StickerGiant Chats with Ted Risk of Wibby Brewing about Starting a Brewery and Lager Love in Longmont, CO
In this Stickers on the Mic episode, Andrew and Hamish sit down with Ted Risk, co-founder of Wibby Brewing in Longmont, CO. Hear how this brewery got started from an idea between friends, and has turned into a local favorite offering up a variety of lagers.
Want to Read it Instead? Check out the Full Transcription Below!
[00:00:17] Andrew: Hello everybody. Welcome back to the Sticker on the Mic Podcast. I'm Andrew.
[00:00:21] Hamish: I'm Hamish.
[00:00:23] Andrew: Thank you for returning with us once again for our monthly installation where we talk sticker's marketing and all sorts of fun technology. Today, we have two very special guests who are going to talk about great beers, great balls, breaking world records and marketing with stickers. We have a special guest. We have Ted Risk from Wibby Brewing here to talk about how they got started as a business and how they promote their brewery, but let's kick it off right now. Top of mind. Hamish, take it away.
[00:00:53] Hamish: For me this week, it's a big one. We're talking Guinness World Records. We have the latest bouquet came out this week, and this one's extra special for us because, Saul, the giant sticker ball right here behind Andrew is in the Guinness World Records as the world's largest stickable at 237 pounds. It's pretty awesome. Saul was the brainchild of Jesse, our marketing director, who wanted to do something to celebrate National Sticker Day.
He thought, "You know what, let's set a world record." And Saul was built in three months. That was a huge team effort from everybody at StickerGiant. It's also really cool to have him here because the official way in for Saul was done at Wibby Brewing, so it's pretty fitting that we've got Ted here from Wibby as well. Yes, we're going to be talking more about that later. Saul is going to be making a special appearance Wibtoberfest happening this weekend.
[00:01:45] Andrew: That's right. That is a special sign copy by Saul himself. If you go out and you buy your Guinness Book of World Records and you want it signed, send it our way. We'll have Saul sign it, throw in some stickers and we'll send it back to you. So, without further ado, we also want to talk a little bit about Sticker's top-of-mind. I've got a couple that I wanted to shout out that we talked a little bit about on the blog from last week. This is this cool Cartman Phish donut-dress sticker to celebrate the Phish shows here in Colorado.
That was from one of our customers, Funk Your Face. There're some other stickers on the front of my laptop that that group printed up as well. We were super psyched about that. Speaking of world records, we have an awesome set of customers. The STL Sticker Swap, where they're trying to set a world record for amount of stickers put on a city bus.
We'll have that blog post up this weekend and they're out there in the STL right now in St. Louis trying to do that. Shout out to those folks. Good luck with your campaign. We love the world records. This was a roadside attraction. He's on roadsideattraction.com. Saul is, and you can come in and visit him whenever you want if you're out there in podcast land, of course.
[00:02:47] Hamish: Yes, definitely, come in and he's covered in everybody's name. We have these sweet name tags. For anybody who comes to visit, write your name on one of these, add to Saul and we're going to keep growing him. Yes, who knows how big he might be in like 10 years' time?
[00:03:00] Andrew: They just grow up so fast. Right?
Anyway, without further ado, we do want to bring on our special guest to get dive right into talking about marketing and stickers. Ted Risk, from Wibby Brewing is going to come around here and have a seat with us and we're going to chat a little bit with Ted about starting a brewery. There it is. Look at this. Look at that.
[00:03:23] Ted: Wouldn't be a Friday morning with the gentleman from a brewery without a Nice Stein. There you go. Cheers. Thank you for having me.
[00:03:33] Andrew: Slancha and all of the various salutations. Ted, it is super exciting that you are here. Not just because podcasts are fun, but because you were where we weighed Saul and you were super-psyched about that. That was now January of 2016. You are coming up on the two-year anniversary.
[00:03:55] Ted: How about it?
[00:03:56] Andrew: Of your brewery?
[00:03:57] Ted: Yes.
[00:03:58] Andrew: Hey, Hamish, why don't you ask? I'll let you take the first question.
[00:04:03] Hamish: For people who aren't familiar with the Longmont brewing scene, talk to us about Wibby, like how you got started, why you decided to do it.
[00:04:11] Ted: Sure. I want to backtrack to what you just started to talk about. It was almost serendipitous. It was really cool. I saw a tweet from StickerGiant about a would-be attempt at breaking a world record for the largest sticker ball. I just tweeted back saying, "This sounds fun and different and awesome. How can Wibby Brewing be involved?"
The next thing we know, we're hosting a mixer to have people come through with stickers on it and then we eventually had the weigh in there as well. That was actually the start of our relationship with you guys and StickerGiant as a whole. That was a pretty cool, fun foundation for us. I think that what you guys do is just so fun in nature. You guys have a fun time doing it. I'm not saying that because you let me hand you a beer, at the start of the podcast.
You guys, this office has a vibrancy to it that is really cool. I applaud you guys.
