This week, our co-founder and CEO Matt Katase drops by to deliver a situation report on the state of Brew Gentlemen and our plans for 2019.
When we look back at the five years we’ve been open, each year has had an overarching theme:
2014: We finished the renovation and finally opened our doors.
2015: We learned more about the business we had created and took off the training wheels. 2016: We turned our focus inward and became more selective about the projects we took on. 2017: We clarified our mission and core values, making sure we were building a company we could be as proud of as the beer we make. 2018: We made a number of difficult decisions in order to build the foundation for our next chapter.
And whether or not we were aware of it at the time, we did each of these things so that 2019 could be about more beer, for more people, in a more convenient way.
It’s been difficult to remain so deliberately quiet this past year because of the big projects we’ve had in the works. At certain times, we’ve felt disconnected from the beer world and the friends and relationships we've built within it. Being isolated when you’re operating in an inherently social industry is tough. Sometimes you have to unplug to focus, though.
The beer industry has changed drastically in the nearly five years that we’ve been open. For many, this industry has become an escape from the corporate world, a second career, or a hobby-turned-job - and it’s wonderful that this industry can provide that. For us, however, it’s all we’ve ever known - we’re in this for the long haul, and we want to make sure our minds, bodies and health are as well. Sometimes that means making the hard calls in the short term in order to see our long term vision through.
Part of that vision involves building a good community and culture around our company. Creating and maintaining a healthy environment and being a great place to work has been a big priority. At the end of the day, it’s all about people.
It’s been incredible to see our company become a whole that is much greater than the sum of its parts, thanks to having such a strong team full of wonderful people. External reassurances - things like seeing General Braddock’s consistently rank as one of the best IPAs in the country or being recently named the best brewery in Pennsylvania by Thrillist - help remind us we’ve made some reasonably good decisions along the way. As the Thrillist article mentioned, there’s "no gimmicks, attempts at trend chasing, or half baked efforts." That’s a reputation we can be proud of.
As we step into the new year, it’s a great chance to remind ourselves to stay the course and remain true to the values that got us here: To keep learning, never stop improving, strive for simplicity, and do so elegantly.
We hope to soon share more about all that we’ve been working on. Our mission is to create soft, balanced and elegant beers and meaningful experiences while helping revitalize the town of Braddock and we’re aiming for exactly that.
So let’s do this, 2019 - more beer, for more people, in a more convenient way.
Matt Katase Co-Founder & CEO