Why Doing Things Backwards Can Be Beneficial

We've all heard it before "There's no need to reinvent the wheel." And yes, in many circumstances that idiom applies, especially when starting a brewery for the first time. Most breweries open with a straightforward approach: raise money, buy equipment, hire personnel, open a taproom, distribute the leftover beer and bask in the glory of their success. With equipment months away from arriving and a taproom even further from completion, we're taking a leap of faith, winging it, and trying our hardest to do things a smidge differently. 

According to the old brewer's adage, distributing beer in a profitable manner outside of your own taproom requires the use of a 15 barrel (or larger) brewhouse. Anything smaller limits profits, handicaps growth and is more like chasing your tail than creating a profitable business.

Well, we are testing that assumption. 

With a 1 BBL brewhouse, nestled neatly in the Santa Cruz Mountains, we have begun cranking out recipes for self-distribution. Yes, our beer is in restaurants and bars right now (look for beers at West End Tap & Kitchen or East End Gastropub (opened last night), The Food Lounge and the Picnic Basket).

If having such a small system for distribution isn't profitable then why do it? 

Five Reasons to be Dumb & Distribute from a 1 Barrel System: 

  1. Recognition in the local market—it's important for customers to see our name alongside large-scale breweries.
  2. Test assumptions—maybe what we like, is not what the customer wants? 
  3. Create relationships with retailers—need we explain why this is important?
  4. Access new customers—according to Facebook, only 1,000 people have heard of Humble Sea. There's plenty of room for improvement.
  5. Make money (someday)

When sifting for start-up inspiration, it's easy to feel infinitesimal when thousands of breweries appear to be doing it bigger, faster and with more money. However, we're attempting to disregard feelings of self-doubt and working towards establishing 10 reoccurring Santa Cruz accounts. Interested in having our beer on tap? Email us at beer@humblsea.com

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