As much as I want to own and run a brewery, of equal importance is gaining independence. I've been in corporate America for a very long time and quite frankly, I just don't fit it. I never have. Whenever I have a moment of doubt about opening this brewery, there are many things I can think of to get myself back on track. One of the best motivators is realizing I'll finally make my own decisions about what I need to do and not answer to anyone else but my customers. That feeling of total independence is going to be incredibly satisfying to me, so much so that any risks involved are far outweighed by the ability to call my own shots the way I want to call them without anyone else telling me I can or can't. And no stupid meetings either. Part of this fierce independence I've been seeking is to do this alone. No partners. No arguments, no compromises, just me and enough rope to hang myself. So it came as a surprise to me a couple of weeks ago when I decided that perhaps I'd like to share that independence with someone. Which seems somewhat dependent. The story goes like this:
I have this friend whom I met through one of my homebrewing clubs (shout out to HOPS!) a couple of years ago. Over time we've become pretty damn good friends. My passion for craft beer and brewing is equaled by his. So a few months ago I threw the idea out to him that maybe he'd be interested in working for
Panic Alarmist at some point down the road. He liked the idea, but felt it was impractical due to finances. I didn't put much thought into after that and just proceeded as usual. In the interim, by friend had a bit of an epiphany. So a couple of weeks ago he wanted to know if we could hook up and drink some beers. He came over to my place, we had a couple of brews, then he said something along the lines of, "So you remember you asked me about working for you a couple of months ago...."
That conversation began a whirlwind of phone calls, texts, and emails between us and a dinner at our house with my friend, his wife, and their new baby boy. Another week passed, more messaging, a few fits of panic (see?) and now here we are. In the past couple of weeks I've changed my mind about how to get this brewery up and running and successful. I could definitely do it myself, but the problem is I don't have all the answers and the ones that I do are going to be wrong sometimes. I don't have a monopoly on good ideas or bad ones. And my stress level is increasing on a daily basis due to more phone calls, more emails, more texts. There are so many moving parts to this process and I have a full time job that I have to balance with family life.
I need a partner. Someone who is passionate about this business, someone who knows how to brew well, someone I can easily work with, someone with an excellent sense of humor, someone who'll rub my feet when my wife can't. That someone is:
Charlize Theron Nathan Barth!
Nate brings a lot to the table and I think we'll be great partners. Yes everyone seems to have a story about two friends who became business partners and then hated each other. I have one of those stories as well. There's a big difference here and that is we seem to agree on just about everything and when we don't, we are able to complement each other in a way that's kinda scary. I'm loud, obnoxious, opinionated where as Nate is quiet, unassuming, and thinks before he speaks. Nate is a native Wisconsinite and Green Bay fanatic. I am sports agnostic (and I'm from Indiana).
Nate also brews some bad ass beer including an IPA which won a homebrew competition (in which I also competed) and was then brewed at Haymarket Brewing. We are in a lot of agreement as to where we want to go with our beers and any differences in opinion on ingredients or processes will only make the final beer better. We are both in strong agreement that New Glarus is one of the best breweries on Earth.
I'll let Nate introduce himself in a future blog post but for now please welcome him to
Panic Alarmist Brewing. Nate will be a full 50/50 partner with me. I'll be getting him up to speed on all research and we'll be splitting up tasks and knocking 'em down twice as fast. We've already starting mapping those tasks out, discussing recipe ideas, marketing ideas, lots more.
Nate has already got me thinking about how we can improve the
Panic Alarmist logo and overall branding. There will be plenty of dynamite, but we're going to head in another direction with it and it's going to be fabulous. Stay tuned for that.
In other news, I met with an SBA lender last Friday and it was fantastic. Lots of good feedback and well, it looks like we may have ourselves a lender. Lots can go wrong until the deal is signed, but I'm feeling very, very good about where we are. I'll have lots more to write about that as we figure out the details. This is the single biggest piece of the
Panic Alarmist Brewing puzzle.