Local homebrewers Wyndee and Dave Forrest are poised to go pro. The UNLV grads launched a Kickstarter campaign May 3 to fund their proposed microbrewery and taproom, CraftHaus. They are currently more than 85 percent of the way towards the $20,000 needed for a walk-in cooler, licenses and a ½-barrel (15-gallon) pilot brew system for testing recipes before going all-out on their 10 barrel (310-gallon) system.
CraftHaus is slated for a late-fall debut in a 2,400-square-foot space near Warm Springs and Gibson roads in Henderson, just steps from Las Vegas Distillery and custom-crush outfit Grape Expectations, thus establishing, Wyndee says, the “Las Vegas Booze District.” In Phase 1, CraftHaus would produce kegs for local bars, while welcoming guests for tours, tastings and growlers fill-ups. Food trucks will be regular guests, pulling right up to the loading dock. Phase 2 adds a bottling or canning line.
Think the Forrests are dreaming? They are, for the better part of three years, since Dave returned from Sierra Nevada Beer Camp a winner in 2010. But now they have a business partner and investors. The Forrests have connected with local pros, poured their own quality brews at Big Dog’s Peace, Love & Hoppy-ness festival and the recent Great Vegas Festival of Beer, found supporters in the food truck community, and even garnered help from Yelp, which came out to boost CraftHaus at a rally at Las Vegas Distillery on May 18.
Crowdfunding a passion project is stressful, Wyndee admits, but “This was our choice, this is our dream and this is what we want to do.” They’re not alone. Celebrity boozehound Zane Lamprey of Three Sheets and Drinking Made Easy fame has also turned to Kickstarter to fund his latest venture, a travel show called Chug.
“Kickstarter is a way for the community to feel involved and to feel a sense of ownership and pride,” Wyndee says. In addition, 5 percent of the funding would go to the Nevada Craft Brewers Association.
CraftHaus may not exist yet, but the Forrests give donors a preview with their slick website, a portal to their portfolio of “traditional but tweaked” beers, including Evocation, a saison (French-style farmhouse ale); Comrade, an imperial Russian stout; and Charlie’s Mantra, a pale ale named for the father of homebrewing, Charlie Papazian. And if Kickstarter should overshoot their target by $5,000, the Forrests will invest in a barrel-aging program.
One local professional brewer recently commented that, of all Las Vegas’ proposed microbreweries, his money is on CraftHaus to see it through. But the Forrests plan to open whether they hit their goal by midnight June 1 or not—they’re here for the beer.
Ready to put your money where your beer goes? Visit CraftHausBrewery.com to learn more and to donate.
CraftHaus Brewery & Taproom was successfully funded by midnight, May 31. In all, 205 backers came in for a total of $25,859, nearly $6,000 more than the original goal of $20,000. Founders Dave and Wyndee Forrest have said that if they exceeded the original goal by $5,000, they would invest in whiskey barrels for a barrel-aged beer program. So, it looks like it’s whiskey a-go-go for the Forrests!