Ex Novo Brewing Co.

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Ex Novo Brewing Co.

Portland, United States
Year Founded:
Organization type: 
Project Stage:
$250,000 - $500,000
Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

Concise Summary: Help us pitch this solution! Provide an explanation within 3-4 short sentences.

Ex Novo Brewing Co. is a nonprofit brewery in Portland, Oregon with a mission to produce and sell great craft beer while donating 100% of net profits to select organizations working for justice and fighting extreme poverty and oppression on a local and global level. Better Beer for the Greater Good.

About Project

Problem: What problem is this project trying to address?

Too many nonprofit organizations lack the funds they need to effectively accomplish their goals and mission. They spend valuable time and resources on fundraising and advertising that could be spent elsewhere. Extreme poverty is a complex but solvable problem, and a critical lack of funds inhibits many organizations from doing their part to eradicate it. During difficult economic times, giving declines drastically toward charitable organizations.

Solution: What is the proposed solution? Please be specific!

Ex Novo would like to use an activity consumers are already doing (drinking beer in the craft beer capital of the USA) to work as a sustainable fundraising machine to support the work for social justice and equality. While giving declines in a downward economy, consumption of craft beer actually increases. We would like to be the recession-proof fundraising arm of a handful of charities, working alongside them to further their cause and advocate for their mission. The brewery business model is well-vetted, with high margins generating profits in the near term. In it's first five years of operation, Ex Novo projects it will be able to donate over a million dollars to organizations doing good in the world.
Impact: How does it Work

Example: Walk us through a specific example(s) of how this solution makes a difference; include its primary activities.

Imagine that every time you met your friends for a pint at the pub, or went out with your family on a Saturday night, you were visibly contributing to the good of the community and the world. We are taking something that is intrinsic to our society (enjoying craft beer and excellent food) and enhancing it by joining it together with another thing that folks in Portland really love to do - making a positive change in the world.

Impact: What is the impact of the work to date? Also describe the projected future impact for the coming years.

With the profits generated by Ex Novo's third year in operation, we would be able to fund the following: 1.) Drilling 15 wells in rural India, impacting the lives of thousands. 2.) A local youth home could hire two new full-time case-managers to work with young boys in recovery and rehabilitation. 3.) A sexual assault resource center working with victims of human trafficking could expand their case load by adding additional case workers. Often these case workers are the only contact victims have with those outside the "life". 4.) Providing over 7,700 mosquito nets to those most at-risk for malaria infection, a leading killer of children in Africa.

Financial Sustainability Plan: What is this solution’s plan to ensure financial sustainability?

Once open, the brewery will be 100% sustainable, even profitable in its first year. This has been seen time and time again with brewery startups in Oregon, and we will donate profits only after meeting our financial obligations. The promotion we will attract from those connected to our partner charities will serve as additional regenerative advertising throughout the life of the brewery.

Marketplace: Who else is addressing the problem outlined here? How does the proposed project differ from these approaches?

The charities Ex Novo will support are already in place and doing their work in the world, although typically with limited funds. The marketplace in Portland for craft breweries is explosive, yet far from saturated. Every neighborhood has the capability to support its local brewpub, and the city at-large will support a brewery with a socially-minded mission like Ex Novo. The Oregon Public House recently opened with a similar model (no brewing operations however) and garnered national press and city-wide attention and praise for their model.

Founding Story

In early 2012, I was pondering and processing where my life would lead, and how to reconcile what I felt passionate about with what I was doing day-to-day. I was strongly considering joining the nonprofit sector in community development, wanting to use my gifts to help shape the world of the future and relieve the suffering of the poor and oppressed in the present. I had been brewing beer as a hobby for a couple of years, and opening a brewery has long been a dream of a mine (as it is for many brewers/beer enthusiasts), and one day it struck me that business and helping the poor and oppressed may not have to be mutually exclusive.


Have you ever considered a similar business model? What would it take for you to want to be involved in Ex Novo Brewing?