Beer School: Bottling Success at the Brooklyn Brewery
"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 is an account of a great and welcome
—Michael Jackson, The Beer Hunter(r)
"An accessible and insightful case study with terrific insight
for aspiring entrepreneurs. And if that's not enough, it is all
—Professor Murray Low, Executive Director, Lang Center for Entrepreneurship, Columbia Business School
"Great lessons on what every first-time entrepreneur will
experience. Being down the block from the Brooklyn Brewery, I had
firsthand witness to their positive impact on our community. I give
Steve and Tom's book an A++!"
—Norm Brodsky, Senior Contributing Editor, Inc. magazine
"Beer School is a useful and entertaining book. In essence, this
is the story of starting a beer business from scratch in New York
City. The product is one readers can relate to, and the market is
as tough as they get. What a fun challenge! The book can help not
only those entrepreneurs who are starting a business but also those
trying to grow one once it is established. Steve and Tom write with
enthusiasm and insight about building their business. It is clear
that they learned a lot along the way. Readers can learn from these
—Michael Preston, Adjunct Professor, Lang Center for Entrepreneurship, Columbia Business School, and coauthor, The Road to Success: How to Manage Growth
"Although we (thankfully!) never had to deal with the Mob, being
held up at gunpoint, or having our beer and equipment ripped off,
we definitely identified with the challenges faced in those early
days of cobbling a brewery together. The revealing story Steve and
Tom tell about two partners entering a business out of passion, in
an industry they knew little about, being seriously
undercapitalized, with an overly naive business plan, and their
ultimate success, is an inspiring tale."
—Ken Grossman, founder, Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
Preface Steve and Tom Introduce the Brooklyn Brewery.
Chapter 1. Steve Tells How Choosing a Partner Is Like a Second
Lesson One: Even a Dog Can Shake Hands.
Chapter 2. Steve Discusses the Importance of Building a Solid
Lesson Two: Is It a Business or a Family Business?
Chapter 3. Tom Talks about Creating the Business Plan: A
Money-Raising Tool and More.
Lesson Three: The Business Plan Won’t Be Graded on a Curve.
Chapter 4. Tom Asks, “What’s the True Mission of the
Lesson Four: Being Flexible If the Mission Statement Becomes “Mission Impossible”.
Chapter 5. Steve Discusses the Keys to Successfully Motivating
Lesson Five: Feeling Good Is No Substitute for Prudent Controls.
Chapter 6. Tom Tells the Story of Their Dot-Com Revolution:
Fishing for Finance and Failing.
Lesson Six: Chasing Money Is Not a Business Strategy.
Chapter 7. Steve Talks about Building a Brewery in
Lesson Seven: Sometimes You Stand Alone.
Chapter 8. Steve Discusses Publicity: The Press Wants You!
Lesson Eight: A News Release Can Go a Long Way.
Chapter 9. Steve Reveals How the Revolution Kills Its Leaders
Lesson Nine: Hiring and Firing.
Chapter 10. Tom Talks about Cashing Out and Reinventing the
Lesson Ten: Only You Will Know When It’s Time to Sell.
Chapter 11. Tom Wants to Know If You Have What It Takes.
Lesson Eleven: There Are No Entrance Exams for Entrepreneurs.
TOM POTTER cofounded the Brooklyn Brewery in 1987. He served as its CEO and chairman until his retirement in 2004. Previously, he was an assistant vice president at Chemical Bank, where he financed the acquisition of assets valued in excess of $1.5 billion. Potter graduated from Yale and has an MBA from Columbia.