[00:05:07] Andrew: We appreciate that and, obviously, we've had our founder, John Fischer, on here and talked a lot about culture and we'll talk more about culture down the road when we talk more about businesses, but speaking of businesses though, for you all, you've got a cool little location in the south end of old town here in Longmont, but craft beer is a phenomenon right now in America that we print so many brewer stickers.
No offense. We do a lot and we do have some of your competitors here locally and nationally and it's a very, it's a burgeoning scene, but what made you say, "I want to go into craft beer." Why Longmont and tell us a little bit about how that started and maybe start with how you met Ryan because he, Ryan Wibby, is the brewer.
[00:05:48] Ted: Sure. The answer to those questions could be 45 minutes on going thing, so interject as you see.
[00:05:56] Andrew: Yes. That's like three questions.
[00:05:58] Ted: Right. Ryan Wibby and I went to college together. In Upstate New York, Ithaca college.
[00:06:02] Andrew: Nice.
[00:06:02] Ted: He studied chemistry, I studied sports management. One day his professor walked in and said, "I'm going to teach you guys the chemistry brewing." The light bulb went off in his head and he said, "I'm going to do this instead of working in a proficiency testing lab like he had intended on." So Wibby Brewing in concept and theory has been in planning for, well, over 15 years. Ryan first started working at Ithaca Beer Company, which is the local favorite in Upstate New York.
[00:06:32] Andrew: I went to Syracuse University, so I drank Ithaca beer and almost went to Ithaca myself. [laughs].
[00:06:38] Ted: Gorgeous.
[00:06:39] Andrew: That's good, the lakes.
[00:06:40] Hamish: Yes, the finger lakes.
[00:06:41] Ted: The story for Wibby really does start and pretty much end with Ryan Wibby. He was a friend in college and after college when I was living in Chicago with Martha, he was working for The Deschutes, out of Bend, Oregon, which at the time was the fifth-largest craft brewery in the country and they were launching in the market of Chicago. He reached out and said, "I'm going to be in town. I want to hang out. I'm going to stay with you guys." We said, "Of course." That was actually when we first really became friends. We had friends that were mutual friends through college, but we never really connected as true bros until that visit to Chicago. Then a year or so later, we found ourselves at High Sierra Music Festival.
[00:07:27] Andrew: That's a great festival.
[00:07:28] Ted: Quincy, California. That was magical. They've got a great vibe.
[00:07:31] Andrew: What year was that?
[00:07:32] Ted: That was 2013.
[00:07:33] Andrew: Nice.
[00:07:35] Ted: It was fantastic.
[00:07:37] Andrew: There's such a good vibe there in Quincy, it's in the Plumas County, national forest or whatever, Plumas County.
[00:07:42] Hamish: Is that right?
[00:07:42] Ted: Yes. That's just one of the best music festivals I've ever been to.
[00:07:46] Andrew: Definitely, a different vibe, they'd make a strong effort to promote a family engaging atmosphere and they've got a lot of activities for the kids and you don't see that at music festivals when you have all the beer-drinking going on that you do it for your music festivals. We were sitting there, late night one night after having had the beer fun that you do throughout the day, and I just looked across at him and I thought to myself, "This guy's going to open his own brewery and it's going to be successful." When he got up to go to bed in his Volkswagen van, I followed him over there and quite literally caught him with his pants down.
And I said, "When are you going to start your own brewery?"
[00:08:26] Andrew: True story.
[00:08:27] Ted: He half laughed, and said "Should I put my pants back on?"
[00:08:31] Andrew: I think this is a decision to be made when wearing pants.
[00:08:35] Ted: We started talking and it was 2:00 or 3:00 in the morning and the next thing we know before we even blinked, the sun's coming up, and we were excited. We realized with his beer expertise and my experience of small business and sales and marketing, we might really have a combination that could be something to build on.
[00:08:55] Andrew: That's '13. You guys don't open up until, well, we're at two years, so 2015. So, there's a two year period, you're in Chicago, you're making beers. Did you settle on a model or a specific style or what was the growth because- well, talk about your specific beers, well, a specific beer and then those varietals that you do?
[00:09:14] Ted: Sure. Before Ryan was at Deschutes, he was over at the VLB Institute in Berlin, Germany, which is a world-renowned institute. He did a six-month certified brewmaster course, and then he enjoyed it so much that he had asked the professors if they could create an internship for him to stay on and continue learning from them. He stayed for another four months and he really developed a true talent for brewing lagers, and he brewed lagers with some of the best lager brewers in the world for almost a year.
While he was over there, a gentleman named Matt Brynildson, who's the brewmaster at Firestone Walker, over in California. He visited and presented the class with a challenge to brew a lager with all American hops. That was the true, I said, light bulb went off in his head, when I talked about his chemistry professor teaching them how to brew. That was the true light bulb moment for Ryan because he realized nobody's doing this in America. You got to craft your scene, it's thriving, it's growing at double-digit growth. Every year, year after year. It's since slowed, but still on the rise.
[00:10:15] Andrew: On the back of the IPA [chuckles].
[00:10:17] Ted: On the back of the IPA.
