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Beer School: Bottling Success at the Brooklyn Brewery Paperback – February 9, 2007

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

This winning tale of the rise of the Brooklyn Brewery follows the basic pattern of every entrepreneur's memoir: a restless visionary sets out to accomplish a dream, barely survives a series of setbacks, emerges victorious—and ready to tell readers how they can do the same. But this account serves up more than the usual suds and foam—its counsel is sound and its prose lively, and it should appeal to both wannabe industrialists and beer drinkers, not that those categories are mutually exclusive. In fact, the authors, foreign correspondent Hindy and banker Potter, decided to found their New York brewery, now 17 years in business and among the top 40 in the U.S. in sales, after consuming many bottles of Hindy's homebrew. The longtime partners tell their story in engaging, candid voices, delivering cautionary anecdotes, reflections on longstanding disagreements and lingering resentments, and brutally frank self-assessments. It helps the story immeasurably that beer is a more colorful subject than, say, spreadsheet software, a fact that gets the reader past the inevitable chapter on financing. Though Hindy and Potter may not help the aspiring entrepreneur strike gold, they offer a compelling model and a heartening story. (Oct.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.


"This gripping and lighthearted read charts their successes and failures and leaves you thirty for more." (Sainsbury's Magazine, September 2009)
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 306 pages
  • Publisher: Wiley (February 9, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0470068671
  • ISBN-13: 978-0470068670
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.7 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (88 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #109,347 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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38 of 39 people found the following review helpful By Thomas Duff HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on February 7, 2007
Format: Paperback
Just from a title perspective, this book was too good to pass up... Beer School: Bottling Success at the Brooklyn Brewery by Steve Hindy and Tom Potter. But even better, the book delivers the goods on a number of levels. One of the most enjoyable business book reads I've had in awhile...

Contents: Steve Tells How Choosing a Partner Is Like a Second Marriage; Steve Discusses the Importance of Building a Solid Team; Tom Talks about Creating the Business Plan - A Money-Raising Tool and More; Tom Asks, "What's the True Mission of the Business?"; Steve Discusses the Keys to Successfully Motivating Employees; Tom Tells the Story of Their Dot-Com Revolution - Fishing for Finance and Failing; Steve Talks about Building a Brewery in Brooklyn; Steve Discusses Publicity - The Press Wants You!; Steve Reveals How the Revolution Kills Its Leaders First; Tom Talks about Cashing Out and Reinventing the Business, Again; Tom Wants to Know If You Have What It Takes; Timeline; Index

Hindy was a foreign correspondent for a news agency, and Potter was an executive at a bank, but both felt as if they wanted to do something different in their lives. Their love of home-brew beer gave Hindy the idea of starting a brewery in their hometown of Brooklyn, a city rich with brewery history. Potter was less convinced about the whole project until he visited a homebrewer's convention in 1986. This was right at the start of the microbrew phenomenon, and they decided to seriously pursue their dream. The book chronicles their work from 1986 through 2005, while also distilling what they learned about entrepreneurship along the way. And since this is beer "school", each chapter ends with them giving themselves a grade on how they did in that particular area.
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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Bob W. on July 19, 2006
Format: Hardcover
When I found out about Beer School and its topic I knew that I had to read it. First off, I'm a homebrewer and beer geek and I've seen a number of my friends leave successful, conventional careers to take a gamble with their dreams working with beer. Secondly, I'm an entrepreneur who started a business 15 years ago (not in the beer business), which, thankfully, turned out to be successful. And thirdly, I live in New York City and I'm a big fan of all things Brooklyn, especially the Brooklyn Brewery!

Beer School is a fast read, thanks to plenty of intriguing, amusing anecdotes that explain how this start up went from a simple idea to a major success, with the all-important countless pains, trials and tribulations in between.

I honestly didn't expect to learn anything new from the book, since I had already started a business. And I've followed the progess of and have been a supporter of Brooklyn Brewery since I moved to NYC in the early 90s. I was wrong. Not only did I pick up a lot of interesting business lessons, I sharpened my historical knowledge of the Brewery, which was, to my surprise, full of gaps.

I find that life experience is the best teacher. Beer School is one of the essential text books for a degree in entrepreneurship from the university of life, as it draws on the real life successes, failures and mixed results of two regular guys who had a dream to build a great brewery.

You don't need to be starting a business to get something out of Beer School. It's a damn good read, for the sake of entertainment alone! The stories of their run in with the mob, their chutzpah in getting a hot shot designer to work with them, their admirable philosophy of worker equity - there are plenty of fun, funny and revealing stories throughout the book.

Certainly for those interested in starting a business or interested in the beer business at all, it's a must read. Oh, and their beer ain't half bad, either!
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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful By J. Smith on June 5, 2007
Format: Hardcover
By nature, I am not a "reader"... I have a large stack of books that I've picked up over the years to pacify me while traveling. Most still have their respective airline ticket stubs safely marking the spot where I left off reading. So yes, it's a tad ironic that I'm now leaving a book review here... However, I read this cover-to-cover in two (long) evenings (that alone will tell anyone that knows me that this was a really good book!) so I'm at least qualified to comment on THIS one.

I've homebrewed for a couple of years and am in the early stages of investigating the feasibility of trying to make a living out of brewing. The story in the book really struck close to home for me... My potential partner and I work in fields that really couldn't be further from the brewing industry, much like the authors. While I know that the odds are against us, it was refreshing to read a story of someone that took a swing at it and hit a home run.

The book is by no means a step-by-step business plan for starting a brewery. It is much more a story of the trials and tribulations that faced them as they progressed from a crazy dream to a crazy success. It's a story about partnership. It's a story about taking a leap of faith. So don't purchase it expecting a step-by-step recipe for you to go out and quit your day job, but do purchase it and expect a general high-level look at starting a brewery, some good general business ideas that you may not have thought of, and a good story to tie it all together.

I found it to be a very honest, open story... The authors take turns writing chapters, and there were at least a couple of times that they were so honest that I caught myself thinking "Jeez, I'm pretty sure that the other guy's going to read this...
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