037: Jordan Gardenhire – Baja Brewing Company

Episode 037:

  • Jordan Gardenhire is the founder and brewmaster of San Jose del Cabo, Mexico based Baja Brewing Company which opened it’s doors in 2007.  Jordan moved from Colorado to Cabo and fell in love with the place.  Not long after arriving, he founded Baja Brewing with his father Charlie.

Worst Business Moment:

  • Jordan shares a few “not so great” moments with us, including a time when a hurricane destroyed the entire area – including the brewery.  Doors were ripped off hinges, windows shatter and mud from flood water ruined almost everything.  About the only thing left standing were tanks that were full of beer!!  Jordan is convinced if those tanks had been empty, they would have been swept away and destroyed.

Most Rewarding Moment:

  • For Jordan, Baja Brewing is more than a business, its also a lifestyle………I mean, he gets to live in Cabo, come on!! While the lifestyle and business are both very rewarding, Jordan loves going downstairs from his office to the brew pub and talking with people who are there enjoying his beer.

Best Advice Ever Received:

  • Figure out what you love and stick with it………

Links:

036: Nico Freccia – 21st Amendment Brewery

Episode 036:

  • Nico Freccia manages all the operations and business development for 21st Amendment Brewery which is co-founded in San Francisco, CA with Shaun O’Sullivan back in 2000.  The popular brewpub has grown to include a production division that is currently one of the fastest growing craft breweries in America.

Worst Business Moment:

  • “Don’t worry about the money, the money is the easy part”…..Well, the money turned out to be pretty tough.  Being in San Francisco and opening right before the dotcom bubble burst and then 9-11 happening about a year later, times were tough.  Knowing who you could pay and when became key to managing cash flow BUT the fellas at 21st Amendment always communicated with their vendors.

Most Rewarding Moment:

  • Hitting the road and telling the 21st Amendment story and simply talking beer is some Nico and Shaun love to do.  Having a beer with people, talking about how certain beers came to be, how certain packaging was thought up, talking the history of beer styles are some of the most enjoyable things 21st Amendment gets to do……

Best Advice Ever Received:

  • Surround yourself with people who are smarter than you are…..

Links:

035: Matt Leff – Rhizome Productions

Episode 035:

  • Matt Leff is the founder of Rhizome Productions in Nashville, TN which started its mission of promoting and supporting craft beer in January 2010.  Their main goal is to promote, educate and support local communities through craft beer.

Topics Discussed in this Podcast:

  • Benefits of a brewery being involved in a beer festival
  • Benefits to the community/city in hosting a beer festival
  • Tips for the brewery doing their first beer festival
  • Tips and advice for beer festival attendees
  • Other ways to promote your brewery to the community
  • What’s next in the world of brewery events
  • and the Southern Brewers Conference – www.southernbrewersconference.com

Best Advice Ever Received:

  • “To know what you don’t know….”

Links:

034: Dave Thibodeau – Ska Brewing Company

Episode 034:

  • Dave Thibodeau is a co-founder and president of Ska Brewing Company in Durango, CO which opened it’s doors back in 1995. Dave and some buddies loved drinking good beer, but they had a little problem – They weren’t old enough to buy it! So they figured if they brewed their own beer, then they’d have all the beer they would ever want.

Worst Business Moment:

  • Partnerships can be very rewarding and beneficial…….but, people are different.  They have different view points, dreams, aspirations and interests.  Even the best of partnerships can experience strain and stress even when things are going great from a business stand point.  The 3 partners at Ska experienced this just a couple of years ago but thanks to the bond they had built over time and the mutual respect they all have for each other, they were able to weather this “storm” and remain partners to this day.

Most Rewarding Moment:

  • When Ska first started, Dave was working another full time job and his home was a VW Van parked in the driveway of a historic rental “mansion”. His fellow co-founder Bill was renting a room in that “mansion” and also was working a full time job.  Neither took a salary from the brewery that first year, but one of Dave’s most rewarding memories was when the brewery started making enough money where he could quit his other job and go run the brewery full-time.

Best Advice Ever Received:

  • Have a quality control program and put in a lab as soon as possible………..

Links:

033: Brad Wynn – Big Boss Brewing Co.

Episode 033:

  • Brad Wynn is a co-founder and the brewing supervisor of Big Boss Brewing Company in Raleigh, NC.  Brad teamed up with Geoff Lamb in 2006 to open the brewery, shipping its first beer in the 2nd Qtr of 2007.  Prior to starting Big Boss, Brad had been professionally brewing for many years with Victory, Wild Goose and Native Brewing Companies.

Worst Business Moment:

  • Early on Big Boss bought a bottling machine in Germany and they did not go over and take a look at it…….They asked questions and got answers, but something must have been lost in translation.  The machine arrived and while it was a truly beautiful piece of German machinery, it needed so much work that they are 5 years in on this ongoing restoration project.

Most Rewarding Moment:

  • Being able to pay your bills, hire people and create a beautiful local business are the things that Brad finds the most rewarding aspects of running his brewery.