[00:10:18] Andrew: Primarily, what as one style, the IPA is what craft beer, so much like-- You're from Chicago, Goose Island. Right? That was it for a long time or something.
[00:10:27] Hamish: Point to a couple of others [crosstalk].
[00:10:28] Andrew: Of course, but I'm just saying early in the '90s. I'm saying in the '90s when IPA was like, IPAs are these really weird beers because I've been drinking light beers.
[00:10:37] Ted: That's the truth. Nobody was focusing on craft lagers. Ryan saw that as an opportunity. He has a talent to brew lagers which takes longer. In the world of beer, you have two families, ales and lagers. The primary difference is the yeast that's used. Lager yeast responds to colder temperatures. It takes longer for the interaction of the fermentation to happen. For the sugars that get turned into alcohol. That's why you don't see a lot of craft breweries devoting their time and tank space and resources into making lagers.
[00:11:10] Andrew: Because of the length of time.
[00:11:11] Ted: Yes.
[00:11:12] Hamish: How much longer is that?
[00:11:13] Ted: It's about twice as long. It could be a whole lot longer. I mean, Left Hand lagers they're Oktoberfest for, I want to say upwards of four months. Where you can turn an ale in 10 to 14 days. All of our beers are 28 days at a minimum.
[00:11:31] Hamish: Interesting.
[00:11:32] Andrew: That's why you decide on lagers, because of its history there. How many lagers right now are on the line at the brewery?
[00:11:40] Ted: Today, nine.
[00:11:41] Andrew: Nice.
[00:11:42] Ted: Yes. We usually have between 8 and 10, but tomorrow with the party that we'll talk about in a little bit, we are tapping a new beer every hour on the hour. We'll actually have 15 beers on tap at the brewery for the first time ever.
[00:11:54] Andrew: That's a that's a big rack. I saw a picture there the other day, the first tap line was like what, six taps or four taps? Now it's, you just said 15 [crosstalk].
[00:12:03] Ted: Yes, but about a month in the opening, we realized that it wasn't very efficient to stand behind each other waiting to pour a beer. We had to expand that tap very quickly.
[00:12:12] Andrew: You decide on a style. How do you decide on Longmont, Colorado?
[00:12:18] Ted: It's a good story. Ryan's from Boulder, he always wanted to open a brewery near home. When we looked at different markets as we were developing our business plan, we looked at other markets outside of the state, but it was more than likely going to be in Colorado and more than likely going to be in Boulder.
Then things started to add up in terms of it making sense to do it in Boulder. Colorado being the mecca of craft beer in a lot of people's opinion. Us doing something that's completely differentiated in only making lagers. We thought that was a perfect way to enter what some people call a saturated market, but we call it really exciting market.
[00:12:55] Andrew: Totally.
[00:12:57] Ted: We were looking at Boulder and we were looking at real estate. The gentleman that we were working with Tanner Mason, he said, "You really got to look at Longmont." We said, "Okay." Ryan grew up in Boulder and Longmont has always been like the younger sister to Boulder.
[00:13:14] Andrew: Absolutely.
[00:13:16] Ted: Which is how I first learned of Longmont. It's just the after thought to Boulder and I'm so thankful.
[00:13:25] Andrew: I can tell you right now it’s not that way anymore.
[00:13:26] Ted: It's actually incredible. This is a city that is approaching 100,000 people and feels like a town of 5,000. It took less than six months for Martha and I to feel like this is home.
[00:13:35] Andrew: Martha's your wife. The quick segue to that, she also is doing a lot of the design work and branding. She's in the brewpub every day-- At the brewery every day. You decide on Longmont, you decide on the property.
[00:13:51] Ted: Well, so-- Sorry to cut you off.
[00:13:53] Andrew: That's okay. No, because I want to keep it going.
[00:13:56] Ted: We did decide we needed to look at Longmont. Then Ryan visited. Martha and I were still out in Chicago. Ryan had moved back to Boulder to start looking for spaces. He visited Longmont and he found our now place of business. He fell in love with it. He called me one day and he was like, "You got to get on a plane. Get out here." I was like," What are you talking about?" He's like, "I found a place. We've got a spot." I was like, "What? Where in Boulder?" He's like, "No, it's Longmont." I was like, "What are you talking about?" He's like--
[00:14:28] Hamish: He said, "Mine was at one spot."
[00:14:30] Ted: Yes, and he just started talking about the overhead doors and how we can convert those and have this wide-open space and the 20-foot ceilings and easy access for distribution. He was excited in a way that I hadn't heard in a long time.
[00:14:43] Andrew: That location, I've only lived in Longmont now for since 2003, basically. That would like across the street was the big Butterball Turkey Plant. There were ancillary buildings and there's a school like a shed and right by the police stations and right downtown. There's a lot of things going on. They since raised the factory like that. If they ever put an apartment there, that's going to be amazing for you guys.
When and if that happens.
[00:15:08] Ted: All of that was information that we didn't have yet. We were just excited about the building. I got on a plane came out. We saw the site running for the second time, obviously. And that's when I started thinking about because it is--
[00:15:24] Andrew: Look at you getting all giddy just thinking about it.
