If you’re familiar with our origin story, you’ll know that our operation begin a little differently than most. We weren’t blessed with millions in the bank or investor dollars behind us, and almost every bank laughed us out of the building, sighting lack of industry experience as our fatal flaw. Thankfully, our first venture, a small e-commerce software business known as IgnitionDeck, was sturdy enough to use as collateral for non-traditional financing, and had sufficient profits to help fund the initial purchasing and demolition.
Unfortunately, lengthy permitting delays, and frequent ones at that, meant that we were paying interest on capital that we couldn’t deploy, and to complicate things further, we were forced to lease additional space in order to meet specific functional requirements. This meant that the scope of the buildout would increase, and costs would double, all before we even purchased a single piece of brewing equipment.
We made a conscious decision early on to spend the bulk of our funds on the taproom, believing that size of brew system was less relevant than the atmosphere we wanted to create as the first craft brewery, and really the only craft beer hotspot, in our small town of Apollo Beach. As a result, we started with a (very) small 1.5 BBL system with limited capacity, a cold room instead of cold refrigerant (glycol), and a walk-in cooler that was about half the size we truly needed.
Still, fortune favors the bold, and despite the never-ending series of challenges we faced, we always found a way to make it work. It was certainly a tough couple of years, and those of us that remain have more than a few gray hairs to show for it, but all in all, our belief in the company never wavered, and we now have an incredible product to show for it.