Originally published in Bloomberg Pursuits.
As of July 27, cocktail fans can pick up some equity along with their gin martini.
After 12 years as a single, award-winning establishment, Death & Co., the famed bar in New York’s East Village, is in the midst of a serious expansion. To facilitate this, co-owner David Kaplan and his team are fundraising in a way that’s unconventional for a drinking establishment.
The bar, which was founded on the last night of 2006, and which opened a second location in Denver earlier this year, initiated its first equity crowdfunding round on Friday via the investing platform SeedInvest. It’s the first bar or restaurant to fundraise on the platform.
Investors will be able to purchase ownership stakes in an umbrella company, Gin & Luck LLC, which owns the Death & Co. bars as well as the book deals, intellectual properties, and the hospitality consulting firm Proprietors LLC.
The company is valued at $13 million.
The company’s East Village bar, named best in America in 2010 at Tales of the Cocktail, recorded $1.8 million in net revenue in 2017, up 71 percent from 2008. The newest Death & Co. location, at the Ramble Hotel in Denver, notched $313,000 in revenue in its first month of operation. Gin & Luck has sold more than 120,000 copies of its book Death & Co: Modern Classic Cocktails, which added up to more than $379,000 in royalties. Consulting firm Proprietors billed $539,000 in revenue in 2017, with clients such as Hilton, Pernod Ricard, and Bacardi USA. A third location, a standalone Death & Co. bar in Los Angeles, is slated to open next year.
Unlike a Kickstarter campaign—now omnipresent for small restaurants and coffee shops—in which people contribute money toward a project but don’t have stakes in the business, an equity crowdfunding campaign allows investors to buy ownership shares in private companies. Investors make their money back in a range of ways, including if the company is sold or goes public. Gin & Luck is offering a preferred equity note; it’s essentially a mini-IPO, but the company remains private and the original founders retain control.
Read more on Bloomberg Pursuits.