[00:15:25] Ted: Two years feel like 20 years sometimes. This was three years ago now. It's cool that tomorrow's the anniversary party. We did the visit. Then we met with two people, David Starnes, from the city of Longmont and Kimberlee Mckee, the executive director of the Downtown Development Authority. We left the space before meeting those two for lunch over the Cheese Importers feeling great about the space.
Then we met those two and learned about the redevelopment efforts that were in planning for the area that we're looking at and learned more about everything that was already happening in the downtown area from Kimberlee. It was like cemented, we're here. Which almost was a curse, because we fell in love and the classic tale of don't fall in love with a property because sometimes you handcuff yourself. We were eventually able to make it work to get that place.
[00:16:19] Andrew: How did that work with then, you were talking about business plan and the Sticker Stories Podcast is all about the business side of any business. How did you go about developing that business plan and figuring out financing and funding and all that?
[00:16:32] Ted: It was a process. We spent about a year putting together our business plan. I had learned some things in school because the sport management degree was a pretty strong business-oriented degree. Ryan, really just read a lot of books and was self-taught. He wrote the majority of our business plan based on things that he learned while reading those books. He's brilliant. I don't know if I would say it to him if he was here.
He's a genius. Anything that he needs to learn. He'll just teach himself.
[00:17:02] Hamish: Hey, Ryan this is what Ted [crosstalk].
[00:17:06] Ted: He is probably doing it right now for something that's needed at the brewery.
[00:17:09] Andrew: For sure.
[00:17:10] Ted: We took about a year to put that together in a way that we thought would be marketable to try and raise the money because we had zero dollars.
He's a beer expert, I can sell in the market. We need money, we need capital. We set out with the help of our financial advisor who is a partner and someone we work with extensively on the regular now. He took us through all sorts of exercises, like throwing every projected cost you could ever think of at a whiteboard for two hours straight. Take a half-hour off, do it again. Take a half-hour off, do it again.
[00:17:44] Hamish: Sort of a boot camp.
[00:17:46] Ted: Yes, and it was taxing but it was great. We thought we could open this brewery with $400,000 and about 3,000 square feet. We ended up raising $1.58 million and our space is 8,300 square feet.
[00:18:02] Andrew: There you go.
[00:18:03] Ted: Without the road of all of those exercises, we never would have gotten to the point where we realized, okay, if we are going to do this in our first year, that's what it looks like for what second year would look like after that. Then year five after that and year seven. Without having gone through all those thoughts, if we had taken a space that was 3,000 square feet and had the success that we were striving for, we would have been looking for a new place in two years. We would be looking for a new place right now today.
That was an experience for sure. Then we had to go find some people that saw our offering as a worthy investment. Which was a challenge in itself. About $600,000 was raised through our network of friends and family. Then we raised just under a million dollars from people we'd never met before. It did take a few reformulating of our offering. Re-strategizing what that looks like.
[00:18:58] Andrew: So you were just shopping around your book basically. Here's our book of our business and who is in.
[00:19:02] Ted: That process took a year and we actually weren't fully capitalized when we opened it. It was a couple weeks after that we took in our last check and closed the run.
[00:19:10] Andrew: Interesting.
[00:19:12] Ted: It just gets to that point of comfortability where you need to be able to operate how you intend to.
[00:19:17] Andrew: Then you got to get into the marketing and branding. I did hold up the stickers. They've got this dye-cut here with their logo. Obviously, there's a big W on there for Wibby, but talk a little bit about how the ideation and design were all about. How businesses design their stickers when we write up on the blog. How did this, like the classic Wibby Sticker come to be?
[00:19:34] Ted: Sure. This is the logo. In some respects, this is fully encapsulated in what we try to do at Wibby Brewing. We wanted to say Colorado without doing the- let's throw the Colorado flag on it and do what everybody else does.
[00:19:48] Andrew: Everybody does that.
[00:19:49] Hamish: We see a lot of those stickers. We love them, but you also have to set yourself apart with colors and shape too. Those are big parts of what design takes.
[00:19:58] Ted: I mentioned Martha is our brand manager and our graphic designer and working with actually our brother-in-law who is a designer as well. Came up with the logo concept and we just developed on it. This is probably the 27th iteration of this logo. We eventually got to a place. We want it to be simple, interesting-
[00:20:22] Andrew: There you go.
[00:20:23] Ted: -and just to be recognizable.
[00:20:25] Andrew: Totally. My kids will be like, "Oh, there's the Wibby's," when we go to other restaurants which brings me to my next question or maybe for you, Hamish, about why brewers? Why pot stickers?
[00:20:37] Hamish: I think we did the numbers the other day. We've done like 900 brewery jobs. That was probably a low estimate for 2017.
[00:20:45] Andrew: Already?
[00:20:45] Hamish: Yes, already. There's probably some unknown that we're still going to fish out of the database but why stick in breweries because we just see thousands of them.
