008: Todd Ford – NoDa Brewing Company

Episode 008:

  • Todd Ford and his wife Suzie started NoDa back in 2011. He’s a former pilot with deep roots in the Charlotte, NC home brewers guild.

Worst Business Moment:

  • Imagine your brewery only being a couple of months old, you’ve run through all your start up cash and margins are running scary thin….pretty easy to imagine right? Well then throw in some gauge issues with your fermentation tanks which caused you to have to dump several batches of beer that couldn’t go to market. That’s not a lot of fun………

“Light Bulb” Moment:

  • In a series of decisions, when faced with a cross roads and multiple paths to take, NoDa has always chosen the path that they felt gave them the most future opportunities.

Best Advice Ever Received:

  • “Hire a brewery consultant”

Links:

007: Doug Odell – Odell Brewing Company

Episode 007:

  • Doug Odell, his wife and sister started Odell Brewing Co in 1989. Today, Odell Brewing is the 3rd largest brewery in Colorado and as of last year the 34th largest in the country.

Worst Business Moment:

  • Two weeks before you open, you go to a friendly competitors grand opening party and the place is packed.  Your opening night party comes around, and the attendance is not even close to the other…abysmal in fact! Thoughts of “oh my goodness, what have we done” start to creep into your head.

“Light Bulb” Moment:

  • When you start to take a small paycheck and then about a year later your wife is able to come on full time, that’s when it hits you that “Hey, this is gonna work.”

Best Advice Ever Received:

  • The advice Doug received form other brewers when starting up on both the operations and setup of a brewery along with the type of system to use….and also how to scale up from a 5 gallon home brewer to a commercial system.

Links:

006: Michael Sellers – Good People Brewing Company

Episode 006:

  • Michael Sellers is a co-founder of Good People Brewing Company which sold its first beer in 2008.

Worst Business Moment:

  • Any move is tough! But a move with mistakes, setbacks and a 4+ month delay on production is REALLY tough….

“Light Bulb” Moment:

  • Big leaping moments are really rare….it’s really the daily grind and then you look up and go, wow – we have really come a long way…

Best Advice Ever Received:

  • “Don’t become a martyr in business because nobody cares”

Links:

005: Kelly Taylor – Kelso Beer Company

Episode 005:

  • Kelly Taylor and his wife Sonya Giacobbe started Kelso in 2006. Kelly’s roots in the craft beer industry go back to the early 90’s and in addition to running Kelso, he also oversees production for the Heartland Brewing Group.

Worst Business Moment:

  • How does backwards growth, that was largely outside of your control, after many years of pretty good growth sound?  Not fun at all….but that’s what Kelso experienced just this past year when they ran into issues with their distributor.

“Light Bulb” Moment:

  • When you are running a contract brewing operation and realize, hey! I can start a brewery right here out of this space and basically contract brew for myself……

Best Advice Ever Received:

  • If you want to start a business at some point, start developing business credit now.

Links:

004: Curt Cameron – Thomas Hooker Brewery

Episode 004:

  • Curt Cameron is the “Emperor” of Thomas Hooker Brewery which has origins dating back to 1996 starting out as the brewery arm of a brewpub.

Worst Business Moment:

  • “Is there any way for me to fix this”…..”Well, you can’t un-steal” – Employees at small businesses can be like family and when one of your key employees steals from you, it hurts in a lot of different ways.

“Light Bulb” Moment:

  • Building a rather large “event space” in the brewery to create a great experience for the consumer to come into the brewery, experience it and feel apart of the brand.

Best Advice Ever Received:

  • “People buy from people they like”

Links:

003: Linus Hall – Yazoo Brewing Company

Episode 003:

  • Linus Hall is the Founder and Brewmaster of Yazoo which he started back in 2003 after many years of home brewing dating back to 1993.

Worst Business Moment:

  • Where’d the money go? Moving locations is hard enough……try moving locations, being behind schedule and finding out your contractor has run off with a bunch of your money and not paid any of the subs for their work!!

“Light Bulb” Moment:

  • Revitalizing an old Nashville recipe, hanging with the Mayor and realizing that “hey, we weren’t this little no name brand anymore, we’ve actually built something that the people in Nashville are proud of…..

Best Advice Ever Received:

  • “Cash is King”

Links:

002: Kevin Selvy – Crazy Mountain Brewing Company

Episode 002:

  • Kevin Selvy and his wife Marissa started Crazy Mountain in 2010 becoming the first production brewery in the Vail valley. Today they have opened a second brewing location in Denver and are up to almost 40,000bbls per year in production.

Worst Business Moment:

  • Getting presented with an opportunity to purchase a turn key 70,000bbl brewing operation doesn’t sound like the worst thing that could happen to somebody. However, the massive quick growth that was needed to make it happen along with countless hours of trying to raise the necessary funds, watching the deal fall through several times and dealing with the prospect of possibly not being able to pull the deal off led to many many sleepless nights for Kevin.

“Light Bulb” Moment:

  • Ever thrown a party and 4,000 of your closest friends and fans decided to show up?  When that happens, you know you have stumbled on to something good and all your hard work has been worth it…..

Best Advice Ever Received:

  • “Focus on the product”

Links:

001: Mark Henderson – Lazy Magnolia Brewing Company

Episode 001:

  • Mark Henderson and his wife Leslie started Lazy Magnolia Brewing Co. in Kiln, MS in September 2003. Not only is Lazy Magnolia Mississippi’s oldest packaging brewery but it’s also the first brewery in the state since prohibition was enacted there in 1907. Mark shares fantastic stories, his thoughts on the future of the industry and also what he feels breweries in-planning and nano breweries wishing to grow should really focus on moving forward.

Worst Business Moment:

  • One might think that having to shut down your brewery for 3 months and losing your home (subsequently being homeless for the next two years) to Hurricane Katrina might easily be considered the worst business moment for Mark and Lazy Magnolia, but it wasn’t.  After the market crashed in 2008, Mark couldn’t sell a beer for 3 months.  He gathered all of his employees together in December. He scraped together whatever cash he could including every last cent in his savings account so his employees could have a Christmas with their families, but after that there was nothing – no money.

“Light Bulb” Moment:

  • Light bulb moments for Mark typically happen in hindsight. When Lazy Magnolia started out they had four offerings, including their flagship beer Southern Pecan.  Mark’s wife Leslie worked countless hours to get the Southern Pecan recipe just right.  They put these four on the market and let the public choose.  While everyone had their favorite, it didn’t take long for Mark and Leslie to realize that “somehow we managed to get it right with Southern Pecan.”

Best Advice Ever Received:

  • “Play Defense – your problem is not offense”

Links:

000: All About the podcast

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Episode 000:

  • Why listen to Beer Business Radio – If you are a brewery owner who has a great thing going right now but really wants to take the next step in growth, then Beer Business Radio is a show more you! If you’re a well-established regional or larger brewery but you want to keep that creative edge both with your brewing and your business, then Beer Business Radio is a show for you too. If you are a brewery in planning or a home brewer with dreams of taking your beer to the masses or if you are simply like me – a lover of craft beer who is fascinated by how everything in a brewery works and simply enjoys the culture and community of the Craft Beer industry, then Beer Business Radio is definitely a show for you.

Links: