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Do a search on Kickstarter. There were around a dozen attempts last time I checked. Most of them failed, and most of them were for relatively low amounts. Relative, that is, to the actual funding needed to start a distillery. Kickstarter's terms prohibit providing alcohol as a reward and I'm sure that has a lot to do with the lack of success there. Maybe other crowdfunding sites allow it.

My observation is that crowdfunding success is rarely random. It helps greatly to have some traction and an established track record.

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I have an indiegogo campaign set and ready for launch to cover my first 6 months of operating costs. I figured that way I could give away a couple hundred "first bottling" limited edition bottles for contributions. You are correct that most crowdfunding sites restrict giving away alcohol, however indiegogo allowed me to do certificates for bottles to be picked up at the distillery. I was only shooting for for $20K though. FYI, Kickstarter specifically told me that I would not fall within their terms of service. I think it's got wheels. Crowdfunding is about getting people to believe in something that they don't have yet. The trick is to sell them on the excitement and generate buzz. Start with friends and family and hope that they get their friends and family excited.

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