This month we had the pleasure of sitting down with entrepreneurs Chris & Lawrence Warwaruk, brothers and the founders of Farmery Estate Brewery – Winnipeg’s newest locally made brew.
Available: In all MLC and Beer Vendors in Manitoba
They’ve introduced over 180 beers from around the world to Manitobans via Luxalune Gastropub. Now they want to introduce the Manitoba Crafted Farmery to the rest of the world. The entire interview is below. Enjoy!
CPLT: Tell us the story behind how or why you started your business? What was your ‘ah-ha’ moment?
CW & LW: We had an opportunity to visit rich Craft beer territory in Wisconsin, US. Typical beer establishments in this area featured only beers brewed locally. Domestic national brands were declining in popularity. Craft-style beers were the future. We developed the Luxalune Gastropub concept, and launched offering over 170 craft beers from around the world in 2008.
Manitoba’s craft industry hasn’t seen the impact nor trend of this movement yet. The opportunity to get on the ground floor of this emerging and growing niche industry was exciting.
Fleshing out our concept was paramount. Combining the interest in getting back to our farm roots, creating a value added product that was scalable and worked on a smaller footprint of farmland resulted in the Estate Brewery concept. Single sourcing the ingredients that go into Craft beer was the next evaluation of the industry. We wanted to develop something unique, memorable and exclusive.
Our ah-ha moment was being exposed to the variety and selection of craft beers. That was 3 years ago.
CPLT: Describe the vision for your business now vs. when you first had the idea to start your business (share any learnings you feel other entrepreneurs should know about the evolution of ‘vision’)?
CW & LW: We are on the same path with respect to our vision from the start. What has changed is what should come first, the brewery or beer. The investment into the infrastructure is sometimes the nails in the coffin. We concluded if the opportunity arose to develop our beer style, brand and packaging get it co-brewed at a sister craft brewery and enter the market with our product before the investment of the infrastructure.
CPLT: What were the very first things you did after your ‘ah-ha’ moment?
CW & LW: The very first thing after the ah-ha moment was to develop different models showing the impact of cost of investment against the hypothetical sale ability of our future product. Then, develop our recipe, then find someone to brew for us.
CPLT: What is your view
on the creation of a written business plan as the foundation of your start-up vs. rolling up your sleeves and start selling something? Which did you do?
CW & LW: They [business plans] all are winners. What in my opinion is the business plan is what research is done, notes taken and ongoing modifications to ensure success. This continues. Therefore how can
this be a plan? Therefore what is created at the start is more of a model. Support for
an idea is generally made on the principals and their commitment to success and ‘stick-with-it-ness’.
CPLT: How much seed money did you start with? Where did it come from? What is your view on self financing vs. getting financing from external sources (friends, family, fools, angels, VC’s, crowdfunding, etc.) to get your business off the ground?
CW & LW: We started with zero seed money and self funded up to this point. Access to cash doesn’t guarantee success but it eliminates a lot of time spent in the process. We always say, “it’s going to take time or money”.
CW & LW: Biggest success to date was launching our beer in the bottle before Christmas 2012. No failures yet…(cross my fingers)
CPLT: Are there useful tools or resources (ie. apps, websites) that you would like to share with the Catapult entrepreneurial community?
CW & LW: Everything starts with Google.
CPLT: What three pieces of advice would you like to impart on the Catapult entrepreneurial community?
CW & LW: I think the three greatest lessons we’ve learned are:
- Be open to advice.
- Be firm with your idea.
- Never stop.
CPLT: This last question is your opportunity to share a view about entrepreneurship and/or ask the community something that you would like to know. What is your rant and/or question?
CW & LW: My question to the industry which would be our consumer and hopefully promoter. Is. Why aren’t beer ingredients required to be labeled on bottles or cans? They should in my opinion. People should demand this.
CPLT: Very lastly, would you like to make a special offer to our audience? If so, what is the offer?
CW & LW: We would like people to give us their broken shovels so we can re-purpose their handle for a tap at your favorite drinking hole. This we’ll negotiate a fair trade for maybe one of our t-shirts.
CPLT: Thank you for your time and candid answers Chris & Lawrence!
CW & LW: Thank you Jason!