According to Collin McDonnell from Hen House Brewing, owning a brewery is 90% cleaning and 10% paperwork. He also says, and I quote, “HOLY HELL STARTING A BREWERY IS SO EXPENSIVE”.


Click here and let Collin tell it like it is. I can vouch that everything he is saying is true.

To those of you who are dreaming of opening your own brewery and still want to do so after reading Collin’s comments: It’s definitely tough but if you know (and I mean really know) why you want to do it, you can do it. Best of luck.

Cheers, John

So you want to open a brewery? That’s awesome! Craft beer is growing every day. There are now over 2,700 breweries in the US and another 1,700 in planning. And yes, there is room for you too.

What is your first step? Ask questions of and learn from the professionals. Whenever you see an opportunity to get a gang of pro brewers in one room talking freely about our craft, it’s a DO NOT MISS opporutnity. So if you are a homebrewer looking to up your game, or if you have dreams of going pro, the Southeastern Craft Brewer’s Symposium is for you.

This one day conference is being held at the Mariott in downtown Decatur on Saturday April 19th, from 9am to 5pm. There will be seminars on brewing and the business of beer from leaders in the craft brewing industry in Georgia. Below is a current list of seminars. The massive amount of information being passed on at this conference will be huge in your efforts to join the ranks of professional brewers. Don’t miss this awesome opportunity to learn from some of the best!


While I was out of the office all of last week with Spike, Dustin and Steve launching Terrapin in New Orleans and Baton Rouge (yeah that was a tough trip), Erin Appel wrote up a press release recapping 2013 and previewing 2014. Since I had actually already listed that as my next topic, this just became  a really easy blog post to complete.

So with no further adieu, here is what Terrapin did recently and where we are going next.




Those of you in the corporate world or who run your own business are very familiar with this time of year. It’s about budgets and projections and performance to plan.  It’s about numbers and financials and meeting bank covenants. Those items might be interesting to financial gurus and CFOs, but what about our customers? What about the beer geeks? They don’t care if we hit plan or make our budget; they care that our beer is above reproach and that our brand remains authentic.

The Golden Circle - Simon Sinek

The Golden Circle – Simon Sinek

It is extremely easy this time of year to get caught up in the number crunching and analysis. But we need to remember this is not “why” we are in business.  It is merely “how” we continue in business. Our “why” is much stronger than that.  To understand what I am referring to you need to see Simon Sinek’s TED talk on “Start With Why”, I highly recommend it. “People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it.” (Lisa Jordan passed this tidbit on to me a couple of years ago. Big shout out to her for that.)

Simon’s video is a great reminder to keep centered on what’s important. Which is “WHY”.  I can easily tell you why Terrapin Beer Company is here. It’s our Mission Statement. Continue Reading »

All my good friends know that fall/winter is my favorite time of year. I get fall fever instead of spring fever. Once temps get down to 20′s-50′s I’m ready to head outside. Football season, hiking, camping, snow boarding (yes, I do have to travel to pull that one off) and of course, darker beers.

Recently at Terrapin we created a new addition to our product line – the Terrapin Reserve Series. These are very limited-edition, small batch brews packaged in 22oz bottles hand-dipped in wax. And since this series is starting at my favorite time of year, it is also starting with my favorite kind of beer. Continue Reading »

Bubble? What bubble?

More and more new breweries are opening every day. And for each one that opens there is another doom-and-gloom prediction about the craft beer industry. Are there too many breweries? Are the consumers who prefer more flavorful beer suddenly going away? Is the bubble about to burst?

I’m a huge believer in this industry and I believe we are here to stay for a very long time. But I’ve never been able to back that up with hard facts and figures. It has just been from my experience and from speaking with others involved in this industry. So call it my gut feeling. (Should I say my beer belly feeling?)

In June the Brewers Association hired Bart Watson, a political economist with a PhD from Cal-Berkely. Impressed? I was. Bart has done lots of research since he joined the BA and we now have the facts and figures to back up my beer belly positive feeling on the craft beer industry. It’s well written and not at all BORING like you would expect from an economist. (Sorry Bart.) Continue Reading »

In July of 2013, Terrapin sold 4,030 barrels of beer. That’s 8,060 kegs. Or 55,533 cases. Or 124,930 gallons of beer. In only one month! What really brought the significance of this number home to me was when I realized it was more beer than we sold in all of 2002, 2003 and 2004 combined. Terrapin just sold more beer in one month than we did in our first three years in business!!

So of course I started reminiscing about those first three years and how different they were. In 2002 we sold 162 barrels. Only Rye Pale Ale, only draft and only in Athens and some surrounding counties. I worked every day visiting retailers trying to explain why they should support this new beer of which no one had ever heard. Then I worked all night doing the books, taxes, arranging shipping etc. Spike and I talked on the phone every night at 9pm because our minutes were free after that time! It was a tough year but six months after we started the Rye Pale Ale was picked as the best pale ale in the country at the GABF!

Terrapin begins! Classic City Brewfest in Athens, GA April 2002.

Terrapin begins! Classic City Brewfest in Athens, GA April 2002.

Continue Reading »


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