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Partnering vs. Owning by Small Business – a Smart Case Study


Happy first cans customer.

BareWolf Brewing completed their first canning procedure this past week and produced 250 cases of three different brews in one day. Now, let’s go through how they got to that point both from both building demand as well as capital equipment directions. They have been very strategic and very detail focused in their execution which other companies can learn from.

BareWolf has methodically built up product demand in multiple channels. They started with delivering kegs / logs to restaurants and bars with success in both the number of establishments serviced as well as volume demand from each. They were also hearing from some others that they needed to deliver beer in cans for those locations; as well as getting into actual beer stores. They opened their tasting room in the brewery as soon as they were permitted to growing crowds with excellent results and the continued request – when will cans be available for takeout sales? Their focus has continually been on quality and the answer to cans availability is NOW.

BareWolf has also been very diligent in the deployment of available capital. They have invested heavily in the required brewing vessels and in meeting sales demand. They have also been smart about partnering with a portable canning operation partner. Sure, they could have expended more capital in a canning equipment line, but that expense would also have required a larger lease footprint before they ever proved the case for adequate demand. The canning truck rolled in last week, unloaded the equipment and cans, and out popped 250 cases. This step was completed on a variable expense basis tied to the amount of beer actually canned – again smart.

Other small businesses should learn two lessons from the above – use partners to perform tasks you currently cannot and ensure that the partner’s quality focus is near to your own. And, keep the costs variable to volume – where your expenses will be tied directly to revenues generated. Finally, the demand was created prior to the supply being expensed.

We @CI_Works want BareWolf to grow, acquire additional equipment, and expand their space……but intelligence and persistence pays off in a business with a long term future rather than a big spender or obsessed doing it all by yourself-ER.

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