DC distillery Republic Restoratives tries out new crowdfunding platform

WASHINGTON — The chance to invest in a favorite local bar or restaurant used to be cost prohibitive. But a change in laws and an online campaign is making owning part of a D.C. distillery possible.

Before opening in May 2015, hundreds of friends and neighbors helped invest in Pia Carusone’s Republic Restoratives distillery in Northeast D.C.

But, “our supporters weren’t able to share financially in our success,” Carusone said.

So when the website Indiegogo approached Carusone and her partner about launching its crowdfunded equity platform, she said it was an no-brainer.

Now supporters of the D.C. distillery can earn a financial stake in the company with their investment.

“A business like ours is very capital intensive at the beginning,” she said. “Frankly, it’s a reason a lot of people don’t get into craft distilling, because you think of the life cycle of whiskey, it has to age a few years. It takes a while before a business like ours would be in the black,” she said.

The minimum individual investment is $100, allowing patrons and neighbors to help the distillery gain capital.

Indiegogo and Microventures chose only four small businesses nationwide to participate in the equity crowdfunding platform for “innovative startups.” If the businesses don’t reach $50,000, they don’t get any of the funding.

“The idea is that just a little money isn’t what we need,” Carusone said. “We need enough that we can do what we’re intending, which is to expand our distribution market and grow our product line.”



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