Planning a key ingredient to Hangar 24 Craft Brewery
Planning is one of those things that we all know is good for us, but few take the time to do. While it may seem that planning only takes time away from the fun and exciting stuff of starting or running your business, operating a business without a plan is like trying to drive someplace new without a GPS. One may find themselves making unnecessary turns and taking alot longer to get to the desired location. It is the same for a business operating without a plan.
Ben Cook came to the Inland Empire Small Business Development Center (IESBDC) in January of 2006 seeking assistance with creating a plan. Ben’s idea was to brew and hold beer tastings in a 4,640-square-foot Sessums Drive warehouse, It would be called Hangar 24 Craft Brewery.
The term “Business plan” often sends clients running out of my office, and when googled leads the searcher to find 80 page documents with lots of graphs, charts, and big words. But as I told Ben, a business plan is no different than a recipe for a good beer. He had all the right ingredients and just needed to add them at the right time. Ben’s planning began before his first appointment with IESBDC, as a biology student at Cal State San Bernardino, a graduate of the master brewer program at UC Davis, and with his last employment in the Quality Assurance Organization at the Anheuser-Busch Brewery in Van Nuys, CA Ben was armed with the key ingredients for Hangar 24. And as I tell all my clients a good business plan does not need to be lengthily and full of big words. It simply needs to answer a few questions:
Answering Key planning questions
• Where are we now?
• How did we get here ?
• Where would we like to be?
• How do we get there?
• Are we on course to achieve our targets?
Along with the answers to these questions there needs to be some operational scheme to organize the tasks needed to achieve the goal.
A helpful approach used at the IESBDC is to work backward from the goal to decide what must be done to reach it. When looking at the basic outline for a business plan, one often starts with the executive summary, mission statement, etc., but if you start with the financials and take the backward approach as a way of looking at the big picture first, and then planning all tasks, conditions, and details to make these numbers happen it will relieve a lot of the strain in producing your business plan.
“Paul Nolta at the IESBDC helped me to put together my ideas in an effective business plan format” said Ben. Ben knew what had to be done and wanted to put his team together to form an effective plan. “When planning, get input from everyone who will responsible to carry out parts of the plan, along with representatives from groups who will be effected by the plan” said Ben.
The plan of 2006 was to produce about 800 barrels in their first year, starting with basics such as pale ale, German pilsner and India pale ale, then brewing unique and even experimental offerings. Flash Forward to today, Hangar 24 Craft Brewery is the first microbrewery in Redlands and one of only a few in the Inland area. They produced 1100 barrels that first year and are on track to produce 10,000 this year. Their offering close to 7 year round brews and a hand full of seasonals, Ben employees close to 40 with the vast majority of Hangar 24’s business selling to local bars, restaurants and grocery stores. With this success Ben is working on his expansion plan of becoming a major beer distributor in the Inland Empire which would add another 80 jobs to the area.
When asked, what do you feel played the biggest role to your success? Ben replied, “There was no one thing, several key items together, such as planning and becoming an expert in my industry, having a great team that works together, and having the support of our community were key.” Ben added that there is no reason an entrepreneur has to go it alone, there are several resources available in the inland empire, and I recommend that anyone thinking of starting a business, start with the Inland Empire Small Business Development Center” Learn more about the IESBDC at www.iesmallbusiness.com.
Ben Cook and the Hangar 24 Team invites everyone to come learn about how Hangar 24 began, how they arrived where they are and where they are headed.
Tasting Days and Hours
Monday – Sunday 11AM – 9PM
Saturday – Sunday 11AM – 3PM