Microloan Business Spotlight: Brewing Beer to Life

Microloan Business Spotlight: Brewing Beer to Life

Small Business Loans (CDC Loans) is a member of the Friends of the SBA Microloan Program and an active SBA Microloan intermediary. A nonprofit organization, located in San Diego, California, CDC Loans offers low interest financing programs to businesses of all shapes and sizes so they can expand, grow, and create jobs. Throughout their 39 year history, the organization has helped create more than 182,000 jobs and invested more than $13.8 billion to over 11,000 small businesses in California, Arizona, and Nevada. The SBA Microloan program is an important part of the organization’s financial tools to meet the capital needs of their communities’ underserved entrepreneurs and small businesses. A great example of this is their work with George Thornton, a small business owner in San Diego, California.

George began brewing his own beer as a hobby in 2002 thanks to a recommendation from his sister. It wasn’t until he was in grad school that he thought about making his hobby his career. In February 2012, George moved forward with this dream and opened a homebrewer supply store and resource center called The Homebrewer: North Park. Thanks in part to his store’s great resources, the business became a hit among local and visiting homebrewers.

About two years after he opened up his store, George had the opportunity to expand his space and move into a neighboring building that a former tenant had left. He had always envisioned starting his own brewery, so he decided to take the plunge. However, George was unable to get a loan from a traditional bank to finance the expansion, due to a short business history and the small loan amount. Financing was key to making this dream a reality, so he reached out to CDC Loans for assistance.

CDC Loans, which specializes in providing small business like George’s with very low cost capital, provided him with an SBA microloan of $40,000. This financing was also paired with privately raised money from CDC Loans. As a result of this support, George was able to secure fermenters and other necessary equipment to produce his own beer, open his brewery and a taproom, while continuing with his homebrewer supply store. The retail store and his taproom are connected via a pass-through.

CDC Loans not only contributed to his success by providing capital, but advised him throughout the whole store opening process. In evaluating the market, CDC Loans and George soon realized that selling 10-15 unique ales, lagers and stouts daily provided an even better source of income than a supply store. Despite some setbacks in his personal life, George pushed forward and opened the Home Brewing Company in 2014.

At George’s supply store he also has a workshop classes where he teaches individuals how to make their own beer. George is an instructor at the SDSU Business of Craft Beer Certificate Program, a Certified Cicerone (Sommelier for beer) and a Certified Beer Judge and is currently attempting at the Master Cicerone.

Despite those personal setbacks, George was able to take a hobby of his and make it a very prosperous business. In fact, the brewery has been such a success that George was approached by people interested in investing in his company. Continuing to advise and provide technical assistance to the business, CDC Loans arranged for George to meet with an investment lawyer to set up shares for stockholders.

Small Business Loans (CDC Loans) helps entrepreneurs just like George not only finance their businesses, but provides the pre and post technical assistance that many new and even existing small businesses need to achieve their business goals. Visit CDC Loans’ website for more information regarding their microloan work.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.