Starting a Craft Beverage Business

This event has been rescheduled due to weather. It will now be held on Wednesday, March 20.

Panel Discussion, February 20, (New Date: Wednesday, March 20) Urban Forage Winery & Cider House

Tomorrow is the day! I’m really looking forward to this panel discussion about how to start a craft brewery business . More broadly, I just love hearing about how people go about pursuing their dreams. I’m always looking for that moment when something goes from being a fantasy to a first step (Note to self: find that Maria Bamford clip!)

Panel Discussion – Starting a Craft Beverage Business
Wednesday, February 20 at 6:30 p.m. Rescheduled: Wednesday, March 20
Urban Forage Winery & Cider House
3016 East Lake Street
Minneapolis, MN 55406

The subject of a future QuOTeD episode, I’ll be moderating a discussion about the ups and downs of an alcoholic beverage startup. Panelists will include Chris Montana of Du Nord Craft Spirits, Kyle Sisco of Venn Brewing Company and Jeff Zeitler of Urban Forage Winery & Cider House.

Last summer I interviewed Michael Gill at Lake Monster Brewing for the Minnesota FringeCast, which was a podcast series I did for the Minnesota Fringe Festival. We were talking about being a judge of what’s good, whether we’re talking about beer or musical theater. When I asked him why we were seeing so many breweries pop up, he didn’t hesitate: The Surly Bill.

By the time a bill gets a legislative committee hearing, the discussion is essentially over. The votes have been counted and the outcome is typically known. It would be more interesting to hear the debate before the various stakeholders have ironed out the details. Nonetheless, the beer-wine-spirits enthusiasts might enjoy this bit of history. It’s a recording from the Commerce and Regulatory Reform Committee of the Minnesota House of Representatives (April 13, 2011) where they are discussing the so-called Surly Bill.

(Source: Minnesota House of Representatives )

In my notes, I had a question about how the Surly Bill happened. Did it just happen because some guy wanted to sell beer directly from his brewery? Or was there a campaign behind it? From what I heard from listening to the Commerce Committee hearing (see recording above), it sounds like if you make good beer, your customers will flood the Capitol to support you.

The reflection in the window at Du Nord Craft Spirits is so pretty!

Speaking of lobbying, I’ll be curious to know how Chris Montana’s background in politics and law helped prepare him for opening a distillery. And here’s Jeff Zeitler back in 2014 pushing for a bill that would put his urban winery on par with other wineries:

(Source: Minnesota House of Representatives )

It would be one of many challenges on the way to officially opening a taproom:

Earlier this year, the Zietlers recruited the help of Representative Jim Davnie and Senator Patricia Torres Ray in order to pass new legislation to change that discrepancy. “But the farm wineries came out strong against it, and the bill died in committee,” stated Jeff. “I was kind of heart broken after that happened.”

Longfellow Nokomis Messenger

As I recall, there turned out to be a twist in all of this. I’ll have to ask Jeff about it tomorrow.

Of course it was super fun to sample the fares of our esteemed panelists. We also included Lawless Distillery on the tour since it was originally slated to be part of the panel and it was in the neighborhood. Fun times! In addition to some very fine products, we just loved the spaces that people were making. I’m surprised there isn’t an HGTV series about it… or maybe there is?

The on-site emphasis fits into the couple’s drive to make Venn a neighborhood pillar. They envision it as an uber-family-friendly space that has absolutely zero barriers to entry. That means you can walk in on a Monday night and not be ambushed by drunken karaoke.

City Pages (2017)

I’m curious about what makes one suited for opening a craft beverage business. There’s the thing you want to do, make beer or whatever. Then there are the zillion other things you have to do to do that thing. I thought it might be fun to keep track of the various hats that are mentioned during the discussion tomorrow night: marketer, bookkeeper, designer, tech support, manager and general DIYer who can do everything from refinish wood floors to installing signage. And of course there is the lobbying I already mentioned, so let’s add lawyer to the list.

Venn Brewing had an airy feel that was lovely. No drunken karaoke here!

I’m really looking forward to hearing about how one wakes up the owner of a craft beverage business. How do you stay in the game? And what’s the next challenge? Hopefully the weather will cooperate! (it did not!)

QuOTeD Social & Storytelling

It’s just a coincidence that the QuOTeD podcast will be at the Urban Forage Winery & Cider House two days after the panel discussion. We are hosting a storytelling event. It’s free and open to the public and for everyone. It’s going to be fun. Give it a whirl. Here’s more information.

