Everyone will tell you that starting a business is hard work.
They’ll say that to get ahead as you do your own thing, that you have to make sacrifices. That you’ll be shoestringing it and making it up as you delve into unchartered waters that are well outside your comfort zone. Those people are right.
There have been a lot of sacrifices made already at Cabin Brewing Company. All three of us have small children, and one of the biggest sacrifices has been missing their little faces – missed bedtimes and wake up times, and being absent for some weekend fun time. There have been late nights huddled over a computer, ensconced in numbers and financial plans. There have been long days doing hard work, while others are out having fun. Friends ignored. Lawns and yards left to go wild. Less cash in the bank. Job insecurity. Physical pain from hard work. Mental anguish from grappling with new ideas and processes. Stress.
We know there is a lot more to come – that’s all part and parcel of doing what you love to do. It’s a cliché, but I think it is true; there is no gain, without risk and sacrifice.
This chapter should probably come much later, when the full extent of how much we have given up in the pursuit of chasing our dream has become clear.
But we had a keen reminder yesterday during the annual Barley Belt Tap Tour. In case you’ve been in a coma for the last few weeks, the Tap Tour is when all the breweries within the Barley Belt (Annex Ale Project, Banded Peak Brewing, Born Colorado Brewing, OT Brewing Company, Paddy’s BBQ and Brewery and Village Brewery) open their doors and parking lots to bands, games, food trucks and entertainment and celebrate being a collection of awesome breweries.
We are located in the heart of the Barley Belt and will be participating next year – and this year, as a gentle warm up, we were going to celebrate and enjoy the event and hang out with other revellers to spread the word of Cabin.
But, alas, brewery work got in the way. We had to spray paint the entire ceiling of the brewery before our tanks, brew system, flooring and millwork are installed. The past weekend was the only true chance to get it done. It first involved coating everything in our 3600 square foot bay (with 20 foot walls) in plastic (thanks Todd for your help!). It was a hell of a job – 80% prep, 20% painting – that saw us working through from Thursday through to end of day Sunday.
And so, as hundreds of jolly revellers passed by the front of our brewery, walking the short walk between Banded Peak Brewing (240 metres away) to Born Colorado Brewing (50 metres away) yesterday afternoon, we worked and worked and worked to get the bay finished. We were covered in paint from head to toe, our shoulders and backs and necks ached, and I managed to split my head on a sharp corner of a scissor lift that I didn’t know existed, sending blood flowing. It still hurts as I write this.
But for all that – the blood, the sweat and the stinging toxic tears from paint falling into my eyes when I forgot to put my goggles back on my face after examining a shadowy area of the ceiling rafters - we wouldn’t have it any other way. Seriously. After planning this thing for two years, it really feels like things are moving fast.
And here’s the thing: fun events come and go – there will always be the next one. What we’re learning to do is really enjoy the events we can attend and the people we spend time with, rather than take them for granted.
We loved the stream of visitors who poked their heads in through the door of Cabin to say hello and check out our progress. You all got us even more excited to open our doors, gave us an excuse to take a quick breather and punctuated our day with happiness.
We were reminded once more that a beer at the end of a very long work day tastes better than anything in the world – which is, in one way, why we do what we do.
There was a true sense of satisfaction in getting the painting done. It’s looking amazing and slowly transforming from an empty industrial bay to our Cabin.
We’re incredibly lucky to have a great team of support people around us – our partners, families, friends and brewery supporters. That is another whole chapter in our journey that we will explore. And the three of us – Jonas, Darrin and me, Haydon - have each other’s backs too, which is the most important thing.
We’re closer than we’ve ever been to opening our doors, and damn it feels good.
Sacrifices and all.