Posts Tagged ‘Business’

Stuff. Things.

I’m in the mood to ramble on about what’s in my head. So, if you’re not ready to peek into my brain…

You’ve been forewarned. Also, it’s Monday, and I had a bachelor party in Vail this weekend, plus the Super Bowl last night, so I don’t think I’m operating at 100%. Or even a passing grade.

Advised music for this post: Garden State Soundtrack.

Anyway, how’s it going?

Things are great here. Kell and I are moving this month. We’re leaving the house and moving to a condo closer to downtown. This is going to alter the brewing process considerably. It’s a smaller place, there’s no backyard (it’s a 3rd floor condo. There is an alley though…), and rent is about double what I’m paying now.

On the upside there, we have to learn to brew a lot more efficiently. Which is good. But ya, I have no idea where we’re going to store all the equipment just yet. It should be interesting.

Right now there’s one batch fermenting in the basement. I hope to bottle it before the move. I feel that moving boxes of beer is easier than moving carboys of beer. We bottled the stout recently, added coffee. Tasted good at the time. We shall see.

I’m not sure what’s going to happen with Breakfast and Brewing yet. I really enjoyed the first one we did, so I’ll figure it out. But for those excited about the prospect of bacon, eggs, and brewing, it’s not happening in February. Hopefully March.

The next few batches are all probably going to be dark beers. I honestly can’t find the desire to brew something light. Granted, it’s snowing today, so maybe that’s having an effect. But I just have this overwhelming desire to brew really dark, overpowered beers that rock your face off before you even pop the cap.

A solution to my lack of space and mind-blowing desire to brew dark beers is to open the brewery. So, I’m actually writing the business plan finally. Like, I have words. Written. And Excel files!

I’m also working on two other ideas. I don’t want to get into them too much on here just yet. They’re not revolutionary ideas, but they are good ideas, and I don’t want someone with money and no heart coming along and opening one of them in Denver, just because. Paranoia? Sure. Whatever. My ideas.

Unrelated. But I would totally make beer in this.

Anyway, one idea involves making beer. But it’s not the brewery. The other idea involves selling beer. But it’s not the brewery. Either one, or both, would hopefully be a faster startup with more immediate returns than the brewery, and would become supplementary income to float Mad Haven until it can hold itself up. You know, like the food part of a brew pub. But not food.

If you want to know more on that, buy me a beer. I’ll talk your ear off for many hours. I just don’t feel like posting the plan here, at least not today.

Oh, I think I’m going to try to make cheese soon.

What else.. Life is good right now. Really good. It’s stout month at Mountain Sun / Vine Street, so I’ll be there a bunch this month, hopefully. Moving is never fun, but I’m excited for the new place. I’m looking for freelance work right now, since my rent is doubling. So, if you know anyone looking for an awesome guy to write awesome code, let me know. (I write PHP / JavaScript / MySQL / etc. pjhoberman.com is my site. It’s not awesome. Yet.)

That’s about it.

And beer. Well, I still love it.

End ramble.

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Just a quick update on the actual business stuff.

Um, Yeah... Im Gonna need you to come in on Saturday...

Um, Yeah... I'm Gonna need you to come in on Saturday...

  • Started working on the business plan. It’s scary. I’m going to seek help.
  • Lucas said he’d give me his books, software, and knowledge to help with aforementioned help seeking.
  • Meeting with the Director of Fun at New Belgium Brewery on Monday to talk shop. Pretty excited about that.
  • Talking with Taa Dixon at 720Media about startups and all that. She’s a Colorado College alum as well. CC Love.
  • Waiting for an email back from a realtor to go check out a possible location for the brewery. It’s a bit big (30,000 sqft), but it’s PERFECT. Perfect location, used to house a VERY successful brewery, etc.

That’s all next week. If you have any leads for me on business ops, locations, funding, suppliers, or just want to try a homebrew, let me know.

[edit] Also, we just made a quick partial-mash kit for a friend’s birthday in 2 weeks. Beer on tap for “public” consumption! Woo!

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Starting a brewery… Turns out, not an easy process. Who knew?

I think were doing better than Sisyphus...

I think we're doing better than Sisyphus...

