Synopses & Reviews
"We faced many scary moments over the years, both spiritual staring at the brink of bankruptcy and physical staring down the barrel of a 9mm pistol. When you start a business, it is not only your money and your investors' money that is on the line, it is your dream, your idea, and sometimes your life."
Steve Hindy and Tom Potter
Is this a book for beer aficionados or business enthusiasts? Both, and it's as refreshing as a cold brew. In Beer School, authors and entrepreneurs Steve Hindy and Tom Potter share the improbable saga of Brooklyn Brewery, the company they grew from a home-brew hobby into a multimillion-dollar business all in the most competitive beer market in the United States. If you have a thirst for entrepreneurial success, drink up. If you are a business manager or owner and want fresh ideas and insight, tap in. You'll learn entrepreneurial basics, plus some things textbooks don't teach you, as you follow the company's successes (and a few failures) and find out about:
- Creating that all-important first business plan
- Getting financing and/or recruiting investors
- Using guerilla marketing, publicity, and community involvement to attract attention
- Keeping employees educated and motivated
- Partnering on events and networking for opportunities
- Keeping your cool when the Mafia comes calling
- Hiring "virgins" why veteran salespeople can have problems in start-ups
- Managing people, finances, expectations, and growth
- Surviving a vociferous attack in Las Vegas when the odds against you are 8-to-1
From the beginning, the odds were against Steve and Tom. It's estimated that eight out of ten businesses fail in their first year. Yet these entrepreneurs succeeded in a competitive arena dominated by mega-corporations and mega-money. The brew they began making in a Brooklyn brownstone over twenty years ago is now sold around the world. Their story, recounting the fears and obstacles they faced and the decisions and successes they shared, will inspire you. Like discovering the perfect brew or starting a business, reading this book is a heady experience. Cheers!
"A great city should have great beer. New York finally has, thanks to Brooklyn. Steve Hindy and Tom Potter provided it. Beer School explains how they did it: their mistakes as well as their triumphs. Steve writes with a journalist's skepticism — as though he has forgotten that he is reporting on himself. Tom is even less forgiving — he's a banker, after all. The inside story reads at times like a cautionary tale, but it is an account of a great and welcome achievement." Michael Jackson, The Beer Hunter
"An accessible and insightful case study with terrific insight for aspiring entrepreneurs. And if that's not enough, it is all about beer!"Professor Murray Low, Executive Director, Lang Center for Entrepreneurship, Columbia Business School
"Great lessons on what every first-time entrepreneur will experience. Being down the block from the Brooklyn Brewery, I had firsthand witness to their positive impact on our community. I give Steve and Tom's book an A++!" Norm Brodsky, Senior Contributing Editor, Inc. magazine
"Beer School is a useful and entertaining book. In essence, this is the story of starting a beer business from scratch in New York City. The product is one readers can relate to, and the market is as tough as they get. What a fun challenge! The book can help not only those entrepreneurs who are starting a business but also those trying to grow one once it is established. Steve and Tom write with enthusiasm and insight about building their business. It is clear that they learned a lot along the way. Readers can learn from these lessons too." Michael Preston, Adjunct Professor, Lang Center for Entrepreneurship, Columbia Business School, and coauthor, The Road to Success: How to Manage Growth
"Although we (thankfully!) never had to deal with the Mob, being held up at gunpoint, or having our beer and equipment ripped off, we definitely identified with the challenges faced in those early days of cobbling a brewery together. The revealing story Steve and Tom tell about two partners entering a business out of passion, in an industry they knew little about, being seriously undercapitalized, with an overly naive business plan, and their ultimate success, is an inspiring tale." Ken Grossman, founder, Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
About the Author
STEVE HINDY is President and cofounder of the Brooklyn Brewery. A former Middle East correspondent for the Associated Press, he is also a director of Brooklyn's Prospect Park Alliance and the Brewers Association. Hindy has a master's in teaching English from Cornell.
TOM POTTER cofounded the Brooklyn Brewery in 1987. He served as its CEO and chairman until retirement in 2004. Previously, he was an assistant vice president at Chemical Bank, where he financed the acquisition of assets valued in excess of $1.5 billion. Potter graduated from Yale and has an MBA from Columbia.
Table of Contents
Preface Steve and Tom Introduce the Brooklyn Brewery.
Chapter 1. Steve Tells How Choosing a Partner Is Like a Second Marriage.
Lesson One: Even a Dog Can Shake Hands.
Chapter 2. Steve Discusses the Importance of Building a Solid Team.
Lesson Two: Is It a Business or a Family Business?
Chapter 3. Tom Talks about Creating the Business Plan: A Money-Raising Tool and More.
Lesson Three: The Business Plan Won’t Be Graded on a Curve.
Chapter 4. Tom Asks, “What’s the True Mission of the Business?”
Lesson Four: Being Flexible If the Mission Statement Becomes “Mission Impossible”.
Chapter 5. Steve Discusses the Keys to Successfully Motivating Employees.
Lesson Five: Feeling Good Is No Substitute for Prudent Controls.
Chapter 6. Tom Tells the Story of Their Dot-Com Revolution: Fishing for Finance and Failing.
Lesson Six: Chasing Money Is Not a Business Strategy.
Chapter 7. Steve Talks about Building a Brewery in Brooklyn.
Lesson Seven: Sometimes You Stand Alone.
Chapter 8. Steve Discusses Publicity: The Press Wants You!
Lesson Eight: A News Release Can Go a Long Way.
Chapter 9. Steve Reveals How the Revolution Kills Its Leaders First.
Lesson Nine: Hiring and Firing.
Chapter 10. Tom Talks about Cashing Out and Reinventing the Business, Again.
Lesson Ten: Only You Will Know When It’s Time to Sell.
Chapter 11. Tom Wants to Know If You Have What It Takes.
Lesson Eleven: There Are No Entrance Exams for Entrepreneurs.