WESTFIELD, NJ — Lions Roar Brewing Co. is hoping to open this fall, despite a setback in funding.
Corrine Grant, who owns the brewery with her husband, Tim, said she received a “crushing” phone call recently during which the caller informed her that crowdfunding websites such as GoFundMe, which Lions Roar hoped to use, could not be used to fill a $30,000 shortfall to fund final expenses for the brewery.
The state Division of Alcoholic Beverage Control prohibits the use of online crowdfunding for businesses supported by liquor licenses, according to a 2019 advisory notice, which states that the ABC must review the source of all funding for such businesses to protect against “the infiltration of the alcoholic beverage industry by persons with known criminal records, habits or associations.”
“It was a setback for sure,” Grant said. “I wish we were aware of it.”
Grant said she was “in between a rock and hard place,” as startups weren’t eligible for any state or local aid for small businesses, and the expenses seemed to keep mounting. But with guidance from the community, Grant said she is optimistic the brewery can open soon.
“People reached out asking if we were looking for investors or loans,” she said. “So many people in the community were giving us ideas of what we can do [after the Gofundme] and it was just really great to see everyone brainstorming for us. It was appreciated — we definitely felt the love.”
Bob Zuckerman, the executive director of the Westfield Downtown Corporation, said he would offer support to help the brewery open as soon as possible and commended community members for offering ideas to help.
“This community is so responsive to local business, especially when they're most in need,” Zuckerman said. “Look at Vicki's diner, the GoFundMe which started for them, which helped them in such a significant way.”
Grant said she is waiting on state approval to permit brewing and hopes to open this fall.
“We’ll be ready to go once the [state] allows us to brew,” she said. “We may have some financial loose ends, but we can figure out to be ready by fall.”
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