What is Panic Brewing?

by Gary Gulley on March 10, 2014 · 8 comments

in Branding, Marketing/PR

Whoa! Positioning solved! Suck it Kiser!

Whoa! Positioning solved! Suck it Kiser!

I very recently hired my friend Kim Leshinski of Hail to the Ale fame to create the Panic Brewing brand. By “brand” I’m referring to more than just the logo, although that’s a big piece of it and that will be Kim’s primary focus during this iteration. The current logo was great as an identity to get out there, be seen, and help churn the waters for investors, banks, and future customers. It was always going to be a temporary logo and it has served its purpose well. My huge thanks goes out to Scott Olson who created it.
Scott came up with the entire idea of the dynamite and the “Ka-boom” and those will both always be part of the Panic identity forever.

Alas, it’s time to go far deeper into the identity of Panic Brewing. In order to do that, I have to provide Kim with a feel of what Panic is, where it’s going to go, and how my personality will be a part of it. These and other intangibles will guide her as she creates the new Panic Brewing brand. That brand will find its way to beer cans, beer delivery trucks, tap handles, cans, shirts, hats, my scrotal tattoo, etc.

So I have homework to do for Kim and I decided that the homework would manifest itself as this blog post. Forgive me while I try to tease the Panic brand out of my head as I write this post. This could get interesting.

First, what does “brand” mean to me? Hmmmm. My corporate identity? Yes. The actual logo(s) and color palettes I’ll be using for everything? Sure. But brand is much bigger than that. According to this site, brand means “the sum of all available information about a product, service or company”. That’s probably vastly over simplified, but I’m not a branding/marketing wonk, so that works for me for the purposes of this post.

And then there’s something Kim and Michael Kiser of Good Beer Hunting like to talk about: “positioning”. According to this site, brand positioning “enables a brand image and identity to instantly have meaning for consumers and differentiate it from competitor brands”. I’m not sure that really captures the idea, but I suppose it’s somewhere in the ballpark. Kim and Michael would also say that there’s an emotional component of positioning as well. A connection that a person feels with a brand in a way that’s most likely quite different than with any other.

Apple would definitely be that for me. I have a very strong emotional connection to Apple going back many years, well before the iMac even. We could go into that for hours (and debate it with Android lovers), but to me there’s a very unique connection I feel with Apple that I have with no other brand of any kind. At the end of the day, it really comes down to the fact that I LOVE to use their products and I HATE using competitors products. There’s an aesthetic, an elegance, and a simplicity that I find incredibly compelling with the MacBook Pro, iPhone, iPad, Mac OS X, iOS, Apple TV, etc. And the way they all integrate together seals the deal for me.

So how does Panic Brewing fit into this insane world of craft beer? Can Panic carve out an identity as distinct and sought after as Apple, but in the craft beer world? There are so many brands, many very unique and distinct. How does Panic carve its slice in the craft brewing landscape? Perhaps I should start with Panic Brewing’s purpose. If I were to distill down all of the things that I think Panic is or will be I think it would have to be this:

Panic Brewing is about bringing joy to people. 

Probably not what you were thinking, eh? Me neither. I just thought of it myself. It’s not just about making great tasting beer, but that’s the most obvious way this “joy” would manifest (ok, it’s a “mission statement”, I just didn’t want to sound all corporate buzzword bingo-y). We’re also going to bring joy with humor and we’re going to convey that humor through what we print on T-shirts, what we say during brewing tours, what we testify to during libel hearings, etc. I value humor in a person more than just about anything else and that will be a core part of the Panic Brewing DNA.

If I were to extend that “purpose statement”, perhaps I would say:

Panic Brewing is about bringing joy to people by brewing delicious beer, fostering a hysterically funny and irreverent culture, and becoming an important part of the local/neighborhood/craft beer community.

Not bad. We can tweak that quite a bit, but it gets us in the ballpark. It is vitally important to note that although our culture will be irreverent (and antithetical to American corporate culture), no one will take beer flavor, quality, and consistency more seriously than Panic Brewing. That will also be part of our DNA from day one. We will constantly strive to iterate, iterate, and iterate to improve our recipes, processes, quality, and consistency for all of our beers at all times. Doesn’t mean we can’t have some fucking fun while we do it though.