Over the past few weeks and months, we’ve gotten the ball rolling, so to speak. Relative to where we were when the decision was made to do this, we’ve come a ways. Relative to where we’ll be opening day, we have yet to begin working.

The main things we’ve done:

  • Met with an officer about licenses
  • Met with a banker
  • Amassed a collection of ideas and plans to differentiate ourselves
  • Met with some SBA people
  • Spoke with some real estate agents
  • Told everyone we know we’re going to ask them for money (if we know you and we haven’t asked yet, consider yourselves warned)
  • Started a blog (very important step in the process)
  • Started the business plan (I have an outline…)
  • Lots of other little stuff

Things we still need to do. And mind you, this list is very, very, very incomplete:

  • Actually write the business plan
  • Write it again
  • Go over it a few times with various consultants, and then rewrite it again
  • Come up with the name
  • Research suppliers for the hardware and the supplies (like tanks, grains, hops, kegs, etc.)
  • Find the perfect location
  • Get the money
  • Buy all that stuff
  • Get licensed
  • Open
  • Find people to drink our delicious beer

It’s more complex than that, but that’s where I see us as of today. The immediate next step is the business plan. We need to do a lot more research, write it, rinse, and repeat. Part of that involves talking to suppliers, just to get an idea of what our costs will be. Things like overall overhead, cost per batch, pricing, gross per batch, etc.

Picture of a random IPA. Just because.

Picture of a random IPA. Just because.

The more I find out about this process, the bigger the challenge becomes. I don’t say that in a negative way, just an honest one. I had this date of August 2010 in my head. I’d love if we could open by then. When we first started talking about doing this, 8/10 seemed so far away! And now… It’s starting to seem like tomorrow. So August of next year might not work. We’ll see though. No hard deadlines to meet just yet, and a lot of work between now and then either way, but, that’s where we stand.

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Rising unemployment, massive credit crunch, rising commodity prices, out of control state and federal budgets, DJIA plummeting, and that’s only here in the US.  Wow, I need a beer.  A lot of Americans have been saying the same thing, and somewhat amazingly, they are looking for craft beers, not just Key-Light and PBR (not that there is anything wrong with these two fine examples of American Lagers).  But don’t take it from me, check out some of the news I have found from just the last few months.

“Americans love beer — one of the world’s oldest alcoholic beverages. According to the Beer Institute, if you average it out, every American over 21 drinks more than 30 gallons of beer annually, and the beer industry is one of the few sectors not having its worst year since the Great Depression.”

“The Boulder-based Brewers Association reports that craft beer sales grew almost 6 percent in 2008 – the only area of noticeable growth in the beer biz.”

“The craft brewing industry generates $6.3 billion each year, according to the Brewers Association. The volume of beer produced through craft brewing, which includes brewpubs and microbreweries, grew by 5.8 percent in 2008.”

Yes, we know this is former German chancellor Gerhard Schroeder drinking a beer. But its the only appropriate image we came up with when we Googled businessman drunk.

Yes, we know this is former German chancellor Gerhard Schroeder drinking a beer. But it's the only appropriate image we came up with when we Googled "businessman drunk".

Not only is it a brewer’s market right now, it is also a good time to venture out on your own (in many industries), according to numerous experts.  It might sound risky to a lot of people, but I attended an entrepreneur panel last week at Colorado College and left with a renewed belief in the drive of American entrepreneurs.  During that discussion I also learned that 3 of the 5 panelists started their businesses in a recession, and they have made it work.

“Regardless of what people around you (including the media) may say, right now is the best time to get into business. Just go back and look at the economic slowdowns throughout history. Most recessions in the post-World War II era last an average of 10 months, followed by growth cycles that last an average of 50 months.”

“We’re Americans. Entrepreneurship is in our DNA. You’re right that when the economy tightens, fewer people are likely to start businesses. But what that means is that you can do a competitive regional analysis and know that your niche is protected, for a while at least. Grand openings, ribbon cuttings, and groundbreakings are likely to get a lot more media and general attention in your community.”

While the future is certainly uncertain, I am fairly confident that the economy will begin to recover by the time we get all of our ducks in a row and we will be able to launch at an opportune time.  Now finding funding could be the tough part.  As one of the esteemed CC alum entrepreneur panelists put it, “Without funding your vision is just a hallucination.”

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