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Franchise Industry Heavyweights and Raintree Co-Founders Mike Edwards and Brent Dowling Purchase the Franchise Arm of Voodoo Brewing Co.

With the backing of Edwards and Dowling, the quirky and fun craft beer franchise is positioned for success in the $33 billion craft beer industry.

Mike Edwards and Brent Dowling are no strangers to the franchising industry. The two entrepreneurs founded the franchise sales organization Raintree in 2013 as a way to help brands find viable franchise candidates and scale their businesses. The two franchise industry heavyweights have come a long way since then — Raintree now works with 19 brands, including Hounds Town USA and Footprints Floors, and has helped each of them meet and even surpass their franchise growth goals.  

As the co-founders of Raintree, Edwards and Dowling have also been exposed to many private investment opportunities, including purchasing the Kidcreate Studio, and, most recently, purchasing the franchise arm of Voodoo Brewing Co.

Since 2005 Voodoo Brewery has been focused on crafting the best artisanal craft beer for beer aficionados across the globe. Voodoo Brewery prides itself on shattering industry standards and innovating the craft brewing segment with fun, flavorful and thought-provoking brews, such as Voodoo Love Child (a Belgian tripel aged with passion fruit, cherries, and raspberries), White Magick of the Sun (a white ale spiced with coriander, bitters, sweet orange peel, juniper berries and 12 varieties of peppercorns), and Black Magick (an imperial stout with a robust market following). Voodoo Brewery also serves their beers with eclectic pub food in an unconventional atmosphere that respects those in flip-flops as much as those in suits. 

“Our corporate team consists of some badass individuals who have a serious passion and love for the industry and aim to bring our breweries to modern communities,” said Voodoo Brewery President Jake Voelker. “We have created a culture that embraces diversity, values inclusion, and encourages everyone to be themselves. There is creativity in everything we do, and we pride ourselves on being a fun and quirk brand that invites everyone to feel comfortable inside our locations.” 

Founder Matteo Rachocki purchased Voodoo Brewery from the previous owner, realizing its immense potential. Matteo’s brother, Curt started as the full-time Master Brewer. After growing a loyal customer base through hard work, the team eventually opened locations in Pittsburgh, Erie, and Lancaster, Pennsylvania. 

“As we started opening new pubs all over the state, with each one a little different based on the location, we started to really see that this offering appealed to a wide range of people,” said Volker. “So, we came up with a franchise program a few years ago in order to share Voodoo with as many people as possible and grow the business. In 2019 we awarded our first franchise location in Cleveland, Ohio and, three months ago, we opened a second franchise location in Pennsylvania. Now, with the expertise of the Raintree team, we are ready to put Voodoo Brewery on the map in the $33 billion craft beer industry by offering franchise opportunities in cities nationwide.” In a short amount of time the Raintree team quickly sold out the entire city of Las Vegas, and secured a new Franchise Owner in Indiana.

While Raintree partnered with Voodoo Brewery just like it does with any other brand, the difference was that Edwards and Dowling personally acquired a majority of the franchise rights. “We are going to have a very close relationship with Matteo and Jake and put a great emphasis on growth,” said Brent. “We are always looking to personally invest with brands that we would want to sit down and get a beer with, and this time it's with the people actually making the beer!”

When it comes to the franchise model, Voodoo Brewery couldn’t have made it more simple. “We know that not all Franchise Owners are going to have experience in brewing beer, and to be honest, no one can brew like us,” said Volker. “That’s why our brewmaster and mad scientist, Curt, is behind the scenes crafting all the beer for our Owners. Also, our locations mimic a European beer hall, meaning that customers order and pick up at a counter, therefore eliminating the need for traditional servers and minimizing employee requirements. When you mix these two aspects together and add in support from our experienced brew team, it all adds up to a turnkey, fulfilling, and profitable business for our Owners.” 

Mike Edwards, notes that Voodoo Brewery is exactly the type of franchise that he looks for when making investments — a unique franchise with industry leading unit-level economics, multiple revenue streams, and streamlined operations. 

“There is already a lot of interest from franchise brokers and individual candidates looking to own their own Voodoo, especially since breweries are not something that typically anyone can run,” said Edwards. “Voodoo Brewery has come in and created a new version of what a brewery can be, and the concept really sells itself — when people see it, they want to join the brand, which is exactly what happened to Brent and myself. We went to Pennsylvania, had a beer with Matteo and were instantly sold. From the Franchise Development side I am witnessing huge interest because of COVID-19 — people from corporate America are looking for new career opportunities, and there are increased real estate options. In fact, we just sold out territories in Las Vegas last week to a businesswoman who realized it was a perfect time to join the brand.” 

Currently, Voodoo Brewery has seven corporate-owned locations, two open franchise units, and three under development in Las Vegas and Indiana, PA. Also, in addition to Raintree purchasing the franchising rights, Edwards and Dowling plan to open a Voodoo Brewery location in Denver, Colorado.

Looking ahead, Volker notes that Brent and Mike purchasing the franchise rights to Voodoo Brewery is the perfect next step for the brand. “We are really good beer guys, restaurateurs, and operators, but we are certainly not franchising experts,” he said. “I don’t know the first thing about franchise marketing, and we wanted to bring a very strong team on to help us grow and enrich our community in as many ways as possible. Brent and Mike offer the franchise development expertise, best practices and innovative processes that we were looking for, all while being great and authentic people. I’d probably screened 20 franchisor marketing companies, and, when I was finally introduced to Brent and Mike, they perfectly matched our company culture. We can’t wait to enter this next phase of growth with them.”

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