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Beer School: Bottling Success at the Brooklyn Brewery

Beer School: Bottling Success at the Brooklyn Brewery

Beer School: Bottling Success at the Brooklyn Brewery

What do you get when you cross a journalist and a banker? A brewery, of course.”A great city should have great beer. New York finally has, thanks to Brooklyn. Steve Hindy and Tom Potter provided it. Beer School explains how they did it: their mistakes as well as their triumphs. Steve writes with a journalist’s skepticism-as though he has forgotten that he is reporting on himself. Tom is even less forgiving-he’s a banker, after all. The inside story reads at times like a cautionary tale, but it i

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  1. Thomas Duff "Duffbert"
    36 of 37 people found the following review helpful
    5.0 out of 5 stars
    A fascinating story of triumph and trials…, February 7, 2007
    By 
    Thomas Duff “Duffbert” (Portland, OR United States) –
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    This review is from: Beer School: Bottling Success at the Brooklyn Brewery (Paperback)

    Just from a title perspective, this book was too good to pass up… Beer School: Bottling Success at the Brooklyn Brewery by Steve Hindy and Tom Potter. But even better, the book delivers the goods on a number of levels. One of the most enjoyable business book reads I’ve had in awhile…

    Contents: Steve Tells How Choosing a Partner Is Like a Second Marriage; Steve Discusses the Importance of Building a Solid Team; Tom Talks about Creating the Business Plan – A Money-Raising Tool and More; Tom Asks, “What’s the True Mission of the Business?”; Steve Discusses the Keys to Successfully Motivating Employees; Tom Tells the Story of Their Dot-Com Revolution – Fishing for Finance and Failing; Steve Talks about Building a Brewery in Brooklyn; Steve Discusses Publicity – The Press Wants You!; Steve Reveals How the Revolution Kills Its Leaders First; Tom Talks about Cashing Out and Reinventing the Business, Again; Tom Wants to Know If You Have What It Takes; Timeline; Index

    Hindy was a foreign correspondent for a news agency, and Potter was an executive at a bank, but both felt as if they wanted to do something different in their lives. Their love of home-brew beer gave Hindy the idea of starting a brewery in their hometown of Brooklyn, a city rich with brewery history. Potter was less convinced about the whole project until he visited a homebrewer’s convention in 1986. This was right at the start of the microbrew phenomenon, and they decided to seriously pursue their dream. The book chronicles their work from 1986 through 2005, while also distilling what they learned about entrepreneurship along the way. And since this is beer “school”, each chapter ends with them giving themselves a grade on how they did in that particular area. Unlike many business books that make the principals all-knowning and omniscient, Hindy and Potter are brutally honest about what worked and what didn’t, where they were skillful and where they got lucky. It’s a fascinating read, both for the brewery story and for the business insights.

    There aren’t too many business books with stories about being robbed at gunpoint of $30000, visiting a metal fencing operation to get a fork-lift battery charger back, and getting a visit from organized crime and union leadership, intent on getting a piece of their business. Even if you dropped the business lessons, the narrative of the Brooklyn Brewery would be enough to make this a recommended read. When you add in the small business information, this becomes a must-read for anyone dreaming of starting their own business. And if you’re already interested in homebrewing or microbrews, then this book will probably end up being read in a single sitting.

    An excellent read on a number of levels…

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  2. 14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
    4.0 out of 5 stars
    Useful Resource, Highly Entertaining, July 19, 2006
    By 
    Bob W. (NYC, NY) –

    When I found out about Beer School and its topic I knew that I had to read it. First off, I’m a homebrewer and beer geek and I’ve seen a number of my friends leave successful, conventional careers to take a gamble with their dreams working with beer. Secondly, I’m an entrepreneur who started a business 15 years ago (not in the beer business), which, thankfully, turned out to be successful. And thirdly, I live in New York City and I’m a big fan of all things Brooklyn, especially the Brooklyn Brewery!

    Beer School is a fast read, thanks to plenty of intriguing, amusing anecdotes that explain how this start up went from a simple idea to a major success, with the all-important countless pains, trials and tribulations in between.

    I honestly didn’t expect to learn anything new from the book, since I had already started a business. And I’ve followed the progess of and have been a supporter of Brooklyn Brewery since I moved to NYC in the early 90s. I was wrong. Not only did I pick up a lot of interesting business lessons, I sharpened my historical knowledge of the Brewery, which was, to my surprise, full of gaps.

    I find that life experience is the best teacher. Beer School is one of the essential text books for a degree in entrepreneurship from the university of life, as it draws on the real life successes, failures and mixed results of two regular guys who had a dream to build a great brewery.

    You don’t need to be starting a business to get something out of Beer School. It’s a damn good read, for the sake of entertainment alone! The stories of their run in with the mob, their chutzpah in getting a hot shot designer to work with them, their admirable philosophy of worker equity – there are plenty of fun, funny and revealing stories throughout the book.

    Certainly for those interested in starting a business or interested in the beer business at all, it’s a must read. Oh, and their beer ain’t half bad, either!

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