Friday, May 3, 2013

Yes things suck, but this is the path chosen!

I had half written a post about all things entailing "starting your own brewery" and all that broad subject encompasses. Then came Rob Fullmer's recent post on his blog "Beer PHXation" Read it and ponder a bit and then return...

I know this: people like Rob have a cautious approach towards constant growth in an industry that most of us feel we have a place in.  He has garnered respect from me as being one of the most observant individuals in the craft beer industry. I am also very relieved his blog got to me before I rambled on about our current situation.  I had things like "The American Nightmare" and "All those homebrewers getting into this who build a brewer thing probably have no idea that this is an industry of sales and relationships, and your love for beer will , at times, offend people" in my post. Then, after reading his blog, I stepped back and reflected on all the progress that  I have made. There are so many positives because we pushed for this crazy dream. I see the ceiling and floors we chose.  I see the bars and lights that were installed with a vision for comfort.  I see our team tirelessly working their butts off to see this take hold. All the stainless steel was procured from a vision in a garage over a raging 10 gallon boil. I see the logo I fell in love with while backpacking the heart of Arizona. What we have learned certainly wasn't free, isn't free, and never will be free.  The mistakes we made will be made by numerous "dreamers" that will risk it all and not ever receive the advice they should have.  All because they probably just didn't ask the right questions.

The growth of an industry always starts with trends.  When investors feel more confident that the trends are more bullish and are established as a market, well, they pour their money in.  Success stories start popping up and the dreamers start to see dancing pint glasses that "they made".  Honestly, go for it.  I could tell you what a torturous road is ahead, but you don't give a dam.  Look your loved ones in the eyes and BE HONEST.  You will lose more than you will win.  If your business plan doesn't show a 95-99% risk to your own life and your investors money, re write it.  You will lose many close friends.  Your passion will lend to frustration.  You will not be living a dream many many days.  You will go broke.  Give yourselves 2-3 years from the start of your fundraising effort, and please, OH please, learn to not lie to yourself. Then finally, remember that your idea is so played out. So boring.  More craft beer is an amazing thing but everyone else has already done most of the things you have yourself wrapped around as "new" and "exciting".  That's why this is so hard! Your selling something that has already been done!  Learn to be good at that. Really focus on that.

Lets end with this positive note:  The Arizona craft brewing scene is winning. Guys like Jon Lane from OHSObrewery in Phoenix is the kind of guy that is leading an amazing charge for a local craft beer scene without the bullcrap.  Not one brewery we asked for help and/or advice turned their back to us.  Arizona beer is not just trending, it's growing and getting better.  We are all apart of the ride.  Cheers.


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