Interview: New Employee Owners talk Fundraiser and Brewery

Our new employee co-owners, Stan and Brandon, sat down for a Q & A with founders Jocelyn and Aaron Fabbri to talk about their past, and the future of the business.

Aaron Fabbri (AF): When did you guys start brewing?

Stan: We really started brewing when we moved to Portland area almost six years ago.  Before that, we had dabbled a little bit in college.

AF:  Why did you start making your own beer, and what has kept you interested in brewing over the years?

Brandon:   One of the reasons we started was because we were broke.  We realized we could save money by making our own beer.  In the process we discovered the freedom of expression, and the endless possibilities you have when you make your own beer.  We like the learning process, too, and don’t think we’ll ever stop learning.

AF:  We hear you may be starting a new brewery in the same building.  Curious about your motivations.  When we founded Homebrew Exchange (HBX) over seven years ago, we saw a need for a store with better hours that was closer to where we lived.  We also wanted to be part of the local small business scene.  There is something satisfying about getting to know your community by providing a service.  What was the trigger that made you two want to start your own brewery?

Stan: We’ve been thinking about starting a brewery for a long time.  Originally, we saw a need for more and different kinds of breweries in North Portland.  Our idea has been to open a brewery with a local, charitable focus, that concentrates on being a force for good.  We particularly care about helping underserved communities and children.  We love the idea of merging our love for beer with a business model that gives back to the local area.

Brandon:  We hope to use collaboration, where others come in and design and brew a beer with us, as a way to raise awareness and funds for important causes.  That particular beer would have a story behind it; it was brewed with someone in the community to raise funds for a particular local cause.  

AF: Cool, I like the idea of a recipe being associated with a cause.  It sounds like you haven’t launched the business yet. Why are you talking about it now, before you’re ready to open for business?

Brandon:  We want to include our friends and customers  in the process of building this new business.  Stan and I have benefited from a very supportive community in North Portland.  We’ve been discussing these ideas with employers (Woodlawn Coffee and HBX) and customers, and have found their feedback and encouragement very valuable.

AF: On that note, you are having a fundraiser this Saturday (Oct 15) at Woodlawn Coffee and Pastry.  What is that event about?

Stan:  We are throwing a party to thank our supporters and raise some funds for early startup costs.  We also want to engage with like-minded folks who are interested in our ideas about brewery that works to improve the local community.

AF: Can you talk a little about the location?

Brandon:  I’ve been a barista at Woodlawn Coffee for about four years. The owner and customers have been really supportive of my ideas.  They’ve encouraged me to pursue our dream with positive feedback and cash in the tip jar.  I want to thank these folks and keep them involved in the process.  The owner of Woodlawn Coffee, Gretchen Glatte, was gracious enough to donate their space, and the staff is helping put on the event.

AF:  That is great. I love to see small businesses support their own employees becoming entrepreneurs.  HBX will donate some gear to be auctioned off at the event too.

Stan: We also have a lot of beer from our test batches that we need help drinking!

AF:  Thanks for talking with us.  We look forward to following your progress, and helping drink your test batches of beer.

Join Stan and Brandon at their fundraiser on October 15, 6-9pm, at Woodlawn Coffee and Pastry in the Dekum Triangle neighborhood.