Rewind to this time last year.
We just had moved from our old location to our current building. The renovation had begun, we were brewing some good R&D batches, but we were still living in Shadyside and had yet to raise any money. Most of our time was spent formulating an investment plan – our Hail Mary pass, our half-court buzzer shot to actually starting the company we’d been working on for what seemed like forever.
Over the following year – to massively oversimplify the emotional whiplash of launching our first funding round – we pulled it off. In six long months, we raised the necessary funding through the sale of twenty shares of the company and the help of an economic development loan. And throughout the process of raising capital, we learned a lot about the level of service we wanted to provide. It forced us to hone in on what really mattered to us, and we budgeted accordingly. By honing in on what we valued most and working to accommodate those things from the start, we avoided what is arguably the biggest cause of stress and erosion of relationships in a small business setting: having to fight tooth and nail for every line item in the budget.
Meanwhile, over on the renovation side of things, we were cruising. Due to equal parts resourcefulness and utter insanity, we made the decision to do almost all of our construction ourselves. Everything that didn’t require a professional certification was fair game. Both of us had some solid construction experience and would consider ourselves generally handy, but this was one hell of an undertaking. So with the wise guidance of our landlord, and an endless trove of YouTube tutorials, we taught ourselves carpentry, drywall, masonry, tiling, concrete work, interior design – the whole shebang. Somehow, things look great and we’re both still breathing, so I’d say that things have gone fairly well so far.
So, it’s now the beginning of 2014. We’re on track to begin brewing within the next few months, and open the taproom shortly thereafter. Everything is finally coming together, which is rather relieving given the ridiculous spattering of speed bumps we encountered along the way. Our tanks are now in place, after having arrived without their feet. The brewing system is now ready to be hooked up and plumbed in, after arriving with a crucial part not having been welded onto it. And the kegs are now all present and accounted for, after a gigantic shipping snafu that scattered three different breweries’ kegs randomly across the country. But we’ve learned that these goofy hiccups, however frustrating, are all part of the process. As Calvin’s father would say, it builds character.
From our perspective, this whole open-a-brewery thing has taken forever. Forr-evv-err. But we’ve learned not to get too wrapped up in that, because we now know what it is that we value most: creating something memorable for our customers and community. Or, as a friend and mentor taught us, our family. And we’re not in the business of cutting corners, family. We assure you that it will be worth the wait.
2014 is going to be a really incredible year for us, and we’re so fortunate for all of the support that’s gotten us here. We have no idea where we’ll be this time next year, but one thing is for damn sure: we’re enthusiastically awaiting the day we’re able to finally pour you a pint, fill your growler, and show you the brewery.
So cheers, family. Here’s to 2014.