[00:20:54] Ted: Well, we talked about it when you and Chase were out last year a little bit in that first little feature. Inevitably, when people come to a brewery, there's a lot of tourism associated with brewery business.
[00:21:09] Andrew: Especially here in Colorado.
[00:21:10] Ted: Yes. People seeking out the places that they've read about or heard about or just go into a town, Google search Longmont Breweries. Regardless of what their experience is when they're at said brewery, it's almost inevitable that at the end of the day, they're going to say, "Where are your stickers?"
It's just a way to take something with them and have a memory of the 48 minutes they spent under your roof. Stickers aren't ever going to be something that won't be a central part of the marketing that any Colorado breweries do. It's a must. That's why we have fun working with you guys and getting as many different stickers as we do. We had stickers made for our anniversary party tomorrow.
[00:21:55] Andrew: We'll get to that in a second.
[00:21:56] Ted: We had stickers made for our seasonal and released it a couple of months ago.
[00:22:01] Andrew: It's a delicious beer. We love the radler. It's their Lightshine Heles - What's the combination?
[00:22:07] Ted: Raspberry lemonade that we source from Longmont Brewery.
[00:22:10] Andrew: That's like a collaboration which is really cool. If you're in the area and you want to try something different, that's a cool one. You talk about promoting the business, you got the tourism, you have a big party coming up but in general, how do you try to grow your network as the marketing and sales director? What are you trying to do that's different?
Again, it's a competitive space like you acknowledge and the craft industry is going through some interesting labeling and packaging and association type things right now from what I follow in the industry. We follow the beer industry pretty close as much as we can because it's a core customer base. How do you bring in people in the door and then convert them to loyal Wibsters?
[00:22:49] Ted: At the core of our business plan that we talked about briefly is beer. We got to get the beer in people's hands. We're in a unique industry in that there is still a really strong opportunity to market through grassroots. If you have a quality product and you find a way to put that in people's hands in a different way than everybody else doing it the same way that they do, that's a great platform. For example, the band Phish was at Dick's Sporting Goods Park last weekend. Pink Talking Phish which we'll talk about in a bit is playing at-
[00:23:15] Andrew: Ted and I are both big Phish Heads
[00:23:29] Hamish: It's okay.
[00:23:30] Ted: That's great. Pink Talking Fish is a Pink Floyd Talking Heads Fish Fusion cover band. We were trying to think of a creative way to reach the Fish fans at the Fish shows and tell them that there's a free show at our brewery 30 minutes away the following week. We went and we finagled our way into the VIP lounge. We set up a tent right in front of gate E which is right where everybody goes into the show.
[00:23:56] Hamish: That's the main entrance like right there.
[00:23:58] Ted: Basically, we gave a beer to anyone who was 21 years old. We didn't sell any.
[00:24:03] Andrew: No, you can't do that.
[00:24:06] Ted: Lots of people do sell beers on those lots but.
[00:24:08] Hamish: You're not doing that.
[00:24:08] Ted: We have a liquor license to take care of. We weren't selling anything but we were giving a beer to anybody who shared our Facebook event. We had 26 shares going into the show on Friday night. We had 178 shares at the end of the show on Sunday night. That's 152 people that shared our event likely like-minded who like Phish who have a tendency to consider going to a Pink Talking Fish show.
[00:24:37] Hamish: Then you made up this custom sticker which is hilarious.
[00:24:40] Ted: We had a lot of fun making that sticker. Robin is our special events director and special projects director.
[00:24:47] Andrew: We're getting a close up of this.
[00:24:49] Ted: She and Martha worked extensively on that. There's some Pink Talking Fish branding. That's what the open mouths are as well as some branding of our own.
[00:24:58] Andrew: Then you've got the Oktoberfest branding.
[00:25:04] Hamish: Can you explain why you're dressed like you're dressed?
[00:25:08] Ted: This is just a normal Friday folks. Thanks for having me. See you later. Tomorrow is Wibtoberfest. It is our two-year anniversary extravaganza. Basically, it's an Oktoberfest themed party. It's going to be a whole lot of fun. It's a free show. It's a way for us to say thank you to the community for embracing us in the way that they have and allowing us to continue to pursue our dream of being a regional and ultimately national brewery because, without a foundation in the community, there is none of that possible.
[00:25:40] Hamish: National is our goal?
[00:25:41] Ted: Yes. The goal was always regional by year 5 and national by year 12.
[00:25:47] Hamish: Regional includes Colorado Springs at Fort Collins, all of Colorado?
[00:25:52] Ted: Regional is defined by output so it's 15,000 barrels. We were targeting 1,000 barrels produced and sold in our first year. We did 1,600. We're targeting 2,500 adjusted from the 1,900 that we originally had in our prospectus after our first year. We're well ahead of pace for year two. It's great. Calendar year, 2017 anyway. Tomorrow's going to be a lot of fun. We've got four different bands playing.
The whole aim is to be able to do this and always make it free to continue to say thank you. To do the things we want to do, it's a big party. We're really hoping that people do come out and have some fun and enjoy the free show. Pink Talking Fish as I mentioned, is the headliner but we've got three other bands. One of which is Polka. Polka is going to lead things off. They're going to play between every band.
