I will open with an apology to anyone who may have anticipated this journal to be updated on a more frequent basis. I know it was my intent when I started it but that leads us right into today’s post.
As many know at this point already, if you have been following our other media outlets, we have received our final license from the State of New Jersey and are now legal and can brew and hopefully we should be opening our doors soon. We also recently came to the end of a very successful Kickstarter campaign (thank you to everyone who supported us!)
It has been an insane few months and I don’t see it slowing down anytime soon. We thought we would be ready to brew the day they handed us our license but that was not the case. Just like we thought we would start digging trench drains the day we signed the lease on our building, again, not the case. There are so many other variables at play around us every day. Every day is honestly a balancing act, usually time and money are the most extreme things on the scale.
We are all still serving in the military and still have those obligations to answer to, that unfortunately frequently eats into the precious hours we need to be pouring into the brewery. We also have young children that are also deserving of any time that we can give them. The days always seem to blur together now. On Monday mornings when I start the week at the day job someone will always ask “what did you do this weekend?” I usually find myself blank minded and unable to recall what exactly I did. I usually just simply answer “brewery stuff.” I’m pretty sure that to most people that means we stood around and drank beer all weekend. In fairness, that’s only partially true… Somehow we are making it work, I am now a firm believer that the idea of there being only 24hrs in a day is a myth. And we haven’t even started brewing yet…
Money is a beast that never smiles. Money and time appear to be friends. The kind that are always conspiring against you. One of the biggest tricks to the start of this business so far is to get the doors open and start serving beer before we run out of money. Anyone who has ever started a business like this will tell you the same. We could definitely have made our dollars stretch further if we would have bought different equipment. But we made a decision early on that we would never skimp on quality when it came to anything that touches our beer. This is why you will see a pretty pricy keg washer sitting in the brewery area but our tap room is filled with stacked pallet wood tables and couches we found on the side of the road…. We could have been brewing a week ago but we didn’t have the money to buy a few of the hoses and other small parts (that cost a lot of money!) that we needed. We were able to free up some space on one of our maxed out credit cards to buy what we needed. I’ve convinced myself that this is normal for the stage of business we are in. If you know otherwise please just let me keep living in my fantasy. We should be brewing next week…
In addition to the time and money balance there is also the factor of our inexperience. We are not people with 20 years of brewing industry history. We are a couple of military professionals who had a dream and decided to take the steps to start living it. We are now trying navigate the mile high stack of taxes and regulations associated with a business in the alcohol industry. We are also trying to learn how to set up bulk malt orders, and hop contracts without sounding like morons. We also have to learn how to be t-shirt and glassware design experts and retailers….
And yet we continue to move forward. Here at the brewery we frequently ask each other if we still think its worth it. No one ever hesitates to say “Yes.” Every time I receive an email from someone who tells me we are an inspiration, or that they are happy to have a brewery in their town it makes it worth it. When my three year old daughter tells me she wants to make beer like mommy and daddy, its worth it.
Early this morning I walked into the brewery to get some paperwork done. Before I sat down I walked around and looked at everything we have done. The beautiful bar that Chris built. The walk in cooler our friends help us unload and build. The kegs that almost tumbled off the back of the truck that are now sitting ready in the cooler. The shiny taps in place ready to pour for the people I see walking around outside. Its definitely worth it.