• Raising financing

• Strategic Planning

• Operations & Technology

• Marketing/Branding/Communications:


SBDC Assistance

The Indiana University of Pennsylvania SBDC provided the following assistance to these areas.

• Developed investor presentation (10-15 slides) and 7 year projections, including expansion of production and distribution and an acquisition exit scenario

• Provided ideas on addressing operational issues, including food service by collaborating with existing food businesses

• Provided ideas on marketing and branding, particularly creating and communicating an experience

• Connected clients to program that provides students who bring hands on execution skills in social media, PR and events

• Acted as a sounded board on myriad of issues from legal to distribution


Results

The client has:

• Obtained approximately $400,000 in financing

• Launched the Levity Brewing Company, including brewpub with food

• Established co-operative and co-marketing relationships with food vendors

• Started direct distribution to restaurants and bars