BREWPUBLIK could become the model for a Charlotte startup that goes global

BREWPUBLIK will celebrate it’s first birthday today with a party. The celebration might be even bigger than expected because of some news it announced yesterday morning.

The news

BREWPUBLIK is the first Charlotte-based company to be accepted into 500 startups, a global venture capital seed fund and startup accelerator based in Silicon Valley. Think of this as Harvard for startups, but harder to get into.

Founders Charlie Mulligan and Zach Jamison, and president/COO Samantha August will be moving out to San Francisco for the 12-week program, and they’ll also be launching the BREWPUBLIK service in San Francisco in February.

But don’t worry — “We’re not abandoning Charlotte,” Mulligan said.

Wait, what’s BREWPUBLIK?

It’s a subscription craft beer service that uses a “beergorithm” to choose beers based on your taste then delivers bottles and cans to your door. Think Netflix or Pandora for beer.

Mulligan and Jamison, both UNC Charlotte grads, started the company in December 2014 and it has quickly expanded with the help of local venture capital firm SierraMaya360.

BREWPUBLIK started service in Raleigh late last year and it now has more than 1,000 monthly members.

“Craft beer is something that people love and we’ve got something that resonates with people,” Mulligan said.

What’s next?

After expanding to San Francisco, the service is expected to launch in Nashville in March. With the help of 500 Startups, Mulligan hopes to have BREWPUBLIK in 10 markets by the end of 2016.

There’s also a mobile app in the works.

More than anything, Mulligan just expects the company to keep growing exponentially in the coming year.

“It’s definitely a pinch yourself moment,” Mulligan said. “Here’s the reality — most startups fail. This one’s working.”

So what does this mean for the Charlotte startup scene?

There’s obviously still room to grow. A study last year found that Charlotte lags behind peer cities like Tampa, Nashville and Atlanta when it comes to attracting venture capital and nurturing startups.

As Packard Place co-founder Dan Roselli told the Observer: “We are now playing really good AA baseball. But we want to play in the Major Leagues, and before we weren’t playing at all.”

The hope, it seems, is that BREWPUBLIK will be one of those first Charlotte startups to hit the big leagues and be a model for other entrepreneurs in Charlotte.

BREWPUBLIK could be “the first home grown Charlotte story that we’re all going to celebrate,” said Amish Shah, SierraMaya360 founding partner.