State of the Brewery, December 2019
Once again, the Brew Crew gathered in the Tasting Room for our State of the Brewery address. Tired and bleary-eyed they came, damp from the unceasing rain, taking the rare chance to gather together in one room and start the new year on the same page.
And grub on some bangin’ breakfast burritos.
But, in all honesty, we wanted to know how we’d done throughout 2019 and were looking forward to news about what’s in store for 2020.
We know that you’re chomping at the bit as well. Check it out below!
2018 ended as our best year to date, and 2019 is on track to surpass that. We sold just over 16,000 barrels in 2018 — making us one of the largest independent brewery in the state that year — and we’re looking toward exceeding that number in 2019. By a lot.
It’s looking like we’ll be right around 24,000 barrels in 2019 — a 48% increase over 2018.
That’s huge. Huge. We’re really very proud of that number, but we know that it wouldn’t have been possible without our fans backing us up and buying all of that delectable elixir. So… congrats to you!
Simply looking around the room, it was easy to tell that our team has grown exponentially: we’re getting to the point where we don’t have a room at the brewery that can fit all of us comfortably. We almost had to sit on people’s laps.
We added 39 people to our team this year, including six new salespeople, three new drivers, a Vice President of Operations, a full-time HR Specialist, a head of quality control, an additional warehouse manager, and numerous folks in production, in the Tasting Room, and as Brand Ambassadors.
We’re at 99 Brew Crew members at this point, maddeningly hovering just under the 100 mark. We’ll be adding a few new members in 2020, so be sure to check back for their introductions!
Speaking of the Brew Crew, we’ve had a number of internal initiatives this year that have proven fantastically worthwhile, and we’ll continue them in 2020.
We’ve begun bringing in pretzels each Monday and lunch every Thursday. It’s truly wonderful to be greeted each Monday morning with a box of fresh soft pretzel bites, and not having to worry about lunch on Thursdays is fantastic.
Ryan’s begun scheduling lunches with one or two Brew Crew members. As we grow, it becomes difficult for him to get to know everyone, and, being the awesome CEO that he is, he’s not a big fan. Thus far, he’s gotten together with 15% of the company, and the lunches are always very enlightening for everyone.
Each week, Ryan sends out a “Five-Bullet Friday”: an email to the entire company to keep us all on the same page. In them, he’ll talk about anything on his mind: from new initiatives in the company or big news in the industry, to congratulations to specific teams or asking our opinions on trends in the industry. Each week, the last bullet is something about financial literacy: financial statements, taxes, etc.
Our sampling program has been wildly successful. Led by our new Sales Assistant Jenna Rae Rohana, our Brand Ambassadors did over 200 samplings throughout New Jersey and eastern PA, creating thousands of new fans.
After 3 years, we decided to take a hard look at our Core Values and decide if they were alive and well. The good news is that they haven’t changed: they’ve simply become more defined as we’ve grown. We asked ourselves what attributes someone who lived our Core Values would possess, and we came up with some ideas.
- Be a Pro:
- Reliable and dependable
- Take action and see it through
- Lead by example
- Think before you react
- Be Direct, Honest, and Respectful:
- Be objective, not personal
- Listen first
- Value other people’s time
- Foster Creativity:
- Give your intuition a chance
- Try something new
- Share ideas and communicate openly
- Embrace change
- Good Neighbor:
- Give back and create positive change
- Help others: Turn caring into doing
- Be empathetic, reliable, and accessible
- Work Safe, Work Smart:
- See something, say something
- No shortcuts
- No one is above safety
- Make it Better:
- Be curious
- Constant improvement big and small
- Accept and give feedback; we can all get better
- Have Fun:
- Celebrate the wins
- Take what you do seriously, but not yourself
- Make friends
In 2019, we re-evaluated our purpose, as well. We’re still here to build a brewery that makes us proud, but we wanted to delve a little deeper. Building a brewery that makes us proud addresses the what, but not the why.
We asked ourselves what it is that we do: we brew beer. But, why is that important? Because people like beer. So… why is that important?
We continued that trend until we came to a final answer: Enjoy the Moment.
That’s why we’re here. That’s why you keep coming back to us. So, now we can enjoy the moment together.
A Look Ahead
We’re looking forward to 2020 being our best year yet. The growth we’ve experienced thus far is truly outstanding, and, in 2020, we’re expecting that growth to continue.
Our partnerships with Yards and FX Matt have worked out well for us, and, as we’ve maxed out our production capacity in Cape May, we’ll be continuing those relationships.
We’ve got a number of changes to our lineup next year. Some good news, some better news, but, for the most part, all of the choices we’ve made for 2020 are a result of our focus on what our fans have told us. On the other hand, there are one or two choices that we’ve made with an eye toward innovation — sometimes, it’s important for us to try something new: in fact, that’s one of the attributes of one of our Core Values, “Foster Creativity”. There will be some excitement over next year’s lineup; there will be some disappointment — we know that going in. We’ll cover next year’s lineup in a blog next week, but rest assured that we expect that the decisions we’ve made will result in better beer for you.
There’s big news for Cape Beverage, too — they’ve got a new home!
As you likely know, Cape May is far from everything, and we’re out of space here at the airport. We’re out in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, on this dangle of New Jersey — well worth the trip and there are some aspects about it that work in our favor. However, without any more room to expand, and, despite our best efforts to acquire more space here, we need to find some room outside of the airport.
So, Cape Beverage will have a cold storage facility in Egg Harbor Township: essentially at the confluence of the Garden State Parkway and the Atlantic City Expressway, giving our Distribution Specialists easy access to the entire state, ensuring that your beer is of the freshest quality possible.
And Cape Beverage has a new Operations Manager! We’ve been searching high and low over the past year trying to staff out leadership for Cape Bev, and we found someone right under our noses: our very own Distribution Manager Justin Vitti! We’ll have more on this next week, but, suffice it to say, we expect that he (and his mustache) will be great in the position.
Furthermore, we’ve got our eyes on new territories. A number of our fans have expressed a desire to see us in their backyard, and, in all likelihood, we’ll be getting there eventually. We’re really focused on saturating each additional territory — what’s the good of expanding to Maine if you’re only going to be able to find us in three stores?
So, we’re planning to expand into three additional counties in 2020. Where? You’ll have to check back to find out. More information to come!
Honestly, these are some big changes. They’re important changes. They’re going to allow us to keep brewing awesome beer and getting it to you. Now, it’ll be better beer. More beer. To more places.
As things change, we’ll keep bringing the news to you. Be sure to check back!