Thursday, January 2, 2014

The New Year: Looking Back and Stepping Forward

We started off 2013 with an idea, an idea we were talking about for two years straight, but didn’t know how to get there. We had a grand plan to open a brewery. We didn’t know where, what it would be called, nor what size the equipment would be. We didn’t have a business plan and we didn’t have a financial model to prove to ourselves that this idea would work.

2013 was a busy year. We were newlyweds working on a dream together. It was a great year. We started going to LegUP (Livingston Entrepreneurs Group United for Prosperity). From that networking community we were introduced to many business organizations who wanted to see us succeed as much as we did. Thanks to SCORE (Service Corps of Retired Executives),  MI-SBTDC (Michigan Small Business Technology Development Center), the Brighton Area Chamber of Commerce, the Howell Chamber of Commerce, and LegUP, we had all the networking, business classes, and mentoring we needed to get where we are today.

What was the journey like last year? We spent the first part of the year creating a business plan and financial model. It was a lot of back-and-forth with the wonderful people at the MI-SBTDC. This included many disappointing moments (ie. We don’t have a lot of money to work with) along with many “ah-ha” moments (ie. We finally figured out the system size we could use to make the financial model make sense).

The summer time was spent scouring Livingston County for a location. We had to be conscious of available space, price per square foot, and location. Being from Howell, I knew the area well, but after four months of analyzing maps, driving around, after work meetings, and countless conversations with landlords and real estate agents, I see the Howell-Brighton area in a whole new light!

As fall settled in, we settled on a location that we wanted to pursue. We have layout drawings and we are now trying to start up work on the build-out. You can’t apply for your microbrewery licenses until you have a location. Now that we have signed the lease, all systems are “go”.  

In the coming year we hope to have our space transformed into a microbrewery with multiple taps available for a fun taproom area. It is going to be a crazy year for us. We are so thankful for our friends and family in the area that support our passion.

Happy 2014 everyone!