An example of small business growth momentum is Bank of America client Barebottle Brewing Co., a San Francisco-based craft brewery energizing a passionate community of beer enthusiasts to bring a unique business model to life…
Mike Seitz, a co-founder of Barebottle Brewing Co., started making his own beer back in 2008. Inspired by the historic brewing culture of Cincinnati, Seitz teamed up with friend and fellow Cornell University graduate Lester Koga to turn a passion for beer into a business venture.
By July 2016, after years of comprehensive planning, research and participation in beer competitions across the country, Seitz and Koga had relocated to San Francisco, building out a former warehouse to serve as the brewery headquarters and a public taproom, and officially opened the doors of Barebottle Brewing Company.
Bolstered by a unique business model — Barebottle releases up to five new beers each week without a flagship beer — Seitz and Koga focus on building a brewing community in the Bay Area, encouraging customers to submit recipes and even try their hand at brewing beer at home.
“Brewing is a very cool community to be a part of. It’s one of the oldest industries to work in — and also one of the most personally rewarding and enjoyable,” Seitz said. “No one really takes themselves too seriously, and they’re all willing to share.”
With 12 employees and over 400 beers produced in just under three year, Seitz and Koga are now turning their sights toward expansion, targeting a second taproom in the Santa Clara area. While beer will still be brewed in the original Barebottle location, the rapid success and popularity allowed the duo to expand their footprint.
“We’re lucky that we’ve been so successful with an expanding team to be able to open a second taproom,” Seitz said. “In order to continue to have that one-to-one relationship with consumers, this is an important step for us.”
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Lester Koga: What inspires me are flavors, and being able to integrate them in ways that hopefully no one's ever experienced before.
Lester Koga: At Barebottle, every beer that we brew has a new idea, and it's always fun seeing people's reactions. We brew to share. I'm Lester Koga, and I co-founded Barebottle Brewing Company with my friend, Mike Seitz.
Mike Seitz: Lester is one of my oldest and best friends. He and I started as homebrewers. We decided we want to do this because we love it.
Mike Seitz: Barebottle Brewing Company is a craft brewery located in San Francisco. We focus on innovation and coming out with new beers all the time.
Mike Seitz: This is such a community-based business. So on the back of every label, we actually include the home brew recipe. It's all about sharing information and creativity.
Lester Koga: We want to make sure that we never lose sight of that passion.
Mike Seitz: Running your own business, it's just a huge responsibility. That's your livelihood. Bank of America has been a great partner with us basically since the beginning.
Lester Koga: Paul reached out and said,"What is it that I can do to help you?”
Paul Fuentecilla: When I started working with Barebottle, what impressed me was how knowledgeable and how passionate Mike and Lester were about what they were doing. My job is to help make their banking easier.
Paul: Barebottle’s a part of the Preferred Rewards for Business program, so as their business grow and as their relationship with Bank of America grows, the more rewards that they get to take advantage of.
Lester Koga: The more and more we’ve used our credit card, then the more and more rewards we get from just the normal things that we do for spending. That’s really helpful as weexpand.
Mike Seitz: We're going to be opening our second location down in Santa Clara. The positive vibe that people have being here is just so rewarding and I’m excited to bring it to more places. When we decided to expand, Paul was my first call.
Paul: I really believe that they have a great product, so playing a small part in their roadmap of growth is one of the coolest parts of my job.
Mike Seitz: We have the power to make an idea a reality and add to the community
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