I have absolutely no idea if small business owners, when in the development/planning stages of their business, ever take a time-out to remind themselves exactly why they're entering the crazy world of entrepreneurship. With things constantly heating up for GrassLands, I feel like there's no better time than now to take a look back and ask myself: "Why am I doing this?"
Typically, future business owners are so busy in preparation that they've got very little time for a mid-way assessment. Entrepreneurs can point to their mission statement and vision all they want, but in my opinion, it's very important to go back and identify what exactly you want to accomplish with the launching of your own personal business.
To make things very easy, here's what we want with the launching of GrassLands:
- To bring the residents and visitors of Tallahassee and its surrounding markets - and eventually the entire state of Florida - an extremely high-quality, innovative, creative & consistent array of beers produced with natural ingredients - organic and local as possible;
- To provide a welcoming and eclectic community/environment on the brewery premises and within the tap-room; and, as a result, stay as connected as possible to the GrassLands family of patrons, supporters & friends;
- To use GrassLands to represent and serve the craft brewing industry - specifically in the state of Florida - through advocacy, collaboration, influencing policy, creating and engaging in healthy discourse, hosting events, etc., etc., etc.;
- To use GrassLands as a vehicle for making a positive impact on environmental and animal habitat conservation efforts relating to the state of Florida and coastal regions - accomplished through annual events, specific beer releases (i.e. Red Panda Rye); and...most importantly
- To never forget, always abide by, and fulfill our mission (which can be found here).
Wow...just writing those things down gives me goosebumps. If those above bullet points aren't followed to the letter, I will never feel satisfied with GrassLands - they're that important to this future business. Now, will I be able to devote as much time to each objective as I'd like? Perhaps not - perhaps some will come more easily than others. But that doesn't mean we won't give our absolute full effort to ensure each objective is carried out as completely as possible.
Hopefully, what I've written will convey that the idea of GrassLands and its eventual existence isn't just us following a trend...isn't just us brewing beer on a bigger system because we had so much fun brewing on a
tiny smaller system...isn't just us thinking that we want to line our pockets. GrassLands, when it's all said & done, should mean something. My sincere hope is that if the above objectives are successfully carried out, GrassLands can transcend the world of craft beer; making a positive impact on multiple groups...including those that cannot help themselves. I fully believe we can do just that. :)
Okay, enough pitching. Hopefully, if you're still reading this, you're saying to yourself: "Yeah, obviously, Gabe. Now get on with it and brew some dang beer!" Fine! I will! Sheesh, you're a pushy bunch!
When planning GrassLands' 2013 production calendar, I couldn't help but think about the importance of implementing a successful brewing pipeline...which is what it sounds like - a process where you've got several phases of the brewing world going on at once: from brewing to fermentation, to dry-hopping, to aging, to conditioning, to bottling/kegging (& cleaning :() and doing it all over again and again and again and again...
GrassLands has seven fermenters representing 41 gallons of space, give or take (four 6-gallon carboys, two 5-gallon carboys, and one 7-gallon bucket) with seven 1/6 bbl kegs and many, many bottles. Right now, we're just about maxed out via five different batches of beer. However, that's not a problem. When you've been brewing for a while, you at least should be able to predict how long most previously brewed recipes need to take during primary or secondary fermentation - forget about it when you're souring :). When you're able to effectively predict these things and plan out brew days accordingly, you've created a brewing pipeline. The pipeline is extremely helpful when you're working on recipe perfection and replication, as I've been over the past year or so. As a result, LeeRoy the Red Imperial Amber is just about ready to go...same thing goes with our Rye Saison and expected by 2014 with our Caramel/Rye Pale Ale.
Long story short, you can't perfect recipes with an imperfect pipeline. What's helpful about planning such a pipeline is that it's somewhat preparing us for how things may operate on the brewery floor, once GrassLands gets off and running.
...which leads me to this final, exciting update: the process of transitioning from the idea of GrassLands to an actual reality is rapidly developing. I never want to put the cart before the horse, so to speak, but there's enough going on to really get pumped up about what the next 6 months to a year will mean to GrassLands. :)
With that, my dear readers, we'll let you get on to your (holiday) weekend. Have a great Monday in honor of Dr. King!