And then there were three.
As most great relationships seem to do these days, our relationship with Kyle got its start on the internet.
Bill's and my homebrewing was decent, but was never going to be the foundation of a brewery. On our most adventurous days, we brewed with a hybrid of malt and extract, but we had neither the equipment nor the expertise to begin developing creative, replicable recipes. It was abundantly clear that we needed a partner.
For several months, we put out feelers through our friends and family, looking for someone who could round out our team. But it turns out that our extended network didn’t actually know that many brewers. We did meet a handful of wonderful people, from talented home brewers, to people already working in commercial breweries. But nobody was quite the right fit. It’s hard to ask somebody you don’t know to jump off a cliff with you, especially when you aren’t sure when exactly you’re going to be taking that jump and whether you’ll land on your feet. Our new partner had to consider a lot of factors before deciding to take this risk with us, and vice versa. Eventually, we turned to ProBrewer, which is like a Craigslist for the brewing industry, and a really useful tool. Bill and I wrote a short description of the type of brewery we are trying to build and the type of partner we were looking for, and nervously sent it out into the worldwide web.
The response was overwhelming, and is such a testament to the collaborative spirit of the craft brewing industry. We heard from people who were interested in the job, and we heard from even more people who — inspired by our social mission — reached out just to offer advice and support.
And that’s how we met Kyle. He had been backpacking off the grid (in typical Kyle fashion) when we posted, so was one of the last replies we got. It only took a few meetings for all of us to realize that this would be a good partnership. Kyle laughs a lot and is super smart. His experience brewing beer is staggering. And we all trusted each other almost immediately, which is kind of crazy when you think about it.
After brewing together through all sorts of weather on our pilot system in Kyle’s driveway, grappling with the process of finding a location and getting bank loans, and diving deep into discussions about company culture and HR policies, I feel luckier than ever that I get to jump off a cliff with this team. Here’s hoping we land on our feet!