Ken Leighton 5 p.m., Jan. 24
- Community Blog
- Craft beer and Entrepreneurs
Righteous beer or the folly of money...?
“Let's open a brewery, we'll make lots of money.”A popular refrain heard among the patrons here at my local brew house on a Thursday eve. This thought had even crossed my mind when I began to home brew a number of years ago. I studied the formulas, bought the right equipment and proceeding to make some bona fide all grain IPA's, stouts and so on. A typical beer making day would start at the crack of dawn and end around late afternoon or evening, a righteous and rewarding day, albeit a long one. I soon acknowledged the time and energy invested does not add up to the 'saving' of money from making ones own beer, or even the pursuit of it. I did it because of the satisfaction and the benefits this hobby provided. But now I had more beer on hand than I could drink in one day, a quality problem with some quality solutions. Friends and neighbors were soon offering to barter for beer or buy ingredients, and the money was soon forgotten.
Lets take the money equation out of the picture for now. The most important aspect of manufacturing my own craft beer was that I did not have to buy the cheap volume beer that we were used to. By making my own beer, not only did I help our household budget, but I helped our fellow villagers too. The actual idea of self sustaining overtook the financial part of making beer. I realized my time and energy invested in this hobby could not be paid back with any amount of money, as this was coming out of my life, and time has whatever price we put on it. The same rules apply to the commercial side of brewing or any other business, we don't do it to make money, (that comes later), we do it because we can and because we have the ability and inclination.
What is money? This is a complicated question not even easily explained by economists, never mind beer makers, but in a nut shell, it's an intangible asset acquired by our labor, used to acquire the tangible by bartering for it. We don't make the money, the mint does. Remember, the only dollar that was truly ours, was the dollar which was spent. When starting any business we must focus on the idea and how it will help our community, how we can fill a need and ease the pain and not prolong it. Any successful entrepreneur will attest to the fact they definitely do not do it for the money, although that will come in due time, and copious amounts too. Remember, we should not chase the money, let it chase us.
A five gallon batch will yield around two case's of 22oz bottles; multiply this by hundreds and thousands of gallons and we can see what big numbers can materialize. Once we focus on our product and the service to our customers, combined with finding a successful formula, and the result will attract the right investors. We live in the richest country in the world. Most people we know have money, even the pan handlers on the street corners. Our friends and neighbors all have it, even though some mistakenly say they don't. Working hard on our ideas and finding solutions to the inevitable problems that will arise will create momentum and traction, and with this growth we will shall see individuals who would rather invest in an upwardly moving business, than in a low yielding or stagnant account in a bank.
One sure way a business will fail is by under capitalization, and constantly worrying about, or trying to make, the fictional money. By making sure we have enough numbers in the account ledger to pay our monthly bills, (including our selves) for the next calender year, we can then ensure our product will receive the due respect and attention it deserves. Once we discover what money really is, and the futile worship of it, we can then concentrate on something much more important, the servicing of our customers. Honesty and integrity, along with other virtues are necessary for practicing good business, and for making a righteous IPA, the nonsensical money is far below on the priority list.~Guru