Tonight, Duba & Company publicly presented at Start Garden to a team of venture capitalists who had given us some initial seed money. In lieu of the presentation’s video (which will be shared if I can figure out a way to do it), here’s the script I was working from:
“The meat industry today is where the beer industry was in the 1980s. Conventional meat is the carnivore’s PBR. It is best characterized by two descriptors: uniform and lacking in flavor. Duba & Company are merchants of heritage meats, the meat equivalent of microbrew beers. They offer the consumer fuller flavor and flavordiversity. Our hypothesis is that in a market whose palates have been primed by the microbrew movement, the consumer is ready for the advent of heritage meats. To test the hypothesis, we built a website through which to sell heritage meat.
And here’s what we found in the process. Ultimately, the greatest challenge is one of supply. We’ve made, however, some significant strides in this area in the past 90 days. We’ve attracted the interest of the Midwest Highland Cattle Association and the American Highland Cattle Association. Duba & Company will be featured in the national association’s quarterly The Bagpipe. This attention positions us for a greater share of the current supply. We are, further, in the process of acquiring one ton of heritage Pineywoods beef from the nation’s largest herd. We’re planning to partner with a heritage beef co-op in Virginia who have built Alleghany Meats, a $2,000,000 processing facility. The American Livestock Breeds Conservancy, the organization that created the definition for heritage meats, is promoting Duba & Company amongst its partners and members.
Aside from these positive strides in securing a greater share of the existing and emerging supply, we looking to create our own apprenticeship program that pairs veteran farmers with younger farmers who’d like to produce these unique meats for us.
Besides the supply-side challenge, there are the challenges of transportation and warehousing. Transportation: how do we move meat outside of Michigan to Michigan for processing in a cost-effective way? As a start-up, we do not own our own processing facility with walk-in freezer. After exploring more than a dozen storage options for our existing inventory, we have just secured the ideal space. This allows us to pursing licensing from the State so that we can commence with sales.
In an attempt to demonstrate desirability to Start Garden, we explored the option of pre-selling our inventory; legal counsel advised against it. So, we created an insiders club, The Pioneers, and sold memberships that entitles members to a first swipe at our inventory. In two weeks we’ve sold all but 19 of the 50 memberships.
In conclusion, we believe that heritage meats represent the next microbrew movement. We’d love to think that Grand Rapids, already a major player in that revolution, would also be a major player in the heritage ‘micro’ meat movement.”