Now it seems maybe the challenge for Kim is going to be how to meld this idea of joy, humor, dedication to the craft, and some fucking dynamite into a cohesive brand.

Glad I’m not the one doing it.

Cheers,

G

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That’s a Wrap!

by Gary Gulley on December 3, 2013 · 1 comment

in Architecture, Construction, Glycol Chiller, Hops, Steam Boiler

Guess what? That blog post title is a pun! Yup, when I’m not planning my brewery, I spend all my free time ignoring my family and just working on really, really clever puns. Here’s where the pun is explained:

So the big news right now is that I’ve hired Wrap Architecture (pun revealed!!!) to do all my design and drawings required for permits/construction.

Here's Wrap Architecture's first pass at creating a schematic drawing of the space. These folks are leaving no stone unturned!

Here’s Wrap Architecture’s first pass at creating a schematic drawing of the space. These folks are leaving no stone unturned!

Wrap are a husband and wife team of Cheryl Noel and Ravi Ricker. In the brewing world, they are probably best known as the architects behind both Revolution Brewing’s brew pub and production brewery.

They came highly recommended from numerous people in the business and after meeting with them, I could immediately see why. Very knowledgeable and just damn nice people.

So now, we wait while Wrap and their consultants do their thing. We’re talking general layout, mechanical, plumbing, and electrical plans and building code research (always fun in Chicago). This is going to take a few weeks.

After all the plans are completed, we’ll be submitting drawings to contractors for bids and submitting for building permits. The building permit process in Chicago is a complete nightmare, but we’ll get through it.

Since my last post I’ve also taken care of my general liability insurance for the business, got my surety bond for my TTB application (which is 99% ready to submit), and have firmed up what hops I can get from a variety of suppliers. I’ll FINALLY have my hop contracts in place before the year is over. Slim pickings, but we’ll deal with it. I’ve also done more detailed research on steam boilers and glycol chillers.

As usual, many wheels in motion. Lots of cogs in this machine, but we’re getting there!

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Q: Do You Have A Location Yet?

by Gary Gulley on November 1, 2013 · 2 comments

in Leasing, Location

A: YEEEEEEEEESSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS!

Ladies and gentlemen, I present the home of Panic Brewing: 4055 W. Peterson Ave., Chicago, IL

11,000+ square feet of Chicago industrial goodness. Here’s the kicker. Wanna know who had this built and then had their home here from the 1950′s up til the 1990′s? Go on, guess. Give up? The Siebel Institute of Technology. America’s oldest brewing school. I know right?!!!! Yup, this was Siebel’s home until they moved down by Goose Island on Clybourn in the 90′s. This is a piece of Chicago brewing history and Panic fully intends to add to that history!

Here are some photos. Note the outdoor courtyard. Yeah, Panic’s courtyard. Oh lordy. So much going on. I’ll share more when I can. As always, check out the Panic Brewing Facebook page for the latest scoop.

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Cheers!

G

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Busy!

by Gary Gulley on October 9, 2013 · 2 comments

in Brewhouse, Equipment, Fermenters, Investment, Leasing, Small Business Loan

Uber quick post. Last week I was approved for my small business loan which is HUGE! More investors on board (and room for a few more). Lease negotiations seem to be complete, contract being written up now. Will be ordering 20 BBL brew house, 40 BBL fermenters, 40 BBL bright tank, 40BBL hot liquor tank and accessories this week.

So busy, lots to do in order to close on the loan. I’ll go into great detail on loans, leases, and such when time allows.

For the absolute latest news, follow me on Facebook.

The brewery is finally happening!

Cheers,

Gary

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Wandering About Equipment

by Gary Gulley on August 24, 2013 · 5 comments

in Brewhouse, Equipment, Fermenters

Ha! See the title of this post? It’s a pun! You’ll see how in a second, but right now let’s just talk about how incredibly inventive I am! I’m the goddamn Einstein of puns.

Alright then.

