Viewing blog posts written by Gino DiCaro

SF-based Sufferfest manufacturing a healthier beer

Posted by Gino DiCaro, VP, Communications on Sept. 27, 2018

This week CompanyWeek and the CMTA Champions Series bring you a profile on one of California's small but very exciting new breweries looking at 200 percent growth in 2018. San Francisco based Sufferfest and its 18 employees make an incredible good-for-you beer for athletes and runners, even though you don't have to be in training to enjoy it.

A lifelong athlete and passionate trail runner, founder and CEO Caitlin Landesberg enrolled in a beer-making course because health issues had forced her to make a number of dietary changes a few years earlier -- including giving up beer because of its gluten content.

"I really missed the ritual of having a beer with friends at the end of a big athletic undertaking," she continues. "I'd bring different gluten-free beers and ciders I'd found at bottle shops to the finish line in my own cooler and try to share them around, but everyone had to choke them down. It was a really bummer moment, and nothing out there tasted at all like what I wanted for a finish line beer."

Landsberg says she decided to take on the venture because she realized she wasn't alone in her beer cravings after working out and that there was a great market if she could get this beer right.  With all of the company's growth and success it looks like she has found more than a pulse for this market, and a great opportunity for her employees. READ MORE ON COMPANYWEEK CA

Here are a few opportunities and challenges before Sufferfest:

Challenges: Simply put, Sufferfest's biggest current challenge is growing pains. The company brewed about 3,000 barrels in 2017, and Landesberg expects production to triple to about 9,000 barrels in 2018.

"In 2016, it was just me," she says. "Every year, we've added about four more people, and at that scale, that's pretty big growth for us." A Series A funding round in 2017 has sustained the company's expansion to this day, but Landesberg will be launching a Series B funding round this fall to help with the hiring of a larger sales and marketing team as well as capital to help with expansion in distribution.

"It's really fun to address the demand in new territories, but how we grow is the thing that keeps me up at night," Landesberg continues. "We need to continue to play to our strengths with being really high-touch and focusing on who it is that we think will really enjoy our promise and our product. I want to make sure we maintain the ability to represent our brand consistently."

Opportunities: "Functional beer is a massive space as a subcategory within healthy beer, and we're creating it," Landesberg says. "Based on the consumption, sales, and appetite of our own constituents, we believe it's a huge opportunity that no one has addressed." .... READ MORE ON COMPANYWEEK CA



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