We are participating in the LinkedIn #ProFinderContest with this blog post. Want to submit your own, small business story? Go here for all the details!
It’s tough to be a small business today. The American Dream can quickly become a nightmare with all the bureaucratic hoops to jump through, the red tape, and the insurmountable competition that exists.
But Kaiser Brewing didn’t start out as a business. At first it was just a homebrewing hobby. Then, as Jonathan Kaiser grew in his talent for making craft beer, so did his following. We shared his new batches at potlucks, family reunions, even at our church! Our kids got involved ,and, over the years, as we opened our garage door to make a new batch of home brew, other homebrewers, even passers-by would stop in to watch, lend a hand or just chat for hours about beer, life, even faith. Eventually, brewing beer became more about facilitating relationships.
It was with this community-building in mind, that we made the decision to pursue the requirements and licencing to open our own brewery in our hometown of Forest Grove, Oregon.
After much research, connecting with other nano brewers, and attending brewery conferences, we sold our first home, purchased an older home with a detached garage, and moved our family of five across town to begin the business. We invested nearly all of our equity into bigger brewing equipment, supplies, and remodeling materials to turn the detached garage and shop into a full-scale nano brewery, complete with a fermentation chamber, cooling room, and built-in tap lines.
Our final licensing went through this past August, and we officially opened for business, offering one-ounce tastings, grower fills, and keg sales out our garage, and full-pours at offsite events. We also sell Kb sweatshirts, and growlers, with plans to offer tees and trucker hats soon.
The support and business we have received from our community and the craft beer industry has been overwhelming. There is always a huge crowd at our tasting and pouring events, with positive feedback on our brews, and we continue to receive orders for growlers and kegs. We hope to continue this momentum by expanding our following on social media like Facebook, Twitter, and connect with other brewery professionals and organizations on LinkedIn. To help us with our marketing, copywriting, and accounting, we hope to use the freelance professionals at LinkedIn ProFinder keep our business on the up and up!
They say about 1/3 of small businesses fail in the first two years. 50% after five years, and a whopping 90% of start-ups do not make it to year ten! Do these numbers scare us? Nope. Because we never really started this business to be “in business.” We started it to facilitate relationships, build community, and make some pretty awesome craft beer. And no matter where Kaiser Brewing as a business is in two, five, or ten years, we know that we will still be doing those three very important things! Beer brings people together and that is what will continue to do.