When will the QuOTeD Podcast episode about this panel discussion be ready?

As I said, we’ll be making a podcast episode based on this panel discussion. The best way to learn about when that is ready is to subscribe to the podcast. You can also subscribe to the QuOTeD newsletter, which will be especially useful for those who aren’t super comfortable with navigating podcasts yet.

QuOTeD Social & Storytelling

You’re invited…

QuOTeD Social
Friday, February 22 at 7 p.m.
Urban Forage Winery & Cider House
3016 East Lake Street
Minneapolis, Minnesota 55406

It just takes one good question to spark an evening of stories and we want to include yours in a future episode of the podcast. Whether you’re moved to answer the question (revealed to those who show up) or would rather just soak up a good time, please come! Our guests have really enjoyed these gatherings in the past and it is our pleasure to host another one. For the latest information about this event including any special instructions (nothing too onerous, we promise), either let us know that you’re interested in coming or check back here for updates. You can also follow and share the event on Facebook. That said, RSVPs aren’t needed. Just show up! We’d love to see you!

Special Assignment

Part 1

1-23-2019 – For past QuOTeD Socials we would suggest a pre-event special assignment for our guests to do and this time is no different. If you want to play, get a used envelope or any handy scrap of paper you can use to make a list. Write the heading: “QuOTeD Podcast – Feb. 22”. We suggest putting this on your fridge, bathroom mirror or some other place where you’ll see it every day. Stay tuned for further instructions. In the meantime, consider types of lists. What kind of list are we going to make? We’ll see.

QuOTeD Podcast pre-event special assignment. Start a list.

Part 2: Make a List

1-30-2019 – Think of some things that you have that you “should” let go but you just can’t bring yourself to do it. Make a list of the first few things that come to mind. Add to the list as more things come to mind over the next week. You can write your list on the envelope in Part 1, but any paper will do.

Our History with Urban Forage Winery and Cider House

We have a history with Urban Forage and it is our pleasure to be making this place a part of our plans. The owner Jeff Zeitler and I met on a committee that was charged with starting a community garden. Then when Jeff and his wife Gita decided to pursue a dream and open a winery, they asked me to produce a video for their Kickstarter campaign. A few years later, it is so cool to see the business take form. They’ve managed to take a vacated pawnshop and create a very nice atmosphere for enjoying their offerings of various fruit wines and ciders.

Jeff and Gita Zeitler

Jeff and Gita on the Podcast

It’s true, Jeff and Gita as well as their two kids have appeared on an episode of QuOTeD. The family attended a QuOTeD social where we asked our guests to tell us about their first cars. It was a fun night! Jeff also shows up in our very first episode about what it means to be grounded. I really appreicated what he had to say about getting stuff done (like start a business): “I just did the work. I put my head down and did the work.” Later he played an art-collecting dentist in a story we made up about a painting. He did some really good improv work, which we actually recorded at the winery.

10 Ideas for How to Get Some Damn Ideas

Last November I took on the challenge to post an episode of QuOTeD every day for the month. My friends Dave and Megumi also participated in National Podcast Post Month (NaPodPoMo). On By the Bootstraps, Dave talked about idea generation and asked listeners about where they get their ideas. I just discovered a response I scribbled down at the time and thought I’d share it here. Sorry for the late reply, Dave. But here it is.

Some Ideas about Some Ideas

    1. Recognize the ideas you already have. Ideas float by all of the time. Notice them and keep a notebook.
    2. Define and guard quiet times. Instead of listening to NPR in the morning or popping in the earbuds on the train, experience the ambient noise. Be in the environment.
    3. Guard “the boring bits”, as Sherry Turkle calls them in her book Reclaiming Conversation: The Power of Talk in a Digital Age. The time you spend waiting to get an oil change doesn’t have to be filled with Facebook and the rest of it. Daydream instead.
    4. Yeah, daydream.

This page is blank. Where do the ideas come from when you're looking at a blank page?

