It's been over a year since I first started blogging this adventure. I wish I had remembered the anniversary back in October! Here's my first post. Hard to believe 14 months have passed. That brings me to today's subject which is: "Where's the damn brewery!".
My wife brought up the point today that I'm moving very slowly on this and I agreed with her. I know lots of folks opening breweries in Chicago and they are moving quite quickly. Some have already begun looking for real estate, I have not. Now it's hard to compare apples to oranges as we all have different stories including size of brewery, financial resources, life responsibilities and such.
Of all the folks I know here in Chicago opening breweries, I believe I'm the only one who has all five of these attributes: 1) has kids, 2) is in his mid 40's, 3) has a mortgage, and 4) is opening a full sized non-nano brewery, and 5) has a good paying day job which happens to be the sole source of funds for the family. I could be wrong about the other breweries, but I believe this is the case.
These five things plus a few others combine to make me very cautious during this journey. I have a shit load of responsibilities on my shoulders that weigh in on every decision I make. I'm not saying others do not have equal responsibilities or limitations but these are mine. The only reason I mention my age is the whole idea of waiting so late in life to make these major changes is daunting. Add in children and all these other things and you get a very cautious man moving slowly and deliberately.
I've spent a lot of time playing out scenarios in my head. No failure scenarios, but lots of contingency plans. What if I can't afford a canning line? Can I grow the business by packaging only in kegs for the first year? Would it be more profitable to open a tap room before spending money on a canning line? What about a retail store? Does Chicago need another xyz beer? What about those damn hops I want so badly?
Well, I'm at the point now where I feel I'm ready to deal with just about any contingency. The only really big hurdle that I will be facing soon is getting bank financing. The result of that will play a big part in all of these other decisions.
So that's my litany on why I'm moving at the pace I am. Some might think it slow, some might not care one way or another. Just realize that this is my journey and I have to do it the only way I know how. Patience is not something I'm known for, so this enterprise is a real test for me.
Enough of that touchy feely Oprah crap! On to brass tacks.
I had a really productive meeting with my attorney a week ago yesterday. He's been amazingly helpful in guiding me through the maze of LLC's and member investment. We're getting very close to the first draft of the Operating Agreement. From there we'll move onto the other documents discussed in my previous post.
Despite my glacial pace, things are really moving along now. I've received rousing reviews of my business plan. People are complimenting me on how detailed and well thought out it is, which makes me feel like I'm on the right track.
I now have several commercial real estate agent referrals and I'll be talking to them this week to try to find one who's a good fit. It looks like the search could take several months so I better get my ass in gear to make sure I have a few choices once I'm funded.
Stay tuned, we're getting into the good stuff now.