I’d like to take it back to over a year ago, before the building, the business plan and the financing, when the brewery was just an idea. Actually, I want to take it back well before that.
I was an environmental scientist. Why? It just kinda happened that way. I went to university straight out of high school, took courses that were somewhat interesting/I seemed to have a knack for, and got spat out into a career that, quite frankly, I had ZERO interest in. I felt like I was taking crazy pills. I was clearly just one of many, many people that wound up in a ‘good’ job that is only good on paper, not good for you.
Then there was my brother in law, Alex, who told me he'd decided to become a barber. He had a vision of owning his own barber shop where he could feel at home, bring his dog to work, and be a part of a community. My perspective shifted a bit but it didn’t hit me until the following day when my wife Katie and I found ourselves at Brewer's Row in Port Moody – as we often did.
It was a complete no brainer: build my career around the life I want to lead, not the other way around. I knew what the end game was… start a brewery in Gibsons – where a decent chunk of my family already live, where we can afford a home we love, where there’s no better place to raise our kids.
I began researching, crunching numbers, learning absolutely everything I could about making beer, and formulating a plan. I was ready to take it all on myself if I had to but there were a couple guys that I really wanted in my corner.
Neil has an unreal work ethic, knows his way around a job site, and is an all around awesome guy. He was also in a similar position to me. He wasn't thrilled on his job, he loved the idea of building a business from the ground up, and he and his partner (Georgia) were setting their sights on the Sunshine Coast as well. We met up and I talked him through a half researched plan, why Gibsons, and why a brewery. Just like that, he was in.
I knew Geoff would bring just as much to the table. He has a business background, works super hard and would round out our team perfectly. I brought it up with him at a family birthday (we’re cousins by the way) and his eyes lit up. We later met up and I walked him through the same plan I did Neil. He asked tons of questions, followed up with his own research, then more questions (a tougher nut to crack than Neil). Ultimately, he jumped in with both feet and hasn’t looked back since.
While none of us had any real entrepreneurial experience or any commercial brewery experience, I was still amped on our team. Between the three of us, we had the key skills and attributes to make it happen... and do it really well. More importantly, I couldn't have selected two guys that I would trust more than Neil and Geoff.
Along this process, it feels like we have gotten extremely lucky in a lot of ways but the fact that these guys are on my team tops that list.
Oh, and Alex is now a fantastic barber at Barber and Co on Main Street in Vancouver (still working on getting that dog though). Hit him up if you are looking for a great cut!