I don't ask for much from you around here. I've never asked for donations and never will. That said, it's time that I ask you to spend your money in one particular place. If you are a lover of good, well-crafted beer then I believe that you will agree that the future should have the General Lafayette Inn & Brewery in it. If you appreciate history and landmarks, then I believe that you will want to support The General. If you believe that good people who do good things should not be cast aside by unfortunate incidents and accidents, then you should want to help support the Leonard Family of the General Lafayette. I've pasted the contents of an e-mail that has made its way into numerous other websites/blogs that you may have already caught wind from. You can read the details below. Chris has always been straight forward, almost to a fault, in person or in his blog, that I wish he keeps posting to. Whether you decide an investment of $1,000, $5,000, or $10,000 is appropriate for your situation, I have a simpler request of you. Consider it a back-to-school project. In other words, beginning today and before the end of summer, you must make it a high priority to: - go to The General more often---if you currently go once a month, go twice. If you've never been, go once in July and once again in August. Go for dinner, take the family or go with a group of friends. Have a full dinner and a couple of brews. - when you go for a meal, make sure you take home a growler of fresh beer with you. We all know that there's nothing better than beer fresh from the brewery. - buy packaged General Lafayette beer for take home or to give to friends. Their beers can be found at distributors and at the pub. Buy the Abbey Brune or the Abbey Blonde. Or better yet, buy the recently bottled Chocolate Thunder, one of the first beers to make me appreciate The General for what it is. So, let's sum up the homework. Once in July and once in August (or more, if you can)---Keep The General in business by going for a meal. Buy a growler to take home. Buy packaged product to drink at home and share with friends. Convince others that they should go and support The General as well. You don't want to sitting here in October saying "ah, it's a shame..." now do you? We can all do our part...and should.
The General Lafayette Inn and its Guest House are in jeopardy of closing. Stiff competition, limited resources, and the failing economy have contributed to a steady decline in revenues over the past 16 months. While beer sales have remained relatively stable, our food, wine and liquor sales have decreased to the point that we are finding it almost impossible to maintain operations. Past due mortgages, property taxes, payroll taxes, and accounts payable to vendors have pushed the General to the precipice. Unless we raise significant funds in the next two months - to get current with our debtors, improve facilities, increase wholesale beer production, and increase our marketing efforts – closure is imminent.
While we have solicited sale of the General, no offers have come – understandable in this economic climate. Any offer we do receive will likely come from a party uninterested in the history of the General. It could become the next Wawa or CVS. Even more likely is that we will face foreclosure, allowing a developer to more easily acquire the properties and demolish the 5th oldest tavern in the country.
The General Lafayette Inn consists of two properties and three buildings. It’s most recent appraisal (2007) valued it at just under $2.2 million. We are a family owned operation. I, Brewmaster Christopher Leonard, am the majority owner. We desperately seek to avoid losing the General Lafayette Inn and the fate that would befall it if we do. So, we are soliciting equity investors to become silent (or not-so-silent) partners in this unique local treasure. Generally speaking, we are offering stock in the General Lafayette Inn for approximately 1% per $10,000. We will consider partners for as little as $5000. You would gain a small piece of history, pride in preserving the past, and a heck of a lot of delicious beer in return.
We are also starting a special “Friends of the General Lafayette Inn Society”. We are looking for up to 150 passionate local beer and/or history lovers with $1000 to invest in our past and good beer future. In return you will receive an annual $275 house account each of the next 5 years. This can be used for any goods or services. We will host an annual members-only event and dedicate the oldest portion of the building to the Society, displaying each member’s name.
In the meantime, know that operations at the General Lafayette Inn will continue as normal. We continue to produce new, innovative beers (look for a kriek soon). We have a new chef, Oliver Munguia. He has made some interesting changes including hand cut fries, house made pickles and has shown an attention to freshness, quality, and consistency that the General has lacked for some time.
Please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org, or stop in to speak with me, for more details/information. We understand how untraditional and risky this approach is. However, we are steadfast in our belief that the General Lafayette Inn is worth it and willing to do just about anything to protect its future.
Very Truly Yours,
Christopher W. Leonard, Brewmaster/Proprietor
General Lafayette Inn & Brewery