Why Alpine 100 invested in Root Beer Club

Root Beer Club V2

This story appears in the March issue of Utah Business. Subscribe here

“Unexpected” doesn’t even come close—“magical” might be a better description. I was attending yet another intense quarterly planning meeting for one of our portfolio companies. At the end of the meeting, the CTO said he would like to celebrate the company’s good news. He turned to a refrigerated bottle cooler behind him and pulled out what appeared to be about a dozen brown beer bottles. (“Okay, this just got awkward in the middle of a business day,” I thought.) He said, “These are just a few of over 150 unique brands of root beer. I like to bring them out to celebrate and cheer special occasions.” We all mulled around, looking at labels like “Jack Black’s Dead Red Root Beer” and “Earps Sarsaparilla.” I watched these overworked, stressed entrepreneurs suddenly transform into kids, clinking their bottles and toasting each other. The conversation turned to congratulations, laughter and nostalgia.

All the cares of the day suddenly washed away. My thoughts turned to the time my dad came home from work with a large bottle of root beer, and how my family’s root beer float/game night was instantly born. I remembered saving my lawn mowing money so I could ride my bike to an A&W restaurant and order a famous root beer freeze. I later learned that the same love of root beer was the catalyst for Alice and J. Willard Marriott buying their first A&W franchise, which later evolved into their food, beverage and hospitality empire.

After our meeting, I cornered the CTO/root beer aficionado and asked him to tell me more about his vision for root beer. This turned into several more conversations, the refinement of a plan and a flying leap with a seven-digit commitment into Root Beer Club—a company so new that the ink was barely dry on the certificate of incorporation.

“You may be asking yourself, ‘Could root beer really be a viable business model?’ The answer is yes!”

You may be asking yourself, “Could root beer really be a viable business model?” The answer is yes! There is a real market for root beer lovers. Most customers are shocked and amazed at the chance to experience over 150 varieties of root beer through a subscription model that has grown at a 30 percent month-on-month rate since inception. 

A unique gig economy franchise model has been tested. The model utilizes a partnership with DoorDash and will launch in March or April. A B2B model that features vintage nostalgic root beer coolers and monthly distribution is also launching in Q2. Root Beer Club will also launch its own proprietary and unique brand of root beer in 2024.

In a world that wants us to focus on all that is going wrong, it’s time to hit the pause button, cheer each other on and return to our roots with a root beer. Cheers to you!

Dave Card is the founder and managing director of Alpine 100, LLC. In conjunction with WC Alpine, LLC, seed capital was provided for six companies in 2023. Dave has been involved with the startup ecosystem for most of his career. He also founded his own startups, Future 500 Corporation and Future Foods. He has also acted as interim CEO and COO for a number of startups and lived in Singapore while managing the SE Asia region for a multinational company. Alpine 100 is known for investing in people first and concepts second. Its eclectic portfolio includes technology, peer-to-peer, tech services, SaaS, business incubator and now … root beer.