Best Advice Ever Received:

  • Brew what you want…….don’t compromise

Links:

032: Chris Brown – Holy City Brewing

Episode 032:

  • Chris Brown is a co-founder and production manager of Holy City Brewing in Charleston, SC. Four guys from different backgrounds decided to open a brewery in 2011 when Charleston was on the cusp of a serious craft beer culture.  Since opening, Holy City has become a local favorite in a very short time.

Worst Business Moment:

  • The early years of business can be tough and the first year and a half for holy city were especially rough.  Entering into bad finance agreements on equipment to working through the growing/learning pains of business partners with different points of view and opinions were all situations that Holy City had to navigate through in those early years……..

Most Rewarding Moment:

  • One of the most rewarding things for Chris is having a group of employees who love working at the brewery.  Having those employees be behind what you are doing as a company and love being at work is the most satisfying things for Chris.

Best Advice Ever Received:

  • SLOW DOWN……..take it easy, step back and take the emotion out of decisions – just slow things down a bit.

Links:

031: Will Hamill – Uinta Brewing Co

Episode 031:

  • Will Hamill is the founder of Uinta Brewing Company which he open its doors in the winter of 1993 in Salt Lake City, UT.  Since then, the proud Utah company has experienced massive growth and expansion while picking up several awards & medals from regional, national and international competitions.

Worst Business Moment:

  • When you are a small growing business, often times you feel doing things yourself is both the best and most cost effective way to get things done.  Will shares a story of a time he should have let the professionals handle the installation of a new piece of equipment.  To this day he has an item from that experience on his desk to remind him that he can’t do it all himself.

Most Rewarding Moment:

  • Seeing some one chose to purchase you beer is something that is truly rewarding for Will.  Watching the families of his now 110 person work force is another thing that Will finds extremely rewarding.

Best Advice Ever Received:

  • Employ great people and let them do their job.  Verify their abilities, but don’t micro-manage………..

Links:

030: Sumit Vohra – Lonerider Brewing Co.

Episode 030:

  • Sumit Vohra is the CEO, Co-founder and Chief Drinking Officer of Lonerider Brewing Company in Raleigh, NC. Sumit was an avid home brewer and in 2008, quit his comfortable corporate job and poured his life savings into his passion launching Lonerider with a couple of buddies in 2009.

Worst Business Moment:

  • The industry was heading towards cans and Lonerider made the decisions to switch from bottling into cans to stay ahead of the trend.  They sold off their bottling line and bought a canning line.  The canning line was delayed and then when it came, it didn’t work!  For three months they had to delay a seasonal, cash flow wasn’t coming in and there was difficultly with distribution partners.  It took about a year for Lonerider to fully recover from all of this.

Most Rewarding Moment:

  • When you are sitting at a bar and someone orders your beer and says, “man this is damn good beer.”  They have no idea who you are and that you work for the brewery and you just sit there and talk to them about why they like the beer.  Sumit says this is some of the most rewarding times of being a brewer.

Best Advice Ever Received:

  • Make a decision and move on…..

Links:

029: Ted Rice – Marble Brewery

Episode 029:

  • Ted Rice is the co-owner, president and brewmaster of Marble Brewery in Albuquerque, NM.  Marble was founded in 2008 in the heart of downtown Albuquerque.  While Marble brews craft beer classics, they also relentlessly push boundaries and raise expectations.  In 2014, they were named the GABF’s small brewery of the year.

Worst Business Moment:

  • Entering into new markets and not fully vetting who your distribution partner is going to be can lead to some sleepless nights down the road.  Ted suggests talking with buyers, talking with those in the market using the distributors you are looking at and even having your contracts fully vetted by a brewery consultant.

Best Business Moment:

  • With growth comes the ability to hire people and watch them grow.  Most folks on the production side of the brewery started with Marble at entry level positions.  As these employees grow in their skill and knowledge, one of the most gratifying things for Ted is to see them walk across the stage at an event to receive an award for a beer they created.

Best Advice Ever Received:

  • Whatever you are going to do in life, be truly passionate about it……….

Links:

028: Aaron Morse – Dark Horse Brewing Co.

Episode 028:

  • Aaron Morse is the CEO and Owner of Dark Horse Brewing Company in Marshall, MI.  Aaron started Dark Horse in early 2000 and lets just say that traditional, cookie-cutter and conformist are not words that you would use to describe Aaron or his brewery.

Worst Business Moment:

  • The first 5 to 7 years in the life of a brewery are tough and cash is huge.  The roller coaster of cash flow is one of those things that keeps you up at night with your stomach in knots wondering where you are going to come up with the cash to pay this bill and that bill.

Other Cool Stuff Dark Horse is Doing:

  • General Store
  • Motorcycle Shop
  • Skate Shop
  • Woodworking Shop (Making furniture out the aging barrels)
  • Maple Syrup & Cider Company
  • Honey Company
  • Fruit Farm with 13 acres of Hops
  • Bakery
  • Candy Shop
  • Roaster & Coffee House
  • Creamery
  • and coming soon, cabins so you can hang out for days!!

Best Advice Ever Received:

  • “Shut your mouth and listen”

Links: