…is what we’ve been doing for the last few months. That, and hiking, mountain biking, trail running, kayaking, and seeing everything there is to see in these beautiful mountains.
Turns out that moving to Asheville was one of the best decisions we’ve ever made. That’s a relief… because it sure took a lot of effort for us to move our lives down here!
We’ve essentially been living it up since we got here. Nearly every weekend, we head into the mountains to take in the beauty that is Western North Carolina. So you know I’m not lying:
Badass, yes? And that’s just a tiny piece of what we’ve done in these mountains. I freakin’ love it here.
On top of that, we’ve been trying to visit all the surrounding towns to decide if Asheville really is where we want to be, or if there’s a nearby town where we’d rather open Twin Leaf. We’ve been to Brevard, Hendersonville, Black Mountain, Waynesville, Bryson City, and more. Each town has its own character, but they all share the beauty of the Blue Ridge Mountains.
And of course we’ve been brewing our faces off, trying to perfect old favorites, as well as experimenting with some new recipes. Our new brewing water is working well for us, and we’re churning out the goods.
We’ve also been checking out all the breweries in the area. Market research, yes?
All the while, we’ve been discussing Twin Leaf. Now’s the time to really solidify our plans so we can get ready to set them in motion. We’ve been tossing around a few ideas, and we’ve made some major decisions.
Firstly, we’ve decided that Asheville is indeed where we want to be. There are a lot of nice towns around here, but Asheville has the vibe we want for our brewery. It’s where we want to live and work. We just feel right here.
We’ve been perusing available commercial real estate to get a feel for what’s out there. There are a couple general areas we like, but we will more than likely be somewhere outside of, but fairly close to downtown.
We’ve also come to a decision that means a fairly major change to our original plans for Twin Leaf. This one took an awful lot of soul-searching, but at this point, I’m confident it’s the right thing for us to do. We’ve decided to start out as a brewery and taproom only, then add the restaurant after we’re up and running. There are a few reasons for doing this.
First, we definitely know how to run a brewery. We’ve been trained professionally as brewers, we’ve brewed in three commercial breweries, we have a long list of kickass recipes that are ready to go, we’re confident in our brewing skills, and we have a ton of contacts (and friends) in the industry to call on if we need advice.
On the restaurant side… well, let’s just say that there’s a lot to learn. Opening a brewpub means opening two businesses simultaneously. You essentially have to treat the brewery and the restaurant as separate businesses. This makes things… complicated. To try to open both sides of the business at the same time on our own would spread us pretty thin, so we’d need to hire a lot of staff to do it right.
On top of that, a brewpub requires much more start-up capital. Starting off with the brewery only will mean a lot less fundraising, which is a major time suck in the start-up process.
Bottom line, we want to open Twin Leaf sooner rather than later. Starting with just the brewery means we can start sooner. We’ll be able to raise start-up money faster, we’ll be able to build out faster, we won’t have to hire staff (except probably a few bartenders), cost of operations will be cheaper, and things will just be a whole lot less complicated. Yes, this means we won’t generate as much revenue in the beginning since we won’t be selling food. But we’re okay with that. The faster we start up, the sooner we start generating money to put towards rent and utilities.
Once the brewery is up and running and we’re making money, we’ll be able to focus on the restaurant as a separate entity. We can take the time to find exactly the right people to hire, focusing particularly on finding a general manager and a head chef. And, you know, if we’re lucky, we’ll be able to use revenue from the brewery to fund the restaurant.
So here’s the new plan. We’re currently fine-tuning the business plan, working particularly on the financial side of things, and generally just getting our shit together. Once everything is laid out, we raise our start-up capital, scout locations, secure a place, get our licensing, build out the brewery, and start making beer. Our goal is to hit GO in 2013, and open our doors in 2014. But really the goal is more like ASAP.
As far as the restaurant goes, we’ll do it when the time is right. We won’t be putting a timeline on this until after Twin Leaf is selling beer. Luckily, there are some fabulous food trucks in the area that we’d love to work with, BYOF will be encouraged, and we may also provide snacks. You won’t go hungry, my friends.
These are the new plans. We’re ready to kick some ass.