MicroBrewr 020: Beer for every man, woman, and child in Big Sky Country
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Cathy Smith and her husband opened Philipsburg Brewing Company in Philipsburg, Montana. They found a cool, old building, built in 1888, spent a few years fixing it up, and hired Mike Elliott to be their pro-brewer.
In August 2012, Philipsburg Brewing opened to a crowd of about 100 people—and that’s in a town with a population of about 850!
None of them had ever owned a brewery before, but they’re business is doing fantastic. They say that their biggest mistake was not being ambitious enough. They currently are operating a 10-BBL system, and are planning to expand to larger facility with a 50-BBL system within a year!
Cathy tells us why they walk customers to the door. Mike tells us about his invention for the bar.
They are both great speakers and this interview has tons of fantastic advice, such as:
- Hire great people
- Put customers first
- Give quality in every area
- Reach out to other breweries
“The brewery business is an amazing business,” says Cathy. “We’re not all competition, we’re all in it together.”
“People will let you pick their brains to a surprising extent,” adds Mike.
You won’t guess their answer to the question, Cans or bottles? They have some great thoughts on the dilemma.
From Adeen McKuin: What’s your favorite beer?
- Brewing Up a Business: Adventures in Beer from the Founder of Dogfish Head Craft Brewery by Sam Calagione.
- BeerAdvocate magazine.
- Books about sales.
- Microbiology textbook from the university bookstore.
Check out the entire list of recommended books, click here.
An upcoming beer style:
- It’s a Wonderful Life (1946) movie.
- A River Runs Through It (1992) movie.
- California Common / Steam Beer style described on Beer Advocate.
- What San Francisco Giants Brewfest taught me about the future of lagers by Nathan Pierce’s blog, June 7, 2014.
- Beer Advocate.
You can reach Cathy Smith, Mike Elliott, and Philipsburg Brewing Company at:
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Good stuff, Nathan! To answer your “podcast length” question: I think that 30 minutes is a good target length. However, if the interview is good, don’t feel like you necessarily have to cut it down unless it goes over an hour or so. If it’s entertaining (I really enjoyed Nigel from Horsefly, for example), people will keep listening. Keep up the good work.
/ Gary (Troy, MI)
Gary, thanks for the feedback. Rick also commented that 60 minutes is a good length. So I guess I’ll shoot for 30 minutes, but usually it will go over and I won’t feel too bad about that, knowing that you guys are enjoying the content. Thank you, both of you!
I think 60 minutes is a good time. You can get a lot of information in an hour interview.
Rick, thanks for your input. I really appreciate it.