Startup. Seven. A Brewing Company With No Brewery.
So I was talking to my business partner earlier this week, and it was very apparent that I have not written a blog post in quite some time. Which is somewhat problematic, because this blog is more or less the most significant window into what is going on with Blue Tape. Elizabeth and I know the direction we are going, but it is often hard to express that to people on an individual basis. We are sort of in this strange limbo period where seemingly, nothing is happening.
Two weeks ago, I finished writing the draft our business plan. As alluded to in a previous post, it's its the greatest story I ever told. It is the fully conceptualized vision of everything we are working towards. Now, Elizabeth will proof it, I will make any corrections, and then it will be vetted by a number of third parties. A consultant will look over our financial model to ensure that we aren't overlooking anything. (Side Note: Our financial model is a dozen or so pages of spreadsheets that flow in this sort of beautiful progression of practical projections. The numbers look good even with low-end projections, and that is terrifying. I am a little concerned that there is a cell that was missed somewhere and its just going to make everything collapse when we find it. Thankfully, we know professionals.) Everything we hope to accomplish is in this document, and once it is completely refined, we will begin the fundraising process.
In the meantime, we are brewing company with no brewery. And I'm oddly okay with that.
Last week, we shared a Brewbound story on our Facebook page that stated the number of breweries in this country has reached an all-time high of 4,144. The previous high was reached in 1873 when there were 4,131 breweries in operation. Prohibition, consolidation, and dilution of tastes saw this number drop to a low of less than 100 in the 1970s. Now, there are an average of 2 breweries opening per day in this country, meaning that by the time Blue Tape opens its doors, over 1,000 more breweries will have opened. Luckily, this is an industry of collaboration, not competition, so 1,000 breweries represent 1,000 more reasons why we will all succeed. Our collective brand is craft, and we all own it.
For now, we are doing everything we can to ensure that Blue Tape will be the best representative it can be for this brand that all craft brewers own. Sure, the business plan is all but done and we can't brew beer, but there is still a lot that we are doing. Things that will impact long term success. We don't want to open this dream and not be prepared, so everything that we can do now we are doing. Blue Tape Brewing LLC's world headquarters is also our condo. It is the office that is currently producing systems that will be put into place on May 31st, 2017.
All the boring things you don't even think twice about when you start working at a place are being developed right now. From job descriptions for hourly employees, to a training program, to standard operating procedures for the brewery and taproom- we are getting that all out of the way right now. Sure, there will still be a learning curve once they are put into practice, but we have an excellent jumpstart. Yes, this is our dream. Yes, it's a really cool dream. Yes, it's a brewery. But first and foremost, it is a business and we will not lose sight of that. This practical side of things is incredibly important, but there is also the creative side that ensures we don't lose our sanity.
We are conceptualizing the products that we will be selling as well. Developing a taproom food menu has been fun, and without going into to much detail, from-scratch tortillas are one of the most amazing culinary products i have ever experienced. Obviously, we think about beer a lot as well. What is our core selections of brews going to look like? How will we drum up hype about seasonal releases? What are we going to name all of these things? What do we want the flavor profiles to be like? What will our guests want? These are all questions that we are trying to work through now such that we are fully prepared when the time comes. All the parts of a brewery that you can't see are being completed during this time. You can't see them, but in a lot of ways they are the most important part of the operation. It takes a long time to open a brewery, it seems like a lot of waiting and not doing anything, but there is always something going on behind the scenes until the day the strike water hits the grain for the first time.
So on the surface, nothing is happening. Right after I left the farm-to-table group, a good friend of mine asked me where he could buy some of my beer. Well, you can't yet. These things take forever. Sure, it's frustrating to us and our potential clientele that we are a brewing company from which you cannot purchase beer. But this is because we want that first beer to be memorable in the most positive way imaginable. And a lot of that is accomplished behind the scenes.
We are no longer in the middle of the end of the beginning. This is the end of the end of the beginning (Are you still with me? Even I'm a little confused.) There will be a few more posts about what is going on in the background, but after that, this blog will become more frequent and more exciting. The turning point is coming where we stop conceptualizing and start putting nails into wood and hops into a kettle. Thanks for being here with us.