A northeast Indiana cider and beer brewery is the first beneficiary of a new fund designed to boost entrepreneurship. Chapman's Brewing Co. has secured $100,000 from the Angola Investment Fund to support additional growth. August 29, 2014
ANGOLA, Ind. – Just a year in existence, Chapman’s Brewing Company has become the first company to utilize the Angola Investment Fund (AIF) to help fund its planned growth. The City established the AIF in 2013, using Major Moves funds, proceeds from the Indiana Toll Road lease deal in 2006. The City has committed $1 million towards the fund in an effort to attract innovative start-up companies and entrepreneurs to the area.
“We need to support the next generation of companies if Angola is to remain a vibrant community,” stated Kathy Armstrong, member of the Angola City Council. Armstrong has worked closely with Elevate Ventures and the Steuben County EDC to create a unique local economic development tool. Investments from the AIF may be straight loans, may be loans that can be converted into equity or straight equity investments. “We have three goals for the AIF – create new high-skill, high-wage jobs, make the fund sustainable to support future businesses and to keep the fund as straightforward and simple as possible,” according to Armstrong.
Chapman's, which is in the midst of its second investment campaign in as many years, sees this as a tremendous tool to support the growth of the company in Angola. “We choose to start in Angola and we choose to grow in Angola. The Angola Investment Fund weighed in on that decision,” stated Scott Fergusson, CEO and Founder of Chapman's Brewing Company.
Fergusson is also Dean of the Ketner School of Business at Trine University, where he has engaged some of the faculty for assistance, especially in the areas of engineering and chemistry. He admits some of the students have been happy to help the fledging company, also. According to Fergusson, “The fact that it's a brewery obviously appeals to the students, but our student and graduate employees are doing the work – research, planning, finance, marketing – they're learning what it takes to be entrepreneurs.”
Chapman's goal is to raise $2 million for the next expansion phase, of which the AIF will invest $100,000. In its first year, the company has successfully launched several varieties, including an Ale Cider, the Englishman, Enlighten (an authentic German Kolsch) and an IPA. They have also focused on penetrating the Indiana distribution system and can now be found throughout the Hoosier state. The company's future goals are to expand seasonal flavors and to expand to become a regional brewery, pursuing markets in neighboring states and larger cities.
The company has eight existing employees, including the brew master and assistant brew master, product managers, and key marketing and finance staff. Fergusson projects employment to grow to 20 in the near future, as well as establishing a full-time tasting room within their Angola brewery. “We want to delight you with our line of craft beers because we know you care about what you drink.” – Scott Fergusson, Founder.
“This is exciting in many respects,” according to David Koenig, executive director for the Steuben County Economic Development Corporation. Adding, “The Angola Investment Fund is up and running, Angola and Steuben County benefit from the jobs at Chapman's, with estimated wages well above the area average, and we have one more amenity supporting the County's growth as a tourist destination.”
About the City of Angola
The City of Angola, Indiana is located in the center of Northern Indiana Lakes Country. The community of 8,400 people enjoy a robust and diverse local economy, beautiful and well maintained parks and recreation, a thriving central business district, a top-rated local school system and is home to Trine University. The city is situated at the southeast corner of the intersection of I-69 and I-80/90. The Pokagon State Park and historic Potawatomi Inn are located just outside of the city, as are numerous natural lakes.
About Chapman's Brewing Company
Chapman's was named in honor of John Chapman, the Johnny Appleseed that every American knows, whose legacy stands as growing the apple corridor from western Pennsylvania to northern Indiana. His grave is located just south of the brewery (Fort Wayne, IN), but his creative energy and his frontier spirit are alive in everything we do. It all began in the fall of 2011, when our Founder, Scott Fergusson, attended a Trine University football game and discussed local economic development with some community leaders. After sharing ideas of what “we” do well in northern Indiana, Scott saw the opportunity of creating incredible beers and ciders here in lake country of northern Indiana – and sharing our craft within the region. Today, Chapman's continues to grow into new markets with innovative products that connect the desires of the consumer with the passion of our company.
Source: The Steuben County Economic Development Corp.