By Jo Blakemore A North East company that sells chilled smoking cocktail systems for bars has boosted its global business after turning to crowdfunding website Kickstarter.
NiteOwl, founded by Colin Myers and Rob Funder in 2009, developed a bar top machine called JetChill that injects dry ice into the bottom of its drinks glasses to produce two chilled smoking cocktails at a time.
But when it couldn’t access enough funding from traditional banks, it launched a Kickstarter campaign which attracted 27 new backers and exceeded its funding target of £25,000, raising £27,149 in just 60 days.
“Kickstarter is an excellent high-profile platform and we were delighted to hit our target two days before the campaign ended,” explained Myers, 41, a former bar manager from Durham.
“Usually it’s lots of people pledging smaller amounts but most of the backers were pledging £1,500 to get their hands on the new JetChill system.
“We’ve had interest from around the world including companies wanting to set up shot bars at the Brazilian World Cup and several spirit companies in Las Vegas. It’s also given us lots of new leads, especially in America.”
He and funder have developed their product considerably since first seeing the concept at a Las Vegas Show Bar where they promptly bought the patent. Now they’re in talks with global manufacturer Lancer Beverage Systems and a major US Spirits brand to launch worldwide.