    1. Read. Read anything. A novel. Trash. The paper. Just make sure it’s a linear experience without hyperlinks. The next distraction need not be a click away.
    2. Take a walk every day. In her podcast, Life Gets Better Now, Mary Hayes Grieco said something that helped me understand why I generally feel better when I walk. She said (roughly) people experience their intuition in different ways. If you’re a kinetic type, you need to move to get the juices going.
    3. Mine your social media feed. I know, I know. I said ditch it. But if you can contain it, Facebook posts might generate some ideas. Be careful. Facebook is also linked to feeling depressed.
    4. Sit down. Be still. You don’t sit down because you have an idea for a novel. You get an idea for a novel because you sit down. This goes back to guarding quiet time.
    5. Practice observing. I like to write about what I see. After a shift of waiting tables, I liked to sit at the bar with a notebook. But maybe you’d rather paint. I tried to learn how to draw a cat by watching a tutorial on YouTube. My cat turned out pretty good. And I learned to notice details about my own cat that I didn’t see before.
  1. Give yourself some structure. For NaPodPoMo, I decided to incorporate clips from old cassette tapes. I also ended every episode with a question, which is consistent with my usual podcast. By putting some rules around my project, arbitrary though they may have been, I don’t have to wander around in no man’s land.
  2. Challenge yourself. This list is a case in point. I was challenged to come up with 10 ideas. In other words, not every challenge has to be Mount Everest.
  3. Invite engagement. Interact with people. QuOTeD is all about engagement whether I am talking to individuals or hosting an open mic.
  4. Be in the world. Leave your house… without your mobile device. Sorry to sound like a broken record, but it can’t be said enough. If you’re feeling annoyed… Well that’s some information, isn’t it?
  5. Find your internal motivation. If you can’t find the internal motivation to do something, maybe the challenge needs tuning. Or maybe you need a different challenge.
  6. Experience the new. In The Charge Brendon Burchard talks about incorporating the new into our routines. This can be a big deal, for example, a trip planned months in advance. Or it can be simple. Try walking down an unfamiliar street, for example.
  7. Pound on the piano. I don’t play the piano but I play the piano.
  8. Bounce a ball. Shoot some hoops. You’ve seen a gym, right?
  9. Do something else. When you hit a wall, clean the bathroom. At least get something out of the day even if you’re creatively stuck. Warning: Do not confuse this with taking up any distraction, such as surfing the Internet. Be discerning.
  10. Poke at the Universe. Experiment. See what happens.
  11. Do more. When someone asks you to come up with 10 ways to generate ideas, make it twenty.

I Do Not Consume Podcasts

Could we just say what we mean? Do we mean ‘consume’ or ‘listen’?

by Rebekah Smith

Question of the Day When I had a college radio show the station manager would scold us for using insider lingo on the air. “Say ‘Public Service Announcement’ and not ‘cart'”, he would insist. Carts were these boxy looking tapes where the PSAs and other promos lived. You could easily jam them into a player, sort of like an 8-track tape, which made them ideal for these short bits. Today as more and more jargon infiltrates the language, I wish there were a staff meeting where someone would stand up and say, “Stop doing that! You sound like an idiot!”

Continue reading “I Do Not Consume Podcasts”

Apologize When You’ve Done Something Wrong

On Facebook a friend shared the following post about apologies from the Instagram account of FeministVoice (December 21, 2016).

“lately i’ve been replacing my ‘i’m sorry’s with ‘thank you’s’ like instead of ‘sorry i’m late’ i’ll say ‘thanks for waiting for me’, or instead of ‘sorry for being such a mess’ i’ll say ‘thank you for loving me and caring about me unconditionally’ and it’s not only shifted the way i think and feel about myself but also improved my relationships with others who now get to receive my gratitude instead of my negativity.”

Continue reading “Apologize When You’ve Done Something Wrong”

T-shirts and Poetry Games

Brian and I were just in Chicago where I attended the Podcast Movement ’16 conference. I’m currently working on a QuOTeD episode that documents the extra day we spent in the Windy City after the conference. As we bummed around, with the exception of advertisements, I started to note the words people were wearing on t-shirts. I wondered if they could be strung together to either snap a sort of picture of the day or a specific time and place in the culture.

Woman in t-shirt
By Friedrich Haag (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
 

The t-shirts we saw were:

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Purpose vs. Happiness, Another Take

Sixteen years ago, a friend and I found ourselves talking about purpose. The following is a partial transcript from that conversation. I had just made a comment about how “knowing yourself” always seemed to be the promise of the next stage of life. When you’re thirty, this. When you’re forty that. When you’re fifty…

Paint swatch on white wall. Why did you wander into the room? What's your purpose?
Paint swatch on white wall.

Incidentally, the original Question of the Day was “Tell me about a wake-up call that informs the way you live your life today.”

Continue reading “Purpose vs. Happiness, Another Take”