How do you thank someone for the ultimate sacrifice? OK, we aren’t talking giving up a kidney, or sacrificing their own life in the line of fire, but my amazing wife has provided me with the means to start this brewery. Thats right, starting this brewery is taking sacrifices from more than just myself and my business partner.
Let me give you a little context. There is nothing my wife has wanted more over the past 5 years than to build a home. A place to have memories, raise our family and get away from the daily grind that is our life. We both envisioned the process as an arduous one, but at the end of it, you would have a home that you helped bring together. It was her dream, and we worked hard to make it happen. We bought a piece of land about 3 years ago with the dream of building our home …
Let me take a further step back. About 10 years ago, I started talking to friends and family about the dream of opening a brewery. Thats right, this has been a 10 year process for me. In a way I have become the definition of patience (and for anyone that knows me, this in itself is a little hard to believe, but thats another story). For the first 4 years, it was a lot of business planning, sampling, and more planning. The dream seemed very far away About 6 years ago, I started to get more serious and decided to get my real estate licence, allowing me the time to get out of my full time job, and focus a little more time on my brewery, as being a Realtor allows for a healthy dose of flexibility. I ended up parting ways with my job in 2011, and have been focusing on real estate and starting a brewery for the past 3 years. As time has moved on, I have kept getting more and more serious.
So back to 3 years ago, when my wife and I purchased a property for developing. We purchased knowing that my brewery dream may or may not come together (it has been 7 years that I was talking about it with no progress after all), so we just went with it, and hoped things would work out. As you can imagine, we followed down both paths simultaneously and didn’t try to overthink much of anything. My wife hoped that things would work out with her dream of building a house, while I hoped that things would work out with my dream of starting a craft brewery.
You can imagine where this headed. About 6 months ago we subdivided our property and were finally in a position to think about building our dream home on one lot and selling the other. This was a moment that we waited for about 20 months to happen, so it was a great moment for our family. It was about the same time that things with our landlord got very serious for the brewery space. We made an offer on our commercial space for the brewery, and we were finally in a negotiation with a landlord. You see, we had tried unsuccessfully for 12 months to lease spaces, and never got to the point of actually being in negotiations. The process with this landlord was going so well that we applied for a development permit (what you need to get to be allowed to produce beer … a key step to say the least) with the City of Vancouver before we had a lease in place.
Not knowing how all this would go, we continued forward with the dream of building on our property. We continued to meet with an architect, and we moved forward house plans to the point where we were ready to build. We just needed to sell one of the lots and we were ready to start building on the other lot. Selling anything in the last 4 months of 2