My brother and I started FruitCraft in 2009 (under the name California Fruit Wine). As San Diego natives, we were inspired firsthand by the creativity we experienced in the Craft Beer scene. But where breweries at the time were fermenting mostly grains - an inexpensive source of sugar vis-à-vis starch - and where wineries, then and now, ferment grapes - we decided to do what nature has done since the beginning of time - ferment every other fruit!
Since then, we have become master fermenters (and now distillers), exercising our creative craft to bring out the maximum character of every fruit we use.
And while we wouldn't have a business without our fermented wares, it has been incredibly important to us to make sure the WAY the business is structured and operates reflects our values.
That's why we have setup a company that is democratically run by the employees for the benefit of society. When we make decisions, we are first and foremost accountable to the workforce to create and maximize what we call social value, instead of maximizing profits at all costs.
And it is absolutely a truism that businesses need money. It's their oxygen. But the purpose for business isn't to make money in the same way that the purpose for living isn't to breathe oxygen. In our model for business, profits aren't an end but a means, a resource, to accomplish something bigger, a resource to build the common good.
The way we do that is to use our profits to provide free startup grants in the amount of $100,000 to entrepreneurs who adopt our same pay-it-forward model. We will give out our very first grant in 2018.