The Martin House crew recently took a break to do our executive retreat out at the lake. It’s pretty hard to find the time to gather all hands on deck, but we managed to corral everyone for a day (and some of us overnight) at the boathouse.
Amidst the cool-guy beer drinking, the extreme Frisbee, and gourmet hot dog consumption, we did manage to talk a bit about where we were, and where we are now. Since we started with 3 people on the payroll last year, we have grown to 8. We added a ton of new accounts and expanded all over the place. It’s getting to be a bigger challenge to keep organized. Where once one person did everything, now we’ve got to compartmentalize and specialize. I’m not complaining, especially now that I am not personally doing the majority of deliveries anymore. It’s just sort of a different business.
What’s really cool is that through all of this everyone here still manages to retain a sense of family. We all work long days, but sometimes that’s because we tack on a few extra hours to hang out and drink beer together. Or bike together, or just enjoy each other’s company. So far getting bigger hasn’t diluted the soul of the brewery.
I think what we took away from the boathouse executive retreat is that we always want to keep being able to do boathouse-type executive retreats. I always want to have a business where I am friends with all my co-workers.
This applies to the brewery on a larger scale; we want to be able to keep this sense of camaraderie with everyone that makes the brewery possible. This means our customers that keep us in business by drinking our beer, our volunteers that make the tours (and canning line) run, our partners at the bars, restaurants and stores that sell our beer.
So far, I think we’re doing a good job of that. Whenever I work a tour I recognize many of our repeat customers. Usually, I know quite a few of the people working at the bars/restaurants/stores that carry us. It’s funny how many friends I bump into at MHBC events.
All in all, the retreat was great to re-frame why we are in business in the first place: To make and drink great beer and have fun doing it with our friends.