Hopsters Unveils Plans for Nationwide Expansion

The Newton-based brewery is hoping to open 16 new locations by 2022, and it needs your help.

A rendering of Hopster's upcoming space in the Seaport. / Photo provided

A glimpse at Hopsters forthcoming space in the Seaport. / Rendering provided

Hopsters is selling its million-dollar idea. Not to beer conglomerates or large corporations, but to fans of the Newton-based brewpub.

Owner Lee Cooper is offering customers a stake in his company, and an investment opportunity in the Hopsters brand, to help fund the brewery’s forthcoming space in the Seaport. With the support of small investors and local drinkers, Cooper hopes to buoy a nationwide expansion of 16 locations over the next six years.

“This is a new value proposition,” Cooper told Boston Business Journal. “No one else does this anywhere like we do and the volume we do. There’s no reason there shouldn’t be something like Hopsters—brew your own beer, eat, and drink—in every urban city.”

Hopsters made a name for itself about three years back with a brew-your-own-beer program and taproom in Newton, pouring flagships like the Newtonian IPA and Comet Citra Session IPA. It has since debuted a bottle shop at the Boston Public Market, and even jumped on the crowler craze.

The BBJ reports that Hopsters originally planned its Boston expansion because of the success of its corporate events. The Seaport building—which formerly housed Sleeper Street Café—would allow the staff to accomodate larger parties without shutting down the space, a current downside of hosting events at the Newton brewpub.

Now, in the wake of a local expansion, Cooper is eyeing future locations in Philadelphia, Austin, Texas, Jacksonville, Florida, and Stamford, Connecticut, BBJ reports.

But before branching out-of-state, the brewery needs help anchoring its presence in Boston. Cooper plans to raise $1.7 million to fund a new, 6,000-square foot taproom and restaurant in Fort Point. A portion of that has already come from accredited investors and friends, BBJ reports, so Cooper hopes the brewery will raise a minimum of $300,000 from independent investors through a Wefunder crowdfunding campaign. If the brewery meets its goals, construction on the Fort Point space could start as early as March 2017.

Currently, Hopsters has garnered around 60 investors and more than $113,000 in pledged funds online. If the brewery doesn’t meet its goal, all pledged funds will return to potential investors, much like a Kickstarter campaign.

“Using a platform like Wefunder, investors will get real equity ownership in Hopsters,” Cooper says. “We did a successful Kickstarter campaign before we were a successful business, so now [that] we are making money, our investors should be able to make money, too.”

But for local fans of the brewery, fret not: Cooper also plans to double commercial production in Newton to 600 barrels annually, BBJ reports. As Hopsters adds more equipment to its brewhouse, and watches its crowdfunded investments tick up, it looks like there’s plenty of local beer on the horizon.

Hopsters, 292 Centre St., Newton, 617-916-0752, hopstersbrew.com.