Following My Dream: Part II

Approximately 8 months ago, I was given the opportunity to help found a new craft brewery.  And about 6 months ago, I wrote this post about how excited I was to be following my dreams – making it official that we were opening Fortnight Brewing Company.  A lot of things can change in that amount of time, and I wanted to write a post to all of the other homebrewers out there that are aspiring to one day open a brewery, and be open and honest about my experience.

First things first – I am no longer affiliated with Fortnight Brewing.  As of this week, I have stepped away from the company, on my own accord, and will no longer be a part of opening this new brewery.

I know that is hard to believe, because many of you who know me or have met me understand how passionate I am about brewing and how excited I was to be building a new brand for a new brewery here in NC.  We had done our research, and I was convinced that Fortnight would be a success because I believed in our message, I believed in our product, and I believed that we were going to uniquely be able to fill a niche in the marketplace which would lead to a long-term success.  And I still believe these things about Fortnight, and I wish them the best of luck, as the brewery plans to continue working towards opening day.

But there was one thing that I overlooked.  And it’s one thing that your common sense should tell you, and it’s something that should be at the base of all big life decisions.  Not only did I need to believe in the brand and the product, etc., but I needed to believe in the team of people beside me.  And don’t take that the wrong way, I still believe that Fortnight has a team that will succeed.  The issues we ran into were because we did not take the time to get to know each other before opening a business together.

When you are starting a business, make sure that you know, understand and trust your fellow business partners.  In the case of Fortnight, I went into business with people that I had just met, and our first interactions with each other was planning a very expensive and time-consuming business.  We rushed into it because it was something that all of us wanted, and we all believed in the skill sets that each other had.  But we didn’t know each other, and we had not built trust in each other.  Had we taken the time to get to know and trust each other before starting a business, I would like to think that things would have played out differently.  But I was short-sited and distracted by the bright lights of being the next awesome craft brewery.

I do want to point out that I hold nothing against the remaining partners at Fortnight Brewing.  They are not bad people, and I hope to see them succeed.  I just wanted to take a moment to be open and honest about the situation, letting everyone know that I have decided to step aside because of differing views on how the brewery should market itself.

I think that starting a brewery (or any business for that matter) is always going to be a grueling and stressful process, and everyone will have to make sacrifices.  But if you’re thinking about doing this, make sure it is with a supportive team of people you trust around you – you will need it.

On a brighter note, I am very much looking forward to the success of the many other new craft breweries opening up soon in North Carolina as well, most of which have been started by homebrewers.  Here is a list of breweries in planning in NC, that I am looking forward to opening in the near future:

Haw River Farmhouse Ales (Saxapahaw)
Steel String Craft Brewery (Carrboro)
Four Saints Brewing Co. (Asheboro)
Deep River Brewing Co. (Clayton)
Sub Noir Brewing Co. (Raleigh)
White Street Brewing Co. (Wake Forest)
Wicked Weed Brewing Co. (Asheville)
Triple C Brewing Co. (Charlotte)
Pig Pounder Brewery (Greensboro)
The Altamont Brewing Co. (Asheville)
Tipping Point Tavern (Waynesville)
Starpoint Brewing (Carrboro)
Heist Brewery (Charlotte)

Also – since I will not be spending all of my time working on Fortnight, I will finally be able to dedicate some more time back to the NC Homebrewing blog!  Hopefully we’ll be getting some more info up soon about all of the upcoming competitions as well as some more great DIY projects!

1 Comment

Eric Knight

Thanks for writing this post. I have had similar thoughts and agree it is very important to build a trusting and supportive relationship with your partners, more important than the styles of beer you brew. As a home brewer who will soon be making the step up to the professional level your advice and experience is invaluable. One of the best parts for me joining this budding industry is the amount of common experience that is shared openly between brewers of all sizes. There is a bond between brewers that is fueled by our collective curiosity and appreciation for the craft. When people put their heart, souls and savings into a business its unfortunately all too easy for friendships to fall apart. I’m not naive enough to believe brewers are immune such predicaments, but the mutual respect I have been shown by fellow brewers and their willingness to help me Improve my craft has reassured me this where I belong. Thanks again

Eric Knight

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