Sometimes I look around the distillery and think of all the things that make this business possible and it blows my little mind. It has a roof, walls, and a floor (dear lord grinding concrete is not for the faint of heart), and we sell stuff out of it. That pretty much fits the definition of a brick and mortar business. But there is something more here.
Me and Nick often spend our ride home at night rehashing the day. We talk about what broke, what went well, and what needs to get done tomorrow, but increasingly we talk about something else.
The unquantifiable side of our business, and the thing that we spend so much time in conversation about is our customers. Any place can put up cool décor, play great music, and serve a good product… but ultimately if no one shows up, you don’t have a business. Our customers make this place possible and I have so much gratitude that they are in my life. A lot of these people have become an extension of my family and they are pretty amazing. My customers bring me warm home-made cookies, their family recipe pizza, and vegetables they grew in their garden. They help me move heavy spent grain bins when I can’t on my own. They serve as deputy enforcers of the house rules. They dole out big bear hugs. They spread the word about this place louder and with more gusto than I ever have. I never learned about any of this in business school. No one told me how essential this would be to my own success and the success of this business. I guess it’s true that some things just can’t be taught in a classroom.
For those of you that know me, I am absolutely not a sappy mushy touchy feely type, I am usually Sisu as fuck. However, writing this makes me feel almost overwhelmed with the feels. Ultimately this is supposed to be a thank you, but I am not sure that I can express in two words (or any words for that matter) how happy I am to know, and be part of the cool tribe that has evolved here, but I am going to try.
Thank you for showing up, and brining your authentic, compassionate, and interesting self. You are the thing that makes this business more than a place that just sells shit.
This blog is our journey. Distilled.