The New Year is a good time to reflect upon the year that was. 2014 was amazing. We accomplished so much in so little time. We took our idea of opening up a bottle shop in June of 2014, ran with it, and haven’t looked back since. We’ve got a dream location we’re working on, raised some start-up capital from investors, and if we can raise the rest of the money we need we’ll be open in the summer of 2015. So let’s take a look back shall we?
In June of 2014 I had this crazy idea to open up a bottle shop. Why? Well first off I love beer. As my taste expanded so did my driving. I had to go outside my little neighborhood in search of delicious beer. I would travel to breweries, liquor stores, wine shops, you name it, in search of rarer and harder to find beers. The more I looked around the more I learned about beer and how it was made, distributed, and sold.
While searching on the internet for local spots that sold craft beer I learned about these mysterious places called bottle shops. I thought this was amazing. I couldn’t fathom the thought of a business that sold beer, and only beer. This seemed like a dream come true. So I got in my car and drove far away to go visit these awesome places. I drove South to Carlsbad to visit the Pizza Port Bottle Shop , and far North to visit the Select Beer Store and Tap Room in Redondo Beach. What I found was truly amazing, but more importantly, inspiring.
On my trip home from visiting Pizza Port in Carlsbad It dawned on me. Why should I have to travel so far away? Why isn’t there a bottle shop in Orange County? After all, Orange County was in the center of the craft beer revolution, sandwiched between the micro brewery capital of San Diego and the home brewing capital of Los Angeles. Since my passion for craft beer and home brewing had picked up there were Orange County Beer Fests popping up more regularly and new breweries opening by the handful. I figured there had to be more people like me, thirsty for craft beer and needing a shop to quench that thirst. So there it was. That was the beginning. That was my idea.
I went home and began working. I researched bottle shops around the nation, beer stores, liquor stores, and breweries. All of it. My dream was to open a shop in Orange County that had the largest selection of craft beer from all over the world. I drove up North to visit the Select Beer Store in Redondo Beach and saw that he not only had the bottles, but a tap room as well. I was sold on the idea.
This got me thinking. What else could I bring to the table that would differentiate me? What could set our shop apart from the pack? Customer Service. And I don’t mean employees being nice, but being knowledgeable. It’s always refreshing for me to walk into a store and be met by someone who knows a thing or two about the beer they are selling. The different styles, what pairs well with the dinner I’m going to make tonight, what a good desert beer would be, and where the beer comes from, what’s the history of the brewery? When I drink a beer it’s great to know the story behind it if it has one. The more you know about the beer you’re drinking the more you appreciate it. The better it tastes even. 🙂
How could I make sure that everyone in my store knows a thing or two about beer? The Cicerone Certification Program. If someone wants to work in my shop they gotta pass the Cicerone Certification Program’s Certified Beer Server Test. Is that a lot to ask of my employees? I don’t think so. I myself will be certified and I’m studying right now.
So now that I had all my ideas I put them on paper in the form of a business plan. To get that done Jena and I attended workshops held by SCORE on how to write business plans, how to put all the numbers together for financial projections, how to market and advertise the business. We met with a couple of mentors through the SBA. We found all the help we needed to make sure we did it right.
Since then it’s been non-stop networking. We’ve met so many great people along the way and even convinced a couple of them to invest in our idea. 2015 will bring more meetings, more new faces, and if everything works out we’ll open our doors.
It was an insanely busy and fun year and we can’t wait to find out what 2015 will bring. We gotta thank our friend Monte Mitchell for designing our logo. You can find all his info here http://www.portmonteau.com/ He is so talented and does amazing work. We gotta thank our Mentors at SCORE, everyone at the SBA, and all the amazing people we’ve met along the way. Most importantly, thank you to our friends and family. Your support and belief in us no matter how crazy we sound has meant everything. You have all inspired us to keep moving forward and following our dreams.
Lastly, we learned last night that our good friend Hannah was diagnosed with breast cancer. She’ll be out of work and school for a while and needs all the help she can get. Please take a second to say a prayer for her and any other help is greatly appreciated and will go a long way. http://www.youcaring.com/medical-fundraiser/help-hannah-holmes-fight-breast-cancer-/287108