Now that you know a little more about us (see first post below), let’s talk about how we got to the point of opening a brewery and what we hope to accomplish with Regulator.
When did you first get the idea to open a brewery?
Dustin: The very first time I brewed, but things started to get more serious last October. Within three weeks I visited Singlecut Beersmiths in NY and Westbrook Brewing in SC and really started to love the idea of starting a brewery (both places have a great feel and are worth the trip). Everything started to come together after the Westbrook trip when Steph said she would love owning a small brewery and taproom. We ended up talking about opening a brewery the whole five hours home (including the name).
Steph: I don’t think we would have gotten much further than that on our own, though. Fortunately, Ryan and Anna are as crazy as we are and the “what if..” conversations continued until our first official business meeting in February of this year.
Brewsness meeting in full force
Anna: A big selling point for all of us was winning first place at 2013 Homebrew for Hunger and hearing great feedback from folks there. People liked our beer…a lot!
Ryan: Like Dustin, it is something I have dreamed about since I became obsessed with homebrewing. However, I never really gave it any concrete thought until after Homebrew for Hunger. The fact that so many people asked us “where can I buy this?” was eye-opening for me. I remember the February night at the Mystery Brewing taproom when Dustin and Steph told us they were really thinking hard about going for it. They started the conversation, and we have all taken the leap together. I am also very thankful that Anna has been so supportive, involved, and excited during this entire process. It’s exciting to embark on this adventure together with close friends and family.
What’s most exciting to you about starting a Brewery?
A: Making something that people can enjoy together.
D: Seeing people enjoy beer recipes we have developed over the years. We’ve developed some of these recipes all the way from extract brewing and it’s exciting to see people enjoy them and compare them, usually favorably, to the beers I love.
S: Getting to know our community in a brand new way–meeting and talking with farmers, suppliers, officials, committees, and other business owners.
R: The opportunity to do something that we love and to channel our creative energy to create something that people enjoy. To me, that is truly fulfilling and rewarding.
Why a nano-brewery? (We get this one a lot)
D: I like the idea of starting small and think it will allow us to do some pretty awesome things (using 75% local ingredients!).
S: It means we’ll have a lot of flexibility–seasonal brews using produce that’s only available for a short time, special editions, tweaking recipes based on feedback. We’re not opposed to growing, but we want to grow in tandem with our local suppliers.
R: From a business and personal standpoint, it is a more manageable way to start. We really wanted to establish an identity and reputation within the local community and be directly involved with all aspects of the business.
D: I think it is always great to see local economies find ways to support themselves from within. We hope that by using local producers we cannot only be a local business, but also help support other local businesses and create a more robust, self-sustaining economy that is less dependent on manufacturing and chain retail.
Harvesting hops to go in Regulator beer (and other people’s beer, too) at Farm Boy Farms
S: Definitely–building on that, I feel a pride and sense of stewardship for businesses and products that are unique to where I live. It’s part of what makes friends and family love visiting us in Hillsborough, and we realize it’s something we seek out when we travel. We want to belong to this community–and we can’t think of a better way than to use local suppliers and local ingredients.
A: What she said.
What has been surprising?
A: The unreal number of rules and regulations on local, state and federal levels. No wonder people bootleg. (Don’t worry – we’re doing everything by the book, folks!)
D: The response from people. We threw the website and twitter up on a lark when we were snowed in and were overwhelmed by the immediate response we received. The progress we’ve made in 5 days on our Kickstarter has been amazing!
S: The beer scene! It’s a great time to be a beer drinker in North Carolina–holy cow. Festivals, tastings, meetups–there’s something happening all. the. time. We’re just getting our feet wet, but it’s already been so much fun to be a part of it all.
R: What we have been able to accomplish already as a team in terms of developing a business plan, strategy and identity. We certainly have a long way to go and many details to figure out, but the collaborative effort as well as the support of the community has been outstanding.
Where can I see an awesome video about Regulator?
A: On our Kickstarter page: http://kck.st/1DEq73i (Shameless Plug)
Have you got any other questions?
Email us or leave them on facebook or twitter – we’re happy to answer!