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The GenWhy Leaders Podcast

Jul 14, 2019

Episode overview:

Do you like craft beer? Entrepreneurship? Business strategy? Then you’ll love this episode of the GenWhy Leaders Podcast. We sat down with Chris Meyers, Co-Founder at Crane Brewing Company, LLC. Chris tells us how he started Crane Brewing from scratch with fellow co-founder Michael Crane and a team of experienced brewing professionals. From branding, obtaining investment capital, supply chain and business scaling - this interview is for anyone interested in starting and growing a business. 

Chris’s Why:

“It’s been a process. Not only of the business, but of myself. I never thought growing up I would want to be a business owner. I had no interest in going to business school or taking those particular courses. But this is something that became a passion of mine pretty quickly, as far as brewing goes, and I knew this is something I really wanted to do.”

Why Crane Brewing?

The company is named after Michael Crane, Chris’s co-founder. The ‘Crane” origami logo is also a play on words of Michael’s last name, but also developed brand recognition and consistency across its various beers. Origami and beer are artforms in and of themselves, and great ice-breakers for getting to know others.

How Crane Brewing got started:

Chris came from the field of veterinary medicine, but always had an underlying passion to start a brewery. Every sunday, him and his team would spend hours home-brewing small batches in one of their basements. Then they would give away a majority of that beer, hundreds of gallons at a time, while they tried to build the Crane Brewing brand. This got them connected with their first investors and distributors. It was a mix of the right people and the right pieces coming together at the right time. Crane brewed their first batch of beer in 2015. 

How and when to scale:

From the start, Crane has been smart with its business strategy. Unlike most breweries, Crane took a distribution-first strategy, before opening. They believe in focusing on a few key components to be operational at each phase of the business and maximizing revenue. Once stable in each area, then they develop additional revenue streams.

Their unique value proposition was in focusing on sour beers when they started. As they perfected receipts and built trust with consumers, they branched out into more traditional beers. Crane then built a taproom attached to the brewery in Raytown, Missouri, just outside of Kansas City. Continuing to grow, Chris and his team are finding ways to enhance the consumer experience at the taproom. Harp Barbeque is now operating out of a newly added kitchen. Crane is also brainstorming ways to expanded beer garden, and partnering with the city of Raytown on opportunities for a bike trail that will soon go right in front of the brewery, and connect to the Katy Trail. 

How to connect with Chris: