Crowdfunding the Original Craft Beer

  • McAuliffe
This morning, Cleveland-based Renee DeLuca launched a “CrowdBrewed” page, which will fund the resurrection of New Albion Brewing Company’s iconic American ale. Chip-ins will be accepted until Aug. 14; DeLuca is hoping to raise $75,000 to contract-brew the original recipe and, ideally, set New Albion Porter and New Albion Stout in the company’s sightlines.

It’s quite the tremendous time machine for craft beer enthusiasts. DeLuca’s father, Jack McAuliffe, launched New Albion in 1976, at a time when there were almost no alternatives to Budweiser, Miller, et al., on the market (a “national disgrace,” he told the Washington Post in 1978). He took inspiration from Scotland for his craft, and customers took to his recipe with zeal.

Money woes showed up in the early 1980s and led to the demise of New Albion. The brew, in turn, drifted into mythos and late-night bar conversations. And DeLuca, who was growing up in Washington, D.C., would spend almost two more decades unaware that McAuliffe was her father. She spent years tracking him down, trying to find out who he was. And then the meeting happened. "One of the first things I said when I found out what my dad did was, 'Beer is in my blood; I knew it!'" she told Scene last year.

"Jack never made a lot of money brewing, but he inspired a lot of people who did go on to make a lot of money," DeLuca explains. Many years later, in 2013, the New Albion beer was revived by Jim Koch and Boston Beer Company, but DeLuca is now hoping to bring the brand back to life for the long term.

On top of bringing old beers into our new age, DeLuca hopes to open a New Albion brew pub. DeLuca says she's got her eye on Sonoma, Calif., home to New Albion and, really, to an industry as a whole. She hinted to Scene that there may also be something in store for Cleveland down the road. Until then, we're just looking forward to getting our paws on this fine American ale and toasting the dreams of a true maverick.

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Eric Sandy

Eric Sandy is an award-winning Cleveland-based journalist. For a while, he was the managing editor of Scene. He now contributes jam band features every now and then.
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