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2016, The Year of No.


There’s a small nugget of business wisdom that we’ve come to hold sacred around here:

If you’re not saying “HELL YEAH!” about something, say “no”.

It’s the central lesson of a very short post by CD Baby founder Derek Sivers, and became our de facto motto of 2016. While we celebrated the close of 2015 with a sprawling list of numerical accomplishments, we celebrate the close of 2016 – the year of no – with a look back on the benefits of focus and reduction.

Given the infinitely open-ended nature of brewery ownership, opportunities of every shape and size present themselves on a perpetual basis. On top of the constant temptation to take on new projects and events of their own, breweries are bombarded with an endless stream of invitations and requests. As wide-eyed 23-year-olds with a newly operational brewery on our hands, we were kids in a candy shop. The world was our burrito.

We quickly developed the symptoms Sivers identifies in his first sentence of Hell Yeah – we were over-committed and too scattered. His solution:

When deciding whether to do something, if you feel anything less than “Wow! That would be amazing! Absolutely! Hell yeah!” — then say “no.”

When you say no to most things, you leave room in your life to really throw yourself completely into that rare thing that makes you say “HELL YEAH!”

Over the course of 2016, we took that advice to heart. We turned down a lot of things. We scaled back our distribution to bars and restaurants. We made less one-off beers. We stripped down our frequent and varied string of events, including our monthly food truck roundups. We even shed the brand identity we’d had since before we opened.

In turn, we threw ourselves completely into the rare things that made us say “HELL YEAH”: we focused on our taproom experience, solidified our entire line of flagship and seasonal beers, planted the seeds for our upcoming farmhouse ale series, made Beer + Yoga the best it could be, and revamped our brand identity to create something more iconic and long-lasting. Paring down our entire operation to only that which is absolutely essential has increased efficiency, decreased clutter, and provided us all with a lot more peace of mind.

A lot of the things we’ve said no to, it’s merely us saying not yet, so that at some point down the line we can say hell yeah to them as well.

Thank you for saying hell yeah along with us.

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