Food Entrepreneur NEW YORK — Uncle Waithley’s Beverage Co. has opened an equity crowdfunding round to support its national expansion. The startup markets and distributes non-alcoholic, small-batch ginger beer blended with scotch bonnet, a popular pepper in Caribbean and African cultures.

Founder Karl Franz Williams, a restaurateur and mixologist, developed the drink from a family recipe inspired by his grandfather, Uncle Waithley, a ginger farmer who lived on the island of St. Vincent. Uncle Waithley’s Vincy Brew is formulated with scotch bonnet pepper, ginger, turmeric, lime and mineral water.

Earlier in his career, Mr. Williams held brand management, marketing and innovation roles at PepsiCo and Procter & Gamble.

“A lot has happened in the year since we launched our brand at the Whole Foods Market in Harlem in early 2022,” Mr. Williams said. “We became the fastest selling ginger beer at that store, which led to an expansion into 14 more Whole Foods locations by October and plans to be on shelves at all 56 Northeast locations by late February 2023.

“We’re also expanding our presence online beyond Amazon to Boisson, Reserve Bar and Minibar and quickly expanding our on-premise account list, which is currently 40-plus accounts. We’re especially happy that so many people who taste the product recognize its uniqueness and quality and become repeat customers.”  

Uncle Waithley’s Beverage Co. plans to launch new flavors, expand its team and invest in marketing. The company is offering a maximum of 145,183 shares for $7.37 per share at a pre-money valuation of $8 million. Just over a week after opening the funding round, the company raised $86,000. Investors may learn more at 

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