Saturday, November 21, 2009

Business Hours are Over! Baby!

If you scan the last year of posts on this weblog, you won't find many progress updates. That's because all Jane and I have done since January, aside from finding a location, is try to raise money. So far, we've only been able to raise about 10% of our project cost via investment capital - including our own contributions - and were rejected by eleven lenders (not counting the ones who ignored us). We considered some alternative business plans...

-Reducing the structural changes to the ACME building and replacing the full kitchen with cold appetizers to reduce the total project cost.
-Relocating to the former Blue Lagoon building to reduce the total project cost, allow us to have a full kitchen and provide an incentive for the Bank of Sun Prairie to loan us money (they own the building, which is now completely vacant).
-Relocating to Sauk Prairie, where there may have been additional investment capital.

...but my need to find a job and stabilize my family's finances hasn't allowed me to really follow through on them. Being burnt out hasn't helped either. After two years of working full-time to get this project off the ground, every option seemed like a futile postponement of my brewing career.

The point I'm slowly making is that I'm cutting my losses and walking away from RePublic. Earlier today, I accepted a job offer for a full-time brewing position at Fratello's in Oshkosh and Appleton. I'll be working for Kevin Bowen, a classmate of mine from Siebel, and I'm pretty damn excited about it. Jane is hoping to find a job in a brewery as well; probably in sales and/or marketing. This industry is simply too much fun to walk away from willingly.

Unless I think of some wise things to say over the next few days, this will probably be the last time I post here. Jane and I are going to leave the site online so future brewery owners can benefit from our experience, and I plan to continue updating the File Cabinet independently. Thanks for reading!

Update: I'm currently the QA Manager at Ale Asylum and write the Five Gallons At A Time feature at Madison Beer Review. In between, I wrote a few articles for Oshkosh Beer that you can find by searching for my name on the website. Jane, aka Robyn Klinge, left her job at Epic Systems to bartend, manage off-premise tap accounts, train employees about beer and host beer dinners at Vintage Brewing Company.


Anonymous said...

Good Luck in future endeavors.

Shane said...


Best of luck. I'd say that your numerous brewing experiments over the past 2 years were nothing like a postponement of your brewing career. The concepts you have are unique, I hope you have a chance to develop them more at Fratello's.

Brian said...

Joe -

Your passion will get you to where you want to be one day. This sounds more like a detour vs a dead end.

I will miss reading your updates but wish you all the best in future


Megan said...

You guys tried your best, it just wasn't the right time. Maybe someday!

Dan Mickelson said...

Sad news. Nice 'Flight of the Conchords' reference. We're very sad to hear that we won't have a brewpub here in Sun Prairie. Best of Luck

Geoffrey said...

it'll happen eventually, sometimes things take awhile. Maybe you should go back to playing music, move back to michigan and start an awesome band with me instead.

Anonymous said...


Thanks for the insightful writing you've given us here. I hope all goes well with your new job. I'll be waiting to see what Republic becomes, one day.

Best of luck!


paul said...

Sorry to hear it, Joe, but you never know. Your time may come yet.

Anonymous said...

reading this all the snipits of negativity come out. change the attitude a bit and things will turn around. otherwise it's going to be reflected in the beer. GD is a slight example. Capital is the polar opposite. take a page from them.

yetibiker said...

I read about you on the Oshkosh Beer blog. I am sad to hear about your frustrated attempts to start a brewpub in Madison, but I would like to extend a warm welcome to Oshkosh. Don't give up on your dream. The numbers all show that craft beer is taking off. You have an opportunity to take your passion to the Fox River Brewing Company and hone your skills, test ideas, learn, and gain experience while receiving a paycheck. I wish you success here in Oshkosh and I hope that you are able to build on what Fratello's has already done.

The good news is that the cost of living up here is cheap and there is no reason that you can't live on the cheap in an apartment somewhere while you put away capital. I urge you to get plugged in up here as soon as possible to take advantage of all the community has to offer your family.

John said...

Joe -
Question - I was reading your BLOG - VERY interesting material! I expect I will have a list of questions when I am done, but I have one important one now.

you mention going to brew a Dusseldorf Altbier - EXACTLY what I am looking to take a stab at. It is interesting that you mentioned Dusseldorf specifically since that is the exact town I am trying to match. Do you have a recipie you would be willing to share, or a suggested location to find the Alt from Dusseldorf?

Your help is appreciated!

Anonymous said...

I'm in the works of building a biz plan for a craft brew bar on the westside of madison/Verona area. Would anyone be available to assist with any questions? I'm also looking for partners/consultants as needed.

Thanks, Alan