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Voodoo Brewing Alcohol Suppliers Become Franchisees

The Big Spring Spirits owners have had a front row seat to Voodoo’s expansion through franchising and have been very impressed. So much so, they’re joining in as franchisees.

By Erica InmanStaff Writer
SPONSORED 8:08AM 06/06/24

Kevin Lloyd started his own craft distillery business, Big Spring Spirits, 10 years ago. Several years later he joined forces with a group of partners in Pittsburgh including Eric Kraemer, a real estate expert and pub owner. Big Spring Spirits has had a close relationship with Voodoo Brewing for years, supplying the brewpub franchise with all of its spirits from their distillery. Lloyd and Kraemer, along with business partners Rick Mongiovi and Dan Taylor, are taking that bond one step further by becoming Voodoo Brewing franchisees. 

The entrepreneurial team has had their fair share of business experience, including in the hospitality sector, but are looking forward to venturing into franchising for the first time. They couldn’t imagine a better brand to do it with, as they have watched Voodoo Brewing expand over the years, recognizing the growing fan base and appreciating the brand’s ethos as they worked side by side.

“We watched them grow as they franchised across the country, and we will continue to supply alcohol for them across the country, too,” Lloyd said. “We know everyone, and we liked everything about the brand, including the people and the culture. We knew that there was an opportunity here and we thought it would be a good fit for us.”

1851 Franchise spoke with Lloyd and Kraemer about their journey into franchising and their plans for the future.

1851 Franchise: Frame your personal story for us. What did you do before franchising, and how did you decide franchising made sense for you?

Lloyd: I started Big Spring Spirits 10 years ago, and we make a lot of different products: vodka, gin, rum, whiskey and tequila, as well as ready-to-drink cocktails. About three years ago, I connected with Eric and a couple of other guys as partners and we have a manufacturing facility currently in Bellefonte, Pennsylvania, which is near State College. We are planning a multi-use facility at the South Shore in Pittsburgh opening in the fall, which will include manufacturing and other businesses.

Kraemer: I come from the world of commercial real estate. For 30 years, I've been in commercial real estate property developer and owner/landlord. In the last five years, I have been involved in the hospitality business with an Irish pub and became a partner in Big Spring Spirits. 

Lloyd: We have been close partners with the brand for five or six years; we supply Voodoo corporate with all of their alcohol. We watched them grow as they franchised across the country, and we will continue to supply alcohol for them across the country, too. We know everyone, and we liked everything about the brand, including the people and the culture. We knew that there was an opportunity here and we thought it would be a good fit for us.

1851: What was your perception of franchising prior to becoming a franchisee, and what do you want people to know about franchising now that you are in it?

Lloyd: We have a tasting room at our Bellefonte location, so we have some idea of the hospitality industry. We have food and we have cocktails. But, I'd never participated in a franchise before, and frankly, I'm thrilled because we are inheriting a playbook which is essentially their best practices that they use across all their franchises. It's very detailed with timelines and tasks. It's a really fantastic experience because we have a whole team of Voodoo people behind us from marketing to operations to graphic design to food and beverage development. We're working with a lot of knowledgeable people that are continually working to refine their practices.

1851: What do you hope to achieve with your business? What are your plans for growth? 

Lloyd: We hope to be successful financially, but we also hope that we can open additional franchises wherever the geographical opportunity exists. We hope to be an example to other potential franchisees, as well.

1851: What is the one thing about your story you want us to know?

Lloyd: As a group, we're always trying to learn new things and learn better ways to do things. That's what drives all of us. The whole thing is a big puzzle between the people and the business, so we're trying to figure out how all that fits together and run it as efficiently as possible. We want to maintain a collegial, collaborative environment with our employees — and our customers for that matter, too. 

Kraemer: Our brands are closely tied together; we want to be good stewards of their brand and learn from the great team and complete package they offer. We are launching a large hospitality project on the riverfront and can’t wait to apply everything we learn.

1851: What advice do you have for other people thinking about becoming a franchise owner?

Lloyd: Reach out to the brand; they will give you a plan. Be prepared to execute the plan in terms of the timeline and financial requirements. It’s a tried-and-true plan, but there are no shortcuts.

Kraemer: Reach out and talk about it. For me, it’s been a great experience. I have not had any other franchises, but I’ve been involved in launching other businesses. Having the support of a well-organized franchisor has been really comforting and helpful. They’ve laid out the entire plan for us and, in addition to that, the business comes with brand recognition. We haven’t opened the doors yet, but I can tell by the community interaction that having the horsepower of the name and brand behind you is a much different feel than launching something brand new on your own.


More than just a brewery, Voodoo Brewing Co. is a community of passionate beer lovers dedicated to pushing the boundaries of craft beer. Alongside world-renowned “liquid gold,” provided directly from the brewery, local owners offer killer food, craft cocktails and hard seltzer in their community-focused brewpubs. Each location has a customized logo, locally inspired menu and consistent local events, allowing Voodoo Brewing Co. franchise partners to become truly immersed in their communities. With 18 locations across multiple states, Voodoo Brewing Co. has already captured the hearts of beer enthusiasts nationwide and has proven itself as the fastest-growing brewpub franchise in the world. Now, it is on track to quickly grow roots across the nation. For more information, visit