Monday, April 3, 2017

Opening A Brewery Costs Too Much

Life.  It’s what happens every second of every day.  It happens to all of us, whether we like it or not.  It can help all of our plans run smoothly, or it can derail them all.  And we have no control over it, no matter how hard we try.  The only thing we can do is choose to sit and scowl at life for what it brought us, or accept life as it comes and be grateful for what we have.

Just over 2 years ago I changed the focus of my brewing and this blog significantly.  Everything became about brewing towards opening a production brewery.  Much of my money was put into test batches, securing names, setting up websites, printing business cards, designing logos and label art.  Much of my time was sunk into thinking about concepts, floor plans, and business strategies.  Much of my dreams were filled with new releases, toppling overpriced and rare “specialty beers”, serving the community.  Then life happened.

I wanted to brew, but I didn’t want to run a business.  Looking for a partner with the skills to run the business end of a brewery that would love my vision and want to see it flourish proved difficult.  Financing wasn’t going to be that big of an issue, I had people lined up, but the looming doubt was whether they would actually be on board for my vision or if they would want to steer it all another direction.  As the process went forward, I found that brewing the same recipe over and over again had become a chore, so much so that the thought of brewing a batch at home didn’t excite me much at all. 

Then the biggest hits came.  My son had been struggling in school during this whole time, and he began to lash out during class.  He is a very emotional young man, much like his Daddy, and he has a difficult time expressing those emotions properly.  When he is frustrated, the whole world knows it.  One thing that seems to impact his behaviors and emotional regulation the most is time with dad.  The more time he gets with me after work or on the weekends, the better his following days at school become, and the more “normal” he acts at home.  The busier I get, the more he struggles.

While all this was going on my best friend was launching a brewery with his brother.  I’ve been blessed to journey with him in the launch of his brewery, assist on brew days, kegging, bottling, quality control, and many other aspects during this time as well.  One thing I know for certain from watching him: if I open a brewery I will not be there for my son(s) when he/they need me.  I can’t love my family the way they deserve and in the ways they each need individually and collectively if I am working 80+ hours a week to fulfill my dreams. 

I had this grandiose vision that I could do the brewery with a restaurant and have it all super kid friendly so my family could come in after school and hang out with me on the nights I had a release or needed to work late.  Being a part of my buddy’s brewery work has shown me that isn’t possible.  You are always having to either focus on the beer you are working with or on the patrons drinking it.  I asked my son one day if he wanted to go to the brewery after church and have lunch and a Daddy Date, usually one of his favorite things, and places to eat (the food cart stationed there).  He told me he hated the food and the brewery.  After some probing, he finally said that he really likes both, but when we go there I ignore him to talk about beer with all my friends (people I run into or the employees).  If I couldn’t make real time for him at a brewery I frequent but am not truly involved with, how could I make real time for him if I owned and operated it?

I still would love to open a brewery, some day, maybe once the kids have grown up and moved on.  Then maybe I’ll open a small brewery, making the kinds of beers I want to drink and sharing them with the people that want to drink them with me.  Until then, I’ll make those beers at home, when I can, and drink them with my friends and family that love my boys as much as I do.


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