First Milwaukee-Area Company, Philly’s Premium Beverages, Crowdfunding Under Wisconsin’s Equity Crowdfunding Law

phillys old fashioned

Those near Milwaukee, Wisc., tonight will have something new to drink to: Philly’s Premium Beverages LLC, a Grafton firm that sells readymade mixed drinks in bottles and cans is the first Milwaukee-area company to seek money from investors under Wisconsin’s year-old equity “crowdfunding” law, according to Milwaukee’s Journal Sentinel. The Journal Sentinel also notes Philly’s is the fourth company to register an offering with the Wisconsin Department of Financial Institutions.phillys founder

Philly’s hopes to raise $90,000 to $240,000 under the recent law, with funds to go toward buying  inventory and for general operating expenses, according to founder and majority owner Phillip J. Orlenko. The company is crowdfunding via CraftFund LLC, a Milwaukee company started by attorney-turned-entrepreneur David Dupee that promotes crowdfunding initiatives by food and beverage firms. The platform holds the distinction of being the state’s first investment crowdfunding web portal, following last year’s legislation.

phillys premium beveragesOrlenko left his sales job at a two-way radio dealership two years ago to start Philly’s, and has thus far supported the venture with his personal savings and investments from friends and family, according to the Journal Sentinel. Through Philly’s team, the company’s old-fashioneds and egg crème liqueurs are available in more than 800 locations. Not to mention the many other humorously named options–such as “Screaming Chicken,” “Buzzed Beaver” and “Flaming Squirrel”–

The three companies that previously registered offerings with the Wisconsin Department of Financial Institutions–Madison’s MobCraft Beer Inc., Common Man Brewing Inc. and Timber Mill LLC–all used CraftFund to raise funds. philly's egg creme

Dupee noted,

The deal flow has been pretty small,

due perhaps to a lack of awareness about the crowdfunding law or to the restrictions surrounding it. For example, only Wisconsin residents are allowed to invest in Wisconsin companies that seek crowdfunding money. While this could change when the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission issues long-expected national crowdfunding regulations for offerings of $1 million or less, those rules might include requirements that make offerings too expensive for most companies, notes Dupee.

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