[00:26:49] Andrew: This is not normal [laughteer]
[00:26:50] Ted: We're going to do a yodeling contest. We have a mustache contest. This is not normal.
[00:26:54] Andrew: I was going to say. Is this trending?
[00:26:56] Ted: If you think it looks normal, God bless you. I laugh when I look in the mirror. We're doing a lot of German Octoberfest-themed thing and then holding a competition. We've got four different food vendors.
[00:27:12] Andrew: If you had any advice, there might be someone-- If anyone has any questions out there on the line. If you had a question for Ted about running or starting a brewery or about anything we've talked about so far, we've mostly been talking about beer. Cheers. If you had to give any advice to someone was where you were five years ago, what would you present to them as like things to keep in mind if you want to start a brewery?
[00:27:43] Ted: If you are a talented brewer, go for it. If you think that there's money in beer so you want to learn how to brew and sell it, don't. Because there are a lot of people who enter this industry with that in mind. It's not that. It's a lot of work. If you don't have the passion for it, those long weeks are not going to feel right at the end because the next long week just starts six hours later.
[00:28:16] Andrew: You're going to get wet, you're going to get hot. The tanks, you're washing tanks or climbing around.
[00:28:20] Ted: I have the best job in the world because Ryan and the production team do all the serious hard labor. That's true. You better like cleaning if you're going to start a brewery. Outside of the brewing world, if you have something that you want to go for, I'd say do it. Just commit to yourself that it's going to take a workweek, every workweek longer than you could ever anticipate. You don't know what a 95-hour workweek feels like until you've done three of them in a row. It's just the truth of the matter. If you wake up smiling and go to bed smiling, then you're fine, then none of that matters but make sure that you do acknowledge that before you dive right in.
[00:29:03] Andrew: Hamish, you want to take this last question?
[00:29:05] Hamish: Finally, just to wrap it up then if you could sum up Wibby in one sentence, what would it be?
[00:29:13] Ted: Lager Love.
[00:29:14] Hamish: That works, two words.
[00:29:15] Andrew: Two words.
[00:29:18] Ted: Because it's all-encompassing. It encompasses the passion. It encompasses our point of differentiation and it encompasses the community.
[00:29:25] Andrew: You've got your StickerGiant and sticker ball shirt on from the other year. Man, that's a lot. We talked about running a small business, how you do that, making different kinds of beers. Specifically, we were talking lagers. What else did we talk about just so that we all know what we were talking about? Your show and your party, of course.
[00:29:47] Ted: One thing we didn't talk about is our team over at Wibby. You guys know a lot about a growing business and needing the right people to come on board. We are blessed. We have such an incredibly talented group of people that are so excited to contribute in different ways, and we're learning new ways that everybody can and wants to contribute daily. It's a pretty special thing. Without the 19 people that do come to work smiling at Wibby every day wouldn't be possible. It's something that I remind myself of when it's long or a difficult day. Most of them are great days. Sometimes when you have a challenging one, thinking about the people that are coming to work every day, and the fact that they're doing it and they're happy to do, this is what makes me turn a smile on my face.
[00:30:34] Andrew: We're hoping that those of you who are all around the country will have a chance to pick up a can of Wibby in the next few years, hopefully, on the shelf near you. If you are in the region, definitely, come on up to Longmont, we have a really cool thing called the Brew Trolley, which will take you to Wibby and all the other places in the area, which is nice they drive you around. That's a cool little thing we got here and it's very walkable to downtown Longmont and you can just sample the many things that are happening here. Any other parting words for our friends out there in podcast land?
[00:31:04] Ted: Well, we were talking about marketing, we went straight to grassroots, but we do some of the other things that are more along what you would think of immediately when you think of marketing. We do everything on social as frequently as we can. We've got targeted audiences that we market to on Facebook and Twitter and Instagram. We do some print advertising. We do supplement our grassroots efforts with some of the things that you need to do because to get your message out to people that have never heard, you need to try different avenues as well.
[00:31:36] Andrew: That does remind me the Great American Beer Fest is coming up. You are obviously going to be a part of that too. Right? If you do many thousands of people traveled to Denver and Colorado for that event, and you will find the beer on tap, of course, at the show. What did you enter for this year?
[00:31:50] Ted: Into competition, we enter a Lightshine Heles so just what we're enjoying, it's our flagship lager, very traditional German style. We entered our Moondoor Dunkel, which is the dark lager that we brew with baker's chocolate. That's one of the beers. Our beer concept we start with the traditions of German-style lager Brynn and then put the American craft twist on it through creative ingredients. That is an example of one that doesn't adhere to the Reinsheitsgebot, the German purity law, because we add chocolate to it.
[00:32:19] Andrew: That'd be a no, no, but it's a yes, yes when it comes to your customers [laughs].
[00:32:22] Ted: Exactly, and so those--
[00:32:24] Andrew: People love that beer for sure.
