The Path Forward - A Switchyard Brewing Update

"It's impossible to connect the dots looking forward."

One year ago today, we celebrated together as we smashed our $30,000 goal, closing out our Kickstarter Staff Pick #ShareOurCraft campaign. With 301 backers we raised $42,560. Kickstarter was founded on the idea that communities have the incredible ability to come together to support an idea that needs to be developed and crafted. Still to this day, we are in awe that Switchyard remains one of the most-funded brewery projects on Kickstarter.

It's awful tasting medicine, but what happens after a Kickstarter campaign ends is the beginning of the hard issues; securing a location, organizing investor commitments, locking down trademarks, working with attorneys, and pushing through red tape - just to name a few.

For first-time entrepreneurs like us who have successfully raised money on Kickstarter, it's a sobering reminder that the cash raised isn't really from investors but from folks who simply want to drink our beer. Whereas all rewards have been distributed and we love seeing our backers in their Switchyard tees and filling their stainless steel growlers around town, we remain humble and understand that you donated your hard earned money to help ignite our dream.

Simply put, our dream has shifted direction and we will not be located on the vacant property at 1320 S. Rogers Street.

We individually read and respond to every customer e-Mail. Throughout the summer we kicked around unique ideas and concerns from our Kickstarter Switchyard Starters and have even met with several in person to say thanks and toss around ideas over a few beers. After refocusing our concept and revising the business plan (we're on revision #19) we are so much closer than before.

To us, refocusing is not synonymous with "cutting corners". Steve Jobs once said, "When you're a carpenter making a beautiful chest of drawers, you're not going to use a piece of plywood on the back, even though it faces the wall and nobody will ever see it." For us to sleep well at night, the aesthetic, the quality, the customer experience, our culture has to be carried all the way through - we absolutely will not compromise.

So, what's next for Switchyard? Arguably the two most important vehicles to opening day are finances and location. Our investors need to know where we will be located and landlords want to see the money. Both vehicles must coexist and travel at the same speed to stay on the path moving forward. We are actively pursuing several locations around Bloomington and once a lease is signed, you will be the first to know.

Two years ago it was impossible to connect the dots looking forward. At the 2005 Stanford commencement ceremony, Steve said, "You can only connect them looking backwards, so you just have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in the future. You have to trust in something, your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. Because believing that the dots will connect down the road will give you the confidence to follow your heart, even when it leads you off the well worn path, and that makes all the difference." We agree wholeheartedly.

Thank you for continuing to follow and support our startup. We can't wait to share more of our story, our experience, and our craft with you soon.

 

Cheers,

The Switchyard Brewing Team

Location, Location, Location

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It's funny, as we look back on our journey in opening Switchyard Brewing Company, we have found ourselves answering the same two questions……over and over.

1) What’s your name? and 2) Where will you be located? 

At first, it was frustrating when friends and fans of our beer would ask, "So what's your brewery name?" After months of brainstorming and countless searches through the US Patent & Trademark Office (USPTO) database for available names, we finally discovered that Switchyard was seemingly not taken.

It was clear, concise, local, catchy, and not trademarked by anyone else!  We registered our website www.switchyardbrewing.com, registered our Twitter, Facebook, and other social media accounts, and submitted trademark and servicemark applications for our name and logo. It’s about a 6 month process before we get a final answer. Just one more thing we’ve found can take a long, long, long time.

Naturally, the next question was always regarding our location. Initially, we had plans in motion to locate alongside the B-Line trail in a beautiful (in the eye of the beer holder), abandoned, building on a brownfield site.  We felt it would be great to help out our community to bring life back to a blighted and forgotten building that was an eyesore on the trail. A site plan was developed, architects were brought in to bounce around ideas, and the cleanup of the site was progressing each day.  Unfortunately, there was a pretty major snag with this whole scenario. There were actually a couple of snags, but one was a complete non-starter.

In 1933, a post-prohibition law was written to keep "children and church-going people away from the evils of alcohol". This law,  IC 7.1-3-21-11 does not allow an establishment to open within 200 feet of a church or school. The beautiful brick, historic building we convinced ourselves would be the perfect home of Switchyard was too close to an existing church.

So, as we continue our search for another site for Switchyard, we are keeping in the forefront of our minds the principles that matter to us most; community, family (including the furry ones), and customer experience. We have looked into numerous spaces around Bloomington, but nothing has felt like the perfect fit. 

 Until now!

In the coming week, we will again be collaborating with architects to work on designs for a brewpub that Bloomington will be proud of and will hold true to our principles of community, family and our customer experience. We hope to attract a large audience, giving residents and tourists of Bloomington a place to come relax, meet with friends, and enjoy great conversation.

We will continue to blog through our journey in opening Bloomington's next brewpub. Check back for updates in the coming weeks, and until you can drink one with us, enjoy a pint from and support one of our local Bloomington breweries.