I can't figure out why I'm the only bidder on this sweet, sweet deal. Who says used brewing equipment doesn't exist?

I can’t figure out why I’m the only bidder on this sweet, sweet deal. Who says used brewing equipment doesn’t exist?

I’ve been collaborating a lot with my friend from brewing school, Chad, who is opening Wander Brewing in Bellingham, Washington. (See the punniness now?) Chad is one of the few people I’ve run into who’s done as much if not more research than I have on opening a craft brewery. Quite frankly, Chad has me beat on several fronts, including brewing equipment quotes. I received quotes from the main players in the game, Premier Stainless, DME, JV Northwest, NSI (Newlands), and a few others. Chad has received quotes from pretty much every single domestic based brewery equipment manufacturer, including the aforementioned and quite a few I was not familiar with. The one that has really stood out for him is Marks Design and MetalWorks based in Washington state. Unlike Premier, DME, and others, who build some components in North America, but have some or most components built in China, particularly vessels, Marks is 100% built in Washington state. Chad visited the factory and was well impressed with everything and has placed an order. Because I trust Chad implicitly, I’ve received a quote from Marks as well and will be comparing it line by line to my other quotes this next week.

Chad also had a very smart idea that I will be using. He was able to put 10% down just to get into the manufacturing queue. See, these manufacturers have hellacious lead times right now. Anywhere from 6 months or more. So if you order today, you’ll be waiting at least 6 months to take delivery. That’s a long time, especially if you’re paying for a lease. And usually manufacturers want 50% up front. By getting a place secured in line, Chad was able to remove a significant amount of waiting time as he secures his funding. I love that idea and will try to do the same in the next couple of weeks once I have a final price negotiated. That’s a big step.

One thing you’ll discover if you’re publicizing your start up brewery is that you’ll get lots of interest from Chinese manufacturers who will email you seeking your money. My advice: avoid like the plague. You’ll have no service, huge language barriers, questionable quality at best, and little if any post purchase support.

Folks like Premiere Stainless have their fermentation vessels manufactured in China, but they have very high quality standards, provide plenty of support, and fit the vessels with top of the line valves and such. I have a very simple rule: if it has a moving part, make sure it’s not made in China. I’m sure there are plenty of exceptions, but I’m not willing to seek them out.

Until next time.

Cheers,

G

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What Has Two Thumbs, One And A Half Chins, And Is Quickly Raising Funds For A Brewery?

by Gary Gulley August 24, 2013 Financing

This guy right here! Hi again! It’s been awhile. I’ve been busy as usual, and I actually got to take a family vacation to Wisconsin this past week, which was much needed. So let’s do some status updates. First and foremost, investor fundraising is going through the roof! As of yesterday Panic has 48.5% of […]

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How To Structure A Small Business Investment Offering In 943 Easy Steps

by Gary Gulley June 27, 2013 Business Plan

My elite legal team on Isle of Man is working 24 hours a day to finish up my investor legal documents, which I’ve given an overview of previously. You’ll probably want to read that post before or immediately after this one as it gives a very brief description of those documents. So what does investing […]

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Where You At?

by Gary Gulley May 28, 2013 Business Plan

Chicago Craft Beer Week is over and what a week it was! My favorite part of the whole week was meeting new Panic fans and admirers. I’ve lost count how many people came up and thanked me (I was wearing my Panic T-shirts all week) for sharing so much and offering wonderful words of encouragement […]

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Enough Not Fun News, Let’s Talk Beer!

by Gary Gulley May 2, 2013 Homebrewing

Ever since I started this amazing and sometimes maddening adventure of opening a brewery I’ve been agonizing over what beers I want to brew. I’ve covered this subject in a few previous posts, so I will try very hard not to repeat myself or say the same thing again (see what I did there?). Well, […]

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And Then There Was One

by Gary Gulley May 2, 2013 Partnership

The past 6 weeks or so since I announced my partnership with Nate have been very busy and very intense. Within just a few days of Nate saying he was on board we were dividing and executing tasks like mad men, sharing what we learned, making decisions. Lots of stuff knocked out very quickly. (As […]

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