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Free beer for life? MacLeod is going all in for its backers

Few things in the world of beer taste as sweet as a pint on the house, and cask-focused brewery MacLeod Ale Brewing Co. is offering membership in their 54-degrees Founders Club that means you’ll never pay for a pint of ale at their bar again.

The brewery opened in June and quickly built a following thirsty for their British-style real ales and all-cask ethos. Now they have an opportunity to take over the other half of their Van Nuys building to expand their tasting room, begin bottling and add a kitchen. Still operating in start-up mode, MacLeod Ale has turned to crowdfunding site Indiegogo to help raise $100,000 in capital for the expansion.

Unlike most brewery crowdfunding campaigns, which offer supporters a dozen funding options with rewards from bottle openers to T-shirts, MacLeod offers only three tiers. Each will enroll the supporter in the brewery’s Founders Club -- a lifetime membership that means gratis pints on every visit to the brewery’s taproom. But membership doesn’t come cheap.

The base level -- Warrior -- is $500 and entitles you to one free pint per visit to the brewery (plus all the attendant schwag such as a mug, shirt and membership card). The $1,000 Laird membership level means every pint you drink in the taproom is on the house, while the most ardent MacLeod supporters who buy in at the $5,000 Chieftain level not only get free beer for life for themselves, but also for up to three guests in the taproom. Check out the Indiegogo campaign for all the details and restrictions.

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This isn’t MacLeod’s first go at crowdfunding; they ran an unsuccessful Kickstarter campaign to help with the initial build-out of the brewery.

“I feel like I’m too ambitious with these [campaigns],” says brewery founder Jennifer Boase, adding that they’ve chosen to use Indiegogo this time around because of the site’s “flexible funding” option. Unlike Kickstarter, the campaign does not have to reach the full goal for the brewery to receive the funds and the backers to receive their awards.

Boase says the idea for the Founders Club came from one of the dedicated regulars to the taproom, and that it’s been exciting to see the locals from the San Fernando Valley embrace the young brewery.

You can find the brewery’s ales in gastropubs and beer bars around the San Fernando Valley. Try the Local Peasant or the Glendale Tap, or just visit the MacLeod’s taproom (open Wednesday through Sunday until 10 p.m.) for their 20-ounce imperial pints pulled from a fresh cask for just $6.

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MacLeod Ale Brewing Co., 14741 Calvert St, Van Nuys, (818) 631-1963.


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