From "Oh Shoot" To "Aha," 3 Ways We've Evolved As A Company
From setting our kitchen aflame to bottling bad beer and dropping it off for Lúpulo Craft Beer House; it's fair to say we've made our share of wrong moves. If we were travel plans, we'd be fashionably late. If we were a treasure map, 'X' would almost hit the spot. Nonetheless, we drink a few beers, retell the story and do our best to learn from our experiences. The blogging tycoon Alex Turnbull says it best:
"Please believe that if you don't take the time to learn then, you're robbing yourself and your business."
Amidst all the chaos, goofs and gaffes; we've still managed to achieve those key "aha" moments. Fresh off our second tap takeover in six months, we reflect on the three important areas we've evolved as a beer business.
1. Build a Team
Allow us to be arrogant and say that Nick's a great brewer. He's placed first in the national organic homebrewing competition in 6 different categories. However, scaling from home brewer to commercial brewer requires a team, a brain trust of like-minded individuals who cultivate creativity and execute ideas. If you want to progress, then grow your tribe.
In January, our brewhouse strengthened with the addition of Ben & Jacob. Ben, a longtime homebrewer with a creative approach to beer and a niche for darker, maltier styles, joined the team. Jacob, a former elementary school science fair champion ;) climbed aboard as well, providing a calculated third party perspective. Collectively, the trio's passion for beer and brewing has shaped styles like our Cut N Run Westcoast IPA, Amarillo Boy Pale Ale, and My Morning Speedo Coffee Saison.
We have a passion for brewing lagers. Everything from experimental Mexican Lagers to clean, crisp pilsners.
Six months ago, 60% of our fermentors were dedicated to lagering. Lager's, although crisp & refreshing, require a long wait before they're kegged and sold (twice the time of ales). Call it a financial bear hug, but with limited space and the growing demand for our beer, we shifted our attention to crafting beer styles that are both loved by Californians and also faster to make. Styles like IPA's, Pale Ales and Saisons require half the wait and yet they compile the majority of the beer market.
It's a win-win. We do a better job of meeting demand and you get more of our beer.
We're not the first to follow this trend. For example, Cellarmaker, San Francisco's premiere location for beer nerds, brews mostly ales with almost all of their lineup devoted to IPAs, APAs, and Saisons.
3. Be Creative & Lighthearted
At the start, we were pretty damn rigid. We still are, but we've softened up a tad. Our lightheartedness shines through beer names like Tiny Umbrella, Socks N' Sandals, Amarillo Boy (Get it? It sounds like "I'm a real boy?!"), My Morning Speedo, and Le Jetski (French for "The Jetski"). A humorous approach to naming the beers we love and make, softens the rigidity of startup life.
Like Lake Tahoe in the summer, it's clear how important it is to evolve. Hiring great help, making the beers people regularly drink, and having a lighthearted approach, has been key to the development of Humble Sea Brewery.
Have free advice? Please don't hesitate to share it below, because we need all the help we can get :)