Why I Think I’m Mostly Not Crazy for Opening a Brewery
on 17/04/12 at 3:58 pmBeer
This editorial was contributed by Jacob McKean, founder of Modern Times Beer, a brewery-in-planning in San Diego. Previously, he was Communications Specialist at Stone Brewing Co., and he has also worked as a freelance writer for a smattering of beer publications. He’s a beer geek and longtime reader of this site. You can follow the development of Modern Times Beer at moderntimesbeer.com and on Facebook and Twitter.
When I sat down with my boss, Greg Koch, to let him know that I was leaving my job at Stone to start a brewery of my own, I wasn’t feeling terribly confident. Greg took a chance on me, believing that my passion for craft beer would make up for my lack of experience. Stone had provided me with a steady paycheck, health care, and a tremendous learning opportunity for the last 2 years. I was stepping into a void, and I’m not a huge fans of voids. I had secured enough financing to get the ball rolling on fund raising, but not nearly enough to actually start a brewery.
Greg was very supportive, but he said this: “You’ve heard me tell other people this so you know not to take it personally. My advice is: ‘don’t.’” Indeed, I had heard him say it before to everyone who had excitedly told him they were starting a small business. My feeling was always that if hearing this from Greg was enough to discourage you, then he was right. But he also knows much better than most people the risks that come with starting a brewery. He’s been admirably open about Stone’s struggles early on, when the company bled money for years and survival was a constant question.