If you've been following along for a while, you definitely know that I often repeat the fact that I had zero entrepreneurial spirit until I started brewing beer. Well, it's one thing to have the spirit flare up inside you and its quite another to actually DO something with it. After a little over a year of slowly pushing GrassLands out there, I still felt like I didn't really know what I was doing - just that I needed to do it.
As I've mentioned before, I want to be as methodical as possible in GrassLands launch and ultimate operation. I've never been a business owner before and I've really only taken ad-hoc business classes - nothing substantial. However, I'm certainly not naive enough to think I can make this a successful venture on my first try doing it all by myself. I'm lucky in that there are so many local resources out there for folks just like me - people with an idea and a ton of passion and perhaps a limited working knowledge of how to transition that into a real business.
So what did I do? I started talking with people. I started talking with other brewers/brewery owners on their start and eventual operations. I started talking with entrepreneurs. I started talking with startup consultants. Additionally, I started chipping away at a business plan - conducting market analyses, comparing my business plan to others, etc. Put simply, I became a researcher again.
It's one thing to sort of "feel your way" through the small business/entrepreneurial waters, but when you get told by a serial entrepreneur, someone who owns 10+ businesses himself, that you're going about it 100% correctly, that's definitely validating. Perhaps it's my background in research and/or grant writing that's making this process so effective for me and ultimately for GrassLands. Maybe it's my attention to detail. Who knows? All I know is that I can only do one thing at a time and I'll lose my mind if I don't do that one thing as good as possible.
All this is why I'm still so very excited about GrassLands potential. Your enthusiasm and encouragement are a large part of that as well. As things start to get a little more serious on the financial end of this venture, I still remember your support, my dear readers - because in the end, it'll be because of you and people like you that GrassLands Brewing Company will achieve its full potential. Not to mention, it looks like the financial support end of this business will be much healthier than I originally anticipated - which puts a smile on my face.
That being said, GrassHopper George H.'s photo below now seems so much more like a possibility!
Now enough of the sappy crap, eh? The much anticipated Commander Saaz Planetary Blastoff homebrew competition came and went - no medals for my two entries this time around, but both (Red Panda Rye & King Oliver's Hard Cider) made it to the medal rounds! Much like the rye saison's journey to gold, these two have also been consistently scoring in the upper 30s/low 40s, just not medaling. What that means to me is that I'm continuing to do something right, right? :) Right! Next competition will be Florida's Best Beer Championships where Le Roi Rouge Imperial Red batches 2 & 3 and the rye saison will be submitted - then I'll begin to really work on fine tuning a couple of the other flagship recipes as well as start to enter them into national competitions!
Other major things going on - labels and label designs. My chief designer is working with a couple regional illustrators to piece together the designs for my flagships' labels. In this developmental phase, some of the names may change, some may stay the same - but ultimately, it'll be the beer that shows its colors - their individual designs/illustrations will just emphasize them! Lucky for me, these guys are willing to work for beer! I wonder if I can swing that with a certified fork lifter :)
Finally, this Sunday will mark the brewing of the annual Ethereal Earth Belgian Dark Strong! Shortly, I'll send out an email to my local GrassHoppers inviting them to partake in its brewing, much like we've done for the past two years. Should be a blast! Too bad EEBDS won't be ready until this time next year as all 11 gallons will be soured! (FYI, souring takes some time). I SERIOUSLY CAN'T WAIT!
Alrighty, that'll do for this week. Enjoy your weekend, dear readers, because you deserve it.