SELINSGROVE — Four longtime friends who have made craft beer in their homes for years are now ready to establish a business where they’ll be able to serve their brew directly from the tap to the public.
They have created about 18 styles of craft beer and a business plan and have leased a building, but Mike Salter, of Selinsgrove, and Sean Walburn, Jeremy Boyer and Jason Kinney, all of Isle of Que, need about $8,000 more to get the Isle of Que Brewing Company open for business at 6 University Ave.
Known as the Isle of Que Brew Crew, the quartet is appealing for donations on the crowdfunding website, Indiegogo, to raise money for building renovations and to purchase larger brewing equipment. They raised 10 percent of the goal in the first three days last week.
"We’ve built a brand, so it’s not a matter of getting people in, it’s just a matter of getting the doors open," said Salter.
The brew crew has been offering their home-brewed beer at local and regional festivals and industry events to rave reviews for four years.
"We got tired of getting the same question, "Where can we get this?," Salter said.
Besides the beer, they are often recognized at events from their podcast, "The Craft," which features live entertainment and the friends, including local musician Becky Blue, hanging out.
It’s clear that craft beer is more than a hobby for the men, who have full-time jobs, so they decided to put together a business plan that marries their passion for brewing beer and their appreciation of local talent.
They’ve received help from other brewers like Free Will Brewing Company, The Civil War Cider Company and Rusty Rail Brewing Company and have worked closely with the borough council, Keystone Innovation Zone, Rural Business Innovation Incubator and Small Business Development Center of Bucknell.
To date, they’ve invested more than $30,000 and done a lot of work to turn the vacant space at 6 University Ave. into a place where patrons can hang at the bar with a drink, watch the brewing process and enjoy occasional live music, comedians and other entertainment.
The crew has reached out to nearby restaurants, like Taste of Philly, which has agreed to deliver food to their patrons.
Carol Handlan, president of Selinsgrove Projects Inc. which has sponsored the popular Hops, Vines & Wines Festival in the borough for the past eight years, is eagerly anticipating the new business.
"Que Brew has been a contributor to the success of (the festival), introducing us to some of the most outstanding craft brews in central Pennsylvania. We are thrilled that they will be opening their brew pub in downtown Selinsgrove," she said.
Craft brewers are a close-knit group and Walburn said their new business venture is getting support from others, including Steve Leason and Heather McNabb, owners of Selin’s Grove Brewery, a few blocks away at 121 N. Market St.
"The whole industry is exploding," said McNabb. "I think bringing more business into town is a great idea and more reason for people to come here."
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