Crowdfunded Drinks

Martin Kastner wanted 28 grand, and he wound up with almost three-quarters of a million dollars.

The Chicago designer has been creating unique pieces of custom servingware for celebrity chef Grant Achatz for nearly a decade. But he dreamed up his most popular item just last year. For Achatz’s bar, The Aviary, Kastner developed The Porthole (pictured), a gorgeous, round sort of pitcher designed to display ingredients as they infuse into a drink.

“I wanted a window into the cocktails,” Kastner says, “and that’s exactly what a porthole is.”

Many of The Aviary’s customers liked the device so much they were trying to take it home. Kastner knew he was on to something, and he decided to use Kickstarter to raise funds to manufacture The Porthole on a larger scale.

He reached his goal of $28,500 in the first two hours. His proposal has since become a sensation, and when the fund-raising period ended, more than 25 times that had been committed. (You will soon be able to pre-order The Porthole at Kastner’s website, Crucial Detail.)

Projects for and by drinkers seem to do exceptionally well on Kickstarter and similar sites. Another recent one garnered more than $19,000 for Hawaii Bitters, enabling the company to expand from three planned flavors to seven. (The island tinctures launch in October; here’s ordering info.)

While these businesses have been funded, it’s not too late to help some other entrepreneurs. Check out these four active boozy campaigns we found:

Five by Five Aromatic Bitters:

Created by an herbalist and cocktail lover in Chico, Calif., Five by Five’s mission is to modernize old-school bitters for today’s palate. If the fledgling brand gets more than double its initial goal, it will also create a citrus bitters.

Prohibition Bakery:

Spirits and desserts? That’s the dream of this New York cupcake maker, which needs funds to open a retail shop on the Lower East Side of Manhattan.

The Mill Valley Hub:

This wine bar, to be built in Marin County just north of San Francisco, will donate 100 percent of its profits to Bay Area charities.

Scriptorium Pub:

Forget Medieval Times! The Scriptorium Pub, planned for Amherst, Mass., will serve period-appropriate food, brew its own mead and offer a library of ancient texts.

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