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SUBMITTED BY Sam Holloway ON Sun, 07/27/2014 - 19:11

Sam Holloway, Ph.D. - Crafting A Strategy

One of the most rewarding things I get to do is tour a brewing facility of a Crafting A Strategy member. First, these members often become friends and walking with them through the ups and downs of planning a brewery, forming their entity, finding the money, and keeping one’s sanity (most of the time) is an extremely emotional, frustrating and rewarding journey. I was fortunate enough to get a tour of CAS member and longtime friend, Tom Schmidlin’s new facilty a couple of weeks ago. Postdoc Brewing has taken a major step forward and I was inspired by the humble pride Tom exhibited as he showed us around.

It also means there is more work to do! While Tom is focused on permits, construction, logo, brand design, fund raising, keg acquisition, and all the many other things that go into opening a brewery, by visiting Tom and taking him out to lunch, I am reminded of the intense pressure and responsibility that brewery owners assume to make their dreams come true. As Tom and I sat over lunch, our co-founder and VP of Marketing and Operations, Joe Belcher joined us along with our newest team member, Caleb Hilger. Caleb is interning with us as he pursues a degree in Entrepreneurship and Innovation Management from the University of Portland. Caleb is also a home brewer, so he definitely fits the mold of CAS and its customers.

As we talked with Tom, something became very clear to Joe, Caleb, and me. We need to have more conversations like this with our members in their place of business. These meetings are certainly about celebrating our members’ accomplishments, but they give us a chance to offer direct advice to a member and provide this advice in real-time. Inspired by this meeting with Tom, I would like to announce a weekly newsletter and podcast that will be coming to our members shortly. Additionally, we will be visiting three West Coast (USA) cities this fall to meet with CAS members and their craft beer friends to answer questions and give advice on a myriad of topics. Stay tuned! We want to capture these conversations and share them with others, so that anyone opening a brewery or restaurant can share in the excitement, frustration, sorrow and joy that come with starting up a brewery or restaurant. The emotion that comes from face to face interactions is important to share, as important as the wisdom we provide. Direct conversations are also a way for Joe, Mark, Caleb and me to find out new content that the website should feature, and that is important as the rules change from state to state and year to year.

I can’t wait to see this space populated with shiny new fermenters!

Future home of Post Doc’s Tasting Room

Below is an example of the value of face time with our members, pulled from our conversation with Tom:

Tom has a great location near Microsoft’s campus in Redmond, Washington that is also across the street from a large Whole Foods store. I asked Tom if he had thought about packaging his beer and sending cans or bottles over to Whole Foods. He said the thought had crossed his mind, but he had a lot of other things to accomplish first. We laughed, offered cheers, and clinked glasses. But I continued, talking about an innovative program Whole Foods developed to support local entrepreneurs like Tom: the Local Forager Program. Every Whole Foods store has the authority to stock about 8% of their items from local suppliers, even if that supplier cannot make enough product to supply another store. If sales go well, Whole Foods will offer that entrepreneur a microloan to allow them to scale production and serve multiple stores. It is a wonderful program that I only just heard about when Whole Foods’ CEO, Walter Robb III visited my classroom to speak to University of Portland Students last spring. Mr. Robb brought with him the local forager for the Pacific NW, Denise Breyley. Denise spoke so passionately about her personal commitment to help entrepreneurs whose values and beliefs align with hers and with Whole Foods’, that I wanted to share this program with Tom and with the craft beer world. Thanks to Denise and to Whole Foods for putting local first!!

Thanks, Tom for bringing Joe, Caleb, and I into your new brewery location. Thanks for inspiring us by following your dreams. I cannot wait to celebrate your opening and drink Postdoc Brewing’s beers in your tasting room and at your first Whole Foods tasting. Cheers!