Saturday, September 28, 2013

Farmer's Market Analysis

I am a sucker for the rural experience. In fact, twenty years of being locked in an urban reality has put me into a spot where I CRAVE weekend reprieve. That's why K and I decided to jump in the truck this morning and head into Cobourg for the Saturday morning farmers market. I hadn't been there yet and I really wanted to head in, get some farm fresh produce and connect with the agricultural community in my new 'hood.

The mission was a success. I got my dose of lakeside air and rural community, along with a week's worth of spectacular veg. Of course, I'm not afraid to take any opportunity to spread the word regarding the brewery opening in town. If early indicators are to be believed, we are truly on to something.

Stay tuned this week, as it's going to be a busy one. I'm hoping to submit both CRA and AGCO application packages this week which should keep me busy.

Enjoy your weekend!

Monday, September 23, 2013

Finalizing the Location...

I great a great chat this morning with the agent representing the property owner of our proposed location. It looks like we are going to be able to come to an agreement which will have the buildout starting soon.

There are a few really key things that I've had to sort out over the past several weeks. Firstly, it was all about the planning department and establishing whether there were any zoning restrictions. A big shout out to Rob at the City of Cobourg Planning Department. Your enthusiasm and support are appreciated.

Next, it was all about establishing what brewing setup would be appropriate to the location. Meetings with local electricians and plumbers, Check. Details in a future post.

Finally, we're down to the brass tacks of the deal. It looks as though we're all on the same page...

I will keep you posted.

Friday, September 20, 2013

Polishing the Business Plan

I have written a few business plans in my time. Unfortunately, they have all been for fitness clubs, they have all been for other companies and they have all been successful in generating revenue for those other people. The whole process is a little harder when the Business Plan is for your own project.

I started working on the document when I first found the space on William Street. Although it's just one document, it is amazing how complex the process is. From sourcing all equipment and ingredients, to meeting with designers, contractors and trades, to meeting with bankers and plan...floor plans....operational and management structures. Putting all of this together is tough.

And you need to be honest with yourself. Is this thing really financially viable?

In this case, I am glad to say that it appears to be a resounding "YES". The market in Cobourg is fertile. The economy, especially in the beer business, is stable and support has never been greater.

What next? Well, I am going to spend the weekend proofing, formatting and praying. Then, I will be delivering copies of my opus to the bank, potential investors, the CRA and AGCO.

No doubt, this thing is getting real!

Thursday, September 19, 2013

The Announcement is Coming...

The decision to open my own nano brewery was one that was made in the spring of this year. 2013 started as another tumultuous one from a professional standpoint, and I was pretty sure that the year would not come to an end without me making some bold decisions about my future directions. As I have always said, I am one of the worst employee's I have ever come across. The Entrepreneurial Spasm has been convulsing inside of me for the past couple of years and it looks like the time has come to jump in with both feet.

But a microbrewery? I know, it seems a little bit of an odd decision, but you have to follow where your passions lead and I have never been more comfortable doing anything in my life. So...a brewery it is.

The first question of course, was where. I explored a couple of locations close to home, but the idea of investing in my future within the city of Toronto seems a bit like asking a wolf to mind my henhouse. So where? Back to Norfolk County? Unlikely. Prince Edward County? Perhaps, but it's a bit far from family and friends and certainly not commutable.

And then, one day, while I was on my ongoing mission to sell fitness equipment to the masses, I found myself in Cobourg. I spent a lot of time in this town as a kid, as my Grandmother lived there. I drove by her old house and thankfully, there was a crew working at renovating it and I was able to re-aquaint myself with it both inside and out. It really was like coming home again, which is a feeling that I seem to really relish these days.

Anyhow, there was another building that really caught my I on that trip and lead me to believe that there was no question that Cobourg was not only to be the home of my brewery, but also the home for my family moving forward. It truly is nice to be home.

Now, we have quite a ways to go here. I really just finished up my business plan this week (it looks very favourable), and I need to finalize some financing details, but I really want to keep a recored of this process because I really think that this is going to change my world in a way that I can't even yet fathom.