Startup. Three. The Middle of the End of the Beginning.
So I think since we ever started dating, Lizz and I wanted to start our own business. It's something that's in our blood. I guess its part not wanting to work for other people and part wanting to build something that we can be proud of. Something that will leave our mark on this world. Long before we ever even had the inkling of the concept for Blue Tape Brewing, we wanted to start a brewpub. In the early days of our relationship, it seemed like it was just a dream-- that nothing would every come out of it.
As my career path shifted several times, there were times when I completely forgot this is what we were supposed to be doing. The frustration with what I was doing to pay the bills became impossibly distracting, but then I found a job I actually liked, and thats where the name was forged. Blue Tape Brewing. People seemed to respond to the name with enthusiasm so we saw no reason not to move forward. In November of 2014 I was once again frustrated with my job because I had little to no time to work on Blue Tape. Thats when we sat down and gave ourselves a timeline. We wanted to be open in 30 months. 2.5 years. I started reading like crazy. Business Books. Brewing Books. Brewing Business books. Books on how to start your own brewery. Since November I have read more books than I did in 4.5 years of college.
So I had time to read, but I still didn't feel I could effectively draft anything resembling a business plan with how much effort I was putting in to my full time job. So instead, we took care of what we could. I purchased a DSLR camera to document the whole process (all of the photos on this website are taken with a Canon Rebel SL1). I started tooling around with logo design so that our company could be easily identified (the logo as you see it now has gone through about 10 different versions and is still changing, but thats a blog on its own). Lizz started drafting the outline of our business plan. And then, one freezing cold day in February, Lizz dragged me out of bed at the outrageous hour of 10am with all of the enthusiasm in the world saying "let's go start a company." Several weeks later, we had articles of organization for Blue Tape Brewing LLC.
But then we hit a stall, big time. We both got promoted. Even less of our free time could be devoted to this endeavor. When Steve Hindy and Tom Potter started the Brooklyn Brewery, they were both holding down full-time jobs. At a certain point, they realized that one of them was going to have to leave their job to focus on raising money to get their own company off the ground. After much consideration, it was determined that I was going to leave. I'll spare most of the details (separation did not go as planned), but in May of 2015 I successfully stopped being the General Manager of a restaurant group. That said, I'm still running a full time job, still in the same industry, just as a bartender. More of my time can be focused on Blue Tape Brewing. Since executing the decision to separate, this company developed more in 6 weeks than it did in the previous 6 months and we are continuing to push forward. Our business plan is roughly half done, we are becoming more active in social media, and our website continues to grow.
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We are members of a young industry. Although beer itself is thousands of years old, the American craft beer revolution only started a few decades ago. Since then, there have been periods of rapid growth, there have been shakeouts where a large number of breweries close, there have been collaborations, there have been lawsuits-- but there has always been good beer. There will continue to be good beer. Recently, Larry Bell (Founder of Bell's Brewery Inc.) was quoted saying "Here’s my line about the current situation: We are in the middle of the end of the beginning of craft beer. All the pioneers who started it off are getting older, and they have to look at an exit strategy." This is the environment in which we exist. We are starting in a time where our founding fathers with names like Maytag, Grossman, and Koch have been doing this for over 30 years. We are a new generation of craft brewer and its super exciting to be a part of it. At the same time, Bell's quote holds a double meaning for us. Blue Tape Brewing is also in the middle of the end of the beginning. We are still very much a startup, but now we are more capable than ever. We will leave our mark on the world, and it's going to be with good beer.
And that concludes the 3 part history of Blue Tape Brewing. We are now back to the present. It's going to be a hell of a ride from here on out.