I’m Nick Calaway, and I am the owner of Ahnapee Brewery. We manufacture beer, but we’re really in the hospitality industry of serving beer, and really trying to connect with clients. We started just homebrewing, and I would be able to bring in my homebrews to the brewers at Titletown Brewing Company where I worked a long time ago. My skillset that I pulled from Titletown was the general manager’s skillset, and the management side of things.
Now I’m not just general managing and helping with the brewing; now I am the accountant, and I am the HR, and I am all of those things that you don’t see in the background. Family’s been a huge support system for me, along with the team here at Ahnapee; they’ve been a huge support system as well, and without those cheerleaders really cheering me on, we wouldn’t be sitting here today. You need somebody to push you a little bit, and the bank was one of those people pushing and being a cheerleader and saying, “You can do this by yourself.” Without that push, not only from them, but from everybody else, again, I don’t know that I would be here.
For a new entrepreneur, I would say it’s ten times more work than you think it’s going to be. It’s the small struggles, but when you fall down you’ve got to pick yourself up by the bootstraps and keep on moving; if you can do that, I think you can make it. It’s empowering to be able to come in and wake up every day and know that I have people looking up to make sure that they’re gonna have a job, and make sure that I can provide that for them. Making beer, for me, is part of a process, and the reward is the finished product. It’s not now about brewing beer, it’s about the whole business.