Beer School: Bottling Success at the Brooklyn Brewery

Beer School: Bottling Success at the Brooklyn Brewery

Steve Hindy

Language: English

Pages: 306

ISBN: 0470068671

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

What do you get when you cross a journalist and a banker? A brewery, of course.

"A great city should have great beer. New York finally has, thanks to Brooklyn. Steve Hindy and Tom Potter provided it. Beer School explains how they did it: their mistakes as well as their triumphs. Steve writes with a journalist's skepticism-as though he has forgotten that he is reporting on himself. Tom is even less forgiving-he's a banker, after all. The inside story reads at times like a cautionary tale, but it is an account of a great and welcome achievement."
—Michael Jackson, The Beer Hunter(r)

"An accessible and insightful case study with terrific insight for aspiring entrepreneurs. And if that's not enough, it is all about beer!"
—Professor Murray Low, Executive Director, Lang Center for Entrepreneurship, Columbia Business School

"Great lessons on what every first-time entrepreneur will experience. Being down the block from the Brooklyn Brewery, I had firsthand witness to their positive impact on our community. I give Steve and Tom's book an A++!"
—Norm Brodsky, Senior Contributing Editor, Inc. magazine

"Beer School is a useful and entertaining book. In essence, this is the story of starting a beer business from scratch in New York City. The product is one readers can relate to, and the market is as tough as they get. What a fun challenge! The book can help not only those entrepreneurs who are starting a business but also those trying to grow one once it is established. Steve and Tom write with enthusiasm and insight about building their business. It is clear that they learned a lot along the way. Readers can learn from these lessons too."
—Michael Preston, Adjunct Professor, Lang Center for Entrepreneurship, Columbia Business School, and coauthor, The Road to Success: How to Manage Growth

"Although we (thankfully!) never had to deal with the Mob, being held up at gunpoint, or having our beer and equipment ripped off, we definitely identified with the challenges faced in those early days of cobbling a brewery together. The revealing story Steve and Tom tell about two partners entering a business out of passion, in an industry they knew little about, being seriously undercapitalized, with an overly naive business plan, and their ultimate success, is an inspiring tale."
—Ken Grossman, founder, Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.

















did not want to be involved. “No way,” she said, shaking her head vigorously. “I don’t want to work with you guys. I see enough of you as it is.” Ellen, however, said she might want to work for the company. I was shocked. We had never discussed the possibility of her working in the business. At the time, she was doing freelance book editing at home so she could be with Sam and our infant daughter, Lily. Ellen had worked in publishing during her years in New York, Beirut, and Cairo, but she was

his mother’s impressive Fifth Avenue apartment in Manhattan. I took my offering documents along and offered them to John as I was leaving the party. He took a quick look at the plan and said, “I don’t have the kind of money it takes to do this. But why don’t you talk to your friend David Ottaway?” I did, and David, to my surprise, invested $10,000. The investment of Charlie Hamm of the Independence Community Bank (which Tom explained earlier) was a huge, maybe decisive, boost. Charlie, a

Midway also schooled us in the fine art of dragging out payment. Our first check didn’t bounce, but was drawn on an obscure Pennsylvania bank that took two weeks to clear it. Then we’d get checks that weren’t signed. Instead of simply replacing them, Midway would insist on our returning them to be signed, which would usually eat up another several days. Then they began issuing postdated checks. Our sales declined. Afraid of Midway owing us so much money, we decided to leave and distribute

robbers and even including a few temporarily enraged customers, he’s always proved himself a pretty cool cat. I’ve sometimes wondered whether his training as a war correspondent made him that way, or if he was attracted to that dangerous job in the first place because it was his nature to be able to deal with the circumstances. For the first 10 years or so, Steve and I never took vacations at the same time and were rarely both gone from the brewery for more than a day or two. One of us was always

good story for the press is a bad story for a big company. When a big company is doing well—when its quarterly earnings are rising, when its stock price is rising, and its sales are increasing—the CEO is a genius, but when it falters, the CEO is a dope and probably is being paid too much. But the stories about small companies almost always tend to be positive and in many cases almost celebratory. No one worries about whether the business is hitting its quarterly goals. It is rare that a reporter

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