[00:32:26] Ted: Yes, yes. Those are both the year-round beers, and our third year-round beers are with the IPA style lager. That's maybe five different American hops and all German mulled, so we entered that one as well. Then our Double Dunkle. You can enter four beers into competition. The Double Dunkle was similar to the Moondoor, but we use twice as much choco-malt, so it's seven and a half percent instead of five and a half. Then we log it on Madagascar and Philippines for three weeks.
[00:32:51] Andrew: Wow.
[00:32:52] Ted: That's a fan favorite for sure. We get some hate mails when it comes offline because it's seasonal. We also entered a Doppelbock into the program competition. Our brewing team went to a local homebrew competition and met some of the brewers and connected with one and invited them to brew with us over at Wibby--
[00:33:10] Andrew: A pro-amateur, obviously. Sorry.
[00:33:12] Ted: Yes.
[00:33:12] Andrew: Yes, my bad.
[00:33:13] Ted: No, but publishers feel that up more, but we did a Doppelbock and it's really, really delicious.
[00:33:19] Andrew: Those will be on tap at GABF for all those craft beer aficionados out there. If you're going to be in the Denver area, come on up and see the world's largest sticker ball and, of course--
[00:33:29] Ted: Come see Saul.
[00:33:30] Andrew: Come see Saul here, but head down to Wibby, it's actually on the way to the main highway.
[00:33:35] Ted: Yes, we actually, we don't deliver or sell down in Denver yet. We're going to be opening that market in the spring.
[00:33:40] Andrew: Just on tap at the show.
[00:33:42] Ted: Right, but in conjunction with GABF since we'll be down there all week, talking to people about our beer. We have partnered with six different bars and restaurants, and eight different liquor stores for a one time drop-
[00:33:54] Andrew: Nice.
[00:33:54] Ted: -the week prior so that we can have [crosstalk].
[00:33:56] Andrew: So there's some marketing there, right? There's some sort of guerrilla-style, like, get out in front of the customer, even ahead of--
[00:34:02] Ted: Right. When they say where can we find you? We don't have to say you can't in Denver. We can say you can find us here. It'll be gone in a week, but we'll be back in the spring full time.
[00:34:10] Andrew: Scarcity that is almost like a marketing tactic too, and in many ways beers, especially seasonal, and you're like one-offs that you have at the top that's all about scarcity and when it leaves, you’re out of luck for that time period.
[00:34:21] Ted: That's what some of the beers that are being released tomorrow. We save one keg of a lot of the beers we made over the last four months.
[00:34:27] Andrew: For some special beers. For the Wibtoberfest that's happening here in Longmont at Wibby Brewing, there will be free music, there will be lots of activities, there will be this man dressed this way pouring beers for all the people and the whole team at Wibby Brewing, we want to obviously-- We've enjoyed our partnership we'll keep it going.
We'll keep the love for Saul there for sure. We'll let you go. You probably got to go sell some beer, I bet. That's probably the next order of business for you. We got a few things. If you want to hang out and talk, we're going to answer some listener questions that have been sent in or you can leave the chair. It's nice to have you here. Ted, we're not kicking you out.
[00:35:02] Ted: Thanks, buddy. No, I'll sit over here. If you got anything for me, just call me on back
[00:35:06] Andrew: We'll holla back. If someone hollas in, we'll get you back on the horn, but we don't want to take up your time.
[00:35:12] Hamish: Thanks so much.
[00:35:13] Ted: Thanks, Hamish. I appreciate you guys.
[00:35:14] Hamish: Yes, sir. Goodbye.
00:35:16] Andrew: Absolutely. That is our special guest. Our other special guest is still here and he's hanging out doing his thing, doing his sticker ball thing. We had some questions that were sent in. We have a form on our site. Thank you to everybody who got in touch with us after the last show and submitting their sticker stories.
We're currently working through those, we've been reaching out to you, and we will try to get new guests in, we'll dial you in. If you want to fly to Longmont, come on over. In general, if you want to do that, you can go to our stickergiant.com/podcast page. There's a form on there that you can submit. Hamish, I'm going throw this to you now, for the listener questions.
[00:35:56] Hamish: Yes, just to reiterate what Andrew said, we want to say thanks to everybody that submitted to tell their sticker story and possibly come on the show. You know due to lots of submissions, we can't always get to everybody, but we want to try and answer some of those questions that came up, to make sure that we're giving people what they want. The first one we had was, this was from Peter at firstname.lastname@example.org. He wanted to know, how we balance time and profit when we get artwork that isn't ready to print?
[00:36:25] Andrew: That's a really good question because one of our core values here is fast at StickerGiant. That's really important, but then the next one is quality. We have a three-person in our team that touches every single piece of artwork that's submitted. These three people back there, touch almost 2,000 pieces of art during a time period of a week. They make sure that if someone has a quote or request or they're checking it out or they if they send a cool sticker, like the Wibby brewing sticker, and it's not ready to go, what they're going to do is they're either going to ask them to resubmit and turn that around, or they'll say, "Hey, we have to touch this up, and this is what we'll do to do that for you."
I would say that we don't sacrifice quality for speed, but speed in our business right now, our turnaround is really important to us because a lot of times people have a big event like the Wibtoberfest, or they're going to the Fish Show and they want to get their fan art stickers out to their people, or they're doing the STL sticker swap, and they're trying to break a world record.
We got to get those stickers to them as fast as possible. I'll hit the next one from Peter, so you can answer it. He says-- Thank you, Peter, by the way. This is great. I don't know if you're out there listening, but thank you. "What is it like working with a wide variety of clientele?" We talked about breweries all day today, but in general, we have thousands.
[00:37:35] Hamish: Yes, that was the real takeaway from this. It's like we just walk with thousands of different industries like breweries are a big one, but where do you even start with the breweries? We do bakeries, labeling, promotional stickers, schools, it's back to school. Yes, ice cream shops, universities, professional sports teams. It's crazy.
I actually put this to Maddie, one of our customer service reps, because she's the person on the front line, actually, talking to customers and making sure that orders are right. I think one of her take-homes was, it's awesome how versatile our stickers are. She has to ask as many different questions as possible to make sure that our customers understand the products.
We see these stickers every single day, we know exactly what they do, but actually, if you're starting a new business, and you don't know whether you want to sticker or you want to label, it might need to be heatproof, we get all kind of crazy requests like that. Working with a wide variety of clientele, the key is, ask those questions to the customers and figure out what is the best solution for them.
On the flip side of that, that's really one of the challenges, but one of the cool things that she said was, some of her favorite Etsy brands she's discovered from working here. That's super cool that we get to find new brands that we wouldn't necessarily have heard about unless we saw those stickers.
[00:38:55] Andrew: We love those sticker stories. That's what this whole podcast is about. Thank you, Peter, for those questions. We like to like Ted was saying with Wibby, we like to help those businesses launch.
[00:39:07] Hamish: This is cool as well, just to time what Ted was saying about social media? We've got another one, Panini Petes has asked, how has social media changed our business?
[00:39:18] Andrew: Well, StickerGiant was based on John Fischer, the founder, in his blog and talking about stickers and really telling a lot of stories from the very beginning in blogs as like a focus of this strategy to start, but now there are so many more platforms, there are so many more live options. We're live on Facebook right now. With Facebook being what it is, organic traffic is going down, and that's almost like 2% of our reach.
Pete, at Panini Pete’s, you're probably aware of the paid strategy for Facebook reaching them effectively and there are two sides to this. There's organic and there's paid traffic. I'm working on our content, doing storytelling, social media, getting stuff on LinkedIn, Twitter, Pinterest, Google Plus, Google My Business, Instagram, Snapchat, every single day. Medium, we use every platform that's available to us. We're always taking pictures throughout the shop all day long. We boost those a little bit with a little bit of spend here behind that and then there's you, Hamish.
[00:40:11] Hamish: I think the key thing, boosting posts and stuff and help get that content out there, it's a pay to play environment now especially on Facebook. If you want to reach your customers even if it is just a blog post you want to share, you got to put a little bit of money behind that. The other side of that is the kind of paid advertising and making sure that you have an effective call to action, something that you want your customers to do when they see your advert. We do a whole bunch of videos.
We've got Chase in the back here who does some awesome video content for us, and that's really geared at getting people to engage on Facebook, get onto our website, and check out our stickers. Having that content side of things but then having a more advertising focus, get a good call to action and get somebody to make a purchase or get a quote from us.
[00:40:57] Andrew: Pete, as you're saying social media, we're paying on those social platforms. Of course, we're using Google AdWords and Bing and Yahoo and all those other sorts of the natural advertising platforms. Specific to your question is the tips are tell stories, real people and engage with them. That is, of course, going to be the most important thing you can do. Don't go chasing, pick one number and you can then go from there. That is most of the questions we've got for this round and we'll get some more next time. We've got the form up on our page, it's stickergiant.com/podcast. We'd love to hear from you, please, holler at us. We'll get in touch. If you're nearby, come on by, seize all the sticker ball, head over to that party this weekend. You can find the podcast on all the places after the fact. We're on iTunes, Google Play Stitcher, SoundCloud, Radio Public. Your podcatcher app, if you want to listen back to this or if you're just coming to us now, we're on all those platforms, of course.
Thank you so much for your time today. We had a good time with Ted and Hamish. Thank you for bringing that top of mind too with the Guinness. That was pretty rad. We're pretty psyched about that so you'll see that out in the world. Any last thoughts for us this weekend?
[00:42:08] Hamish: I think we just got to say a big thank you, Ted, for coming on the show and talking about Wibby Brewing. Obviously, Saul ever-present in the front of the show making a guest appearance, now Guinness world record holder. Obviously, thanks to everybody who submitted questions and also sent in their sticker stories, keep them coming. You could be sitting where Ted was at today telling your story to our audience. As we like to say here, every sticker has a story. We'll be seeing you next month. Thank you so much, everybody.
[00:43:10] [END OF AUDIO]
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