Bonn Place Brewing Company: Crafting a Brewery with Vision and Dedication

Sam Masotto came to the Lehigh University Small Business Development Center (SBDC) with a signed lease and a very literal sketch of a business plan – a vision board now framed and adorning the interior.  Over the next year, Masotto, along with his wife Gina, would develop this vision into the reality of a craft brewery unlike any other. 
 
Masotto and Gina Masotto named Bonn Place Brewing after their former home in Weehawken, New Jersey.  They also tie in names of family members and other life events into the names of their freshly brewed beer. 
 
But before Masotto and Gina brewed their first batch, a lot of work was done to obtain financing and to launch the business. 
 
The first challenge was to find funding.  Masotto and Gina had approached traditional lenders without success. After meeting with the SBDC, they were connected with 2 loan programs – the Lehigh and Northampton Counties Revolving Loan Fund, and the City of Bethlehem Loan Fund, administered through the Rising Tide.  The SBDC helped to turn Sam’s vision into a more traditional business plan, in order to present to funding partners.  Along with a chunk of their own personal savings, they were approved for funding, and ready to build. 
 
After the funding was in place, Masotto  and Gina needed to be sure that all licenses, permits, and zoning requirements were met.  Working with the City of Bethlehem and Senator Boscola’s Office, they were able to navigate the process to establish the business properly.  The process was certainly not as smooth as the beer, but with help from local resource partners, and Masotto’s crash course in lawyering, they were officially ready to open for business. 
 
All they needed to do was complete renovations, get the equipment in the building, brew the beer and keep it cold, and make sure all bathroom door handles worked properly… Easy! 
 
Masotto and Gina officially opened their doors in July of 2016, and hosted a ribbon cutting event for friends and family in November.  City, state, and federal officials presented citations and commendations, including Bethlehem Mayor Donchez’s proclamation of November 17, 2016 as Bonn Place Brewing Day!  
 
Masotto and Gina proudly greet everyone that comes in (by name if they can), and create a great atmosphere and experience for all of their customers.  The SBDC is proud to congratulate Masotto and Gina Masotto on their business, and highly recommend a visit!