This past weekend one of our very best friends surprised us by driving a couple of hours and showing up at Trek. I had a moment where I looked up at him and said, “Can you believe this is real? I swear we were just trying to figure out what we were going to call our brewery!” He just smiled at me and said, “So, how’s the stress?”
John and I get that question or a form of that question a lot. Are we stressed? Absolutely. Would we do it again? In a heartbeat.
There’s so much that goes on in the day to day of owning and operating a brewery that no one really tells you about. We did our research (A LOT of research) before we took the plunge. We grew up with families that had owned their own businesses, and John had a real understanding of what the retail side of things looked like. We knew that the hours would be long, and that we were going to have to get creative to keep our family time intact. But, research and real life are totally different beasts.
We get asked what a typical week looks like, and my short answer is that we haven’t had a typical week yet. Owning a business is an ever changing adventure. We’re learning it as we go. We’ve settled into regular operating hours, which is awesome, and has given us a lot of structure to work around. When we’re not open to the public, though, there is a lot that goes on behind the scenes.
John’s been brewing a few days a week now. If he’s brewing on the big 15bbl system, he typically leaves home by 5am to get his brew started by 5:30am. This allows him to be done and cleaned up with the brew day by early evening. If he’s brewing on the pilot system, he’s out the door at home by 730 am, and he’s usually done late afternoon. While he brews he’s working on janitorial duties around Trek, balancing the books, ordering guest taps, fixing keg washers, or doing one of the million unpredictable things that seem to happen daily. On days that John doesn’t brew, he’s still at Trek, taking samples of beer, moving beer from fermentation to brite tanks, or brite tanks to kegs. He’s also doing all the things he does during brew days. John also gets the taproom ready for our incredible staff. He makes sure they have what they need. He bartends every evening, and closes down the brewery every night. At this current moment, John probably spends on average about 14 hours a day at Trek.
My workload at Trek is a lot lighter. I work as a Preschool Director during the week. Our boys and I try to come in and have dinner with John all the days that we’re open, and I’ll bartend for a few minutes while I’m there. I work to update our social media accounts several times a day – I’m most active in the evening. I schedule our food trucks and events. I write the blog every week. In the evenings I work on things that need done for the taproom. And, I bartend on the weekends when I can.
It’s a busy life, and no one can really adequately set you up for what that will look like. But, no one can tell you how incredible it feels to have built something you’re proud of. When we hear people say how much they enjoy Trek, it makes all the long hours seem inconsequential. We LOVE to be there with you all. We love to hear your stories, and dream up adventures with you. We love to share our Trek with you. This is our big adventure. It’s stressful and exciting and hard and wonderful. We’re really starting to roll now with our GRAND OPENING later this month. We’re working hard to get everything in place.
So, when we are asked the question “How’s the stress?”, we answer, “It’s good… and it’s about to get better.”