Back in 2019, Aaron Gervais and Stellar Cassidy had a question: why were there so few gluten-free breweries? After all, beer remains America’s most popular alcoholic beverage, yet Americans are increasingly looking to reduce or eliminate gluten from their diets. Most important, unlike your grandma’s chocolate chip cookies, beer doesn’t need gluten to taste great. Confident they could deliver a gluten-free beer with the taste, look and vibe of its more inflammatory counterparts, Gervais and Cassidy founded San Francisco based Otherwise Brewing to meet the needs of this “untapped” market, waiting to be served amazing beer with an innovative twist.
Everyone’s Favorite Four Letter Word (Besides “Beer”)
Setting itself apart from most competitors, Otherwise Brewing’s line of craft beer is gluten-free. Yes. Free. Not gluten-light (meh), or gluten-reduced (nice try, Jan) like the product put out by most brewers hoping to capture the gluten-avoidant market. Using their proprietary brewing process and meticulous attention to detail, Otherwise Brewing offers gluten-free beer brewed to not only meet the needs of those of us looking to cut down on gluten for health reasons, but also to meet the requirements for FDA and TTB gluten-free labeling.
Say “No” to Basic Beers
Why does this distinction matter? A beer labeled as gluten-reduced is just that: it was likely brewed using barley, wheat, or rye (traditional “Big Beer” ingredients, all containing gluten) and then an enzyme was added during the fermentation process in order to break down and minimize the presence of gluten in the final product. Think of this process as Auto-Tune for beer—starting with basic and predictable ingredients and editing in production to try to please a larger audience. Unfortunately, just like you can still vibe that former Disney Channel Star energy behind the banger dominating Spotify, traces of gluten could remain in gluten-reduced brews, making them potentially unsafe for consumption by drinkers who avoid gluten due to a medical diagnosis of wheat allergy, gluten sensitivity or celiac disease.
Unlike brewers still wed to Big Beer ingredients, Otherwise Brewing cuts out gluten at every step, from using exclusively gluten-free ingredients to brewing in a facility that avoids cross contamination, to, finally, like the little gluten-free cherry on top, adding a beer clarifying enzyme to many of its beers in order to seek and destroy gluten, on the off chance that even the tiniest bit snuck in during the brewing process. Yes, your 8th grade English teacher said redundancy was bad, but when it comes to earning the distinction of being truly gluten-free, redundant is good. Redundancy=accessibility for a whole new class of drinkers. Those would-be zythophiles (look it up, and try it out in casual conversation) can’t take the risk of gluten-reduced beer and were formerly excluded from enjoying America’s favorite alcoholic beverage as a result.
Healthier Drinking: Not an Oxymoron
Making beer accessible might seem trivial—after all, there are plenty of other alcohol options out there for people who can’t safely drink beer. But consider that about 1% of Americans have celiac disease, a number that continues to rise. And a whopping estimated 1/4 of Americans try to avoid gluten, whether due to associated bloating (that dreaded beer belly), gluten sensitivity, or just the perception that gluten increases inflammation, something most of us would like to avoid. These numbers add up. Accessibility is all about that (larger potential customer) base.
The rising percentage of Americans looking to minimize gluten consumption may be reflected in the emerging healthier drinking trend. Healthier drinking. Take it in. It may seem like an oxymoron, but even a moron knows that healthier drinking is probably more appealing than not drinking at all. While gluten-free beer might not give you the abdominal six pack of your dreams, it may help you maintain your healthier choices, while still indulging in America’s favorite pastimes of backyard cookouts, music festivals or trash talking your opponent’s team—all activities best experienced with an icy cold brew in hand.
The Reviews Are In . . .
There’s nothing more American than (gluten) freedom, and increased accessibility is fantastic—for inclusion and for sales—but let’s get back to the (also gluten-free) elephant in the room: what about taste? Never fear. Using their proprietary brewing process and extensive experimentation, Otherwise Brewing offers finely crafted beers that taste . . . like beer. And not just any beer, award winning beer. Since enthusiastic drinkers welcomed its first batch in 2021, Otherwise has been racking up accolades, winning numerous awards, placing as a semi-finalist in the 2022 Brewbound Pitch Challenge, and a finalist in the 2023 Food Tech Challengers competitions. The press is paying attention too, with local rag The San Francisco Chronicle (ever heard of it?) giving special praise to Otherwise Brewing’s ability to brew gluten-free without sacrificing the great taste zythophiles (WYKYK) expect. This winning combo is reflected in sales data, with a high percentage of repeat customers voting with their beer budget that Otherwise Brewing offers taste that deserves brand loyalty.
Conscientiously Crafty: Back For the Future
Let’s recap: Otherwise Brewing crafts great tasting beer, so legit gluten-free that it is a safer choice for people with celiac disease, and so delicious it impresses customers and reviewers alike. Can it get any better? Yes. It turns out that some gluten-free grains are also more environmentally sustainable than their Big Beer counterparts. Taking an approach that might be described as “Back for the Future” (no DeLorean required) Otherwise Brewing incorporates a wide range of grains, previously popular in brewing before globalization and the easy dominance of European beer led to a more homogenous, barley-based, market. Going back to using more diverse grains allows Otherwise not to over-rely on only a few ingredients.
Otherwise grains include oats and buckwheat— both eco-friendly, with a lower carbon footprint than barley. Classed as a lower climate impact grain, proso-millet is drought resistant, using less water (always good) and therefore remaining less subject to climate unpredictability. This is yet another way Otherwise Brewing’s return to pre-Big Beer diversity is future oriented in a climate—literal and cultural—where consumers are more aware of the longterm impact of their daily consumption choices.
Not only does Otherwise Brewing use grains that are more sustainable than barley, they seek to have a positive impact on their local community as well. By using local farmers and malt producers, they offer a product consumers can feel good about.
Investment Opportunity Taps
Artisanal. Accessible. Sustainable. Local. Is Otherwise Brewing a Super Beero for our times? Is it possible that their award-winning line of gluten-free beer is also guilten-free? Only you can be the judge. One thing is for sure, with appealing labels and creative names like “Hella Nibs,” and “Meringue and Tang,” you can have fun while doing market research. Best of all, if you like what you see, and taste, MicroVentures is offering you the opportunity to get involved in the Otherwise family as an investor. Check out the offering documents to learn more specifics about Otherwise Brewing and the terms of investment. Graphs, pie charts, market insights, Q&A—it’s all there, along with a handy link to “Invest” if you like what you see. As an investor, you will have a personal stake in Otherwise Brewing’s mission to make great beer accessible to everyone, all while embracing environmental sustainability, and having a positive impact on the local community, from field to tap.
Want to invest in Otherwise Brewing and be a part of the gluten-free revolution? Visit their offering page to learn more and invest!
The information presented here is for general informational purposes only and is not intended to be, nor should it be construed or used as, comprehensive offering documentation for any security, investment, tax or legal advice, a recommendation, or an offer to sell, or a solicitation of an offer to buy, an interest, directly or indirectly, in any company. Investing in both early-stage and later-stage companies carries a high degree of risk. A loss of an investor’s entire investment is possible, and no profit may be realized. Investors should be aware that these types of investments are illiquid and should anticipate holding until an exit occurs.