“the perfect world for me would be to come to work every day, make interesting beers, work on interesting projects… and pay my people more every year so they’re happy too”
Scott was the first person I spoke with when I launched By The Bootstraps a little over a year ago. We’d connected through mutual friends, and he agreed to sit down with me for a one-on-one interview. A year later, my agency recruited Scott to be a part of the Drinking Buddies program we put together for Jameson Irish Whiskey.
I was happy to see that Scott’s convictions haven’t changed since the first time we spoke. Amongst other things, I followed up on his issue with the lack of truth in labeling (“big beer” disguising itself as craft beer), and our more recent discussion included commentary on AB InBev’s purchase of 12+ small breweries last year, in what he deemed as the "year of the sellout."
He points out that selling out doesn't necessarily compromise the quality of the beer on a day-to-day level, but that authenticity can come into question. Scott believes that to maintain authenticity, a brewery needs to stay true to the initial vision and values the brand was launched with and suggests that’s hard to do when your company’s main goal changes from small business success to multi-national profits.
Scott's interview was especially compelling because compared to some of my newer “bootstrap" subjects I was able to see the larger arc of his journey as an entrepreneur. He’s learned a lot in ten years; for example, when he was starting out his main priority was getting into certain on, or off-premise accounts, but as the brewery has grown, and legislation has changed, he’s been pleasantly surprised to find that half of their revenue now comes from their taproom. He’s adapted on the fly, and captured more revenue and profits because of it, reinforcing for me how nimble entrepreneurs need to be because the market is constantly offering new challenges and opportunities.
Scott plans to remain independent, and for the foreseeable future, his big hope is to continue coming to work every day to make great beer. He imagines that one day one of his children might take over the brewery and that, as an old man, he will sit back in his rocker ‘just tasting beer’. Sounds authentic to me.
Watch the video below and read his full interview from a year ago here where he discusses more of his humble beginnings and the truth in labeling problem with “big beer” here: http://bythebootstraps.nyc/interviews/2016/captain-lawrence-brewing
Visit Captain Lawrence Brewing’s taproom and learn more about their products at https://www.captainlawrencebrewing.com/
By The Bootstraps is my way of highlighting the stories of intrepid entrepreneurs as they bootstrap their way to success. Every week I’ll release a video (and sometimes audio version) of these conversations. If you’d like to read more about the project or submit your own entrepreneur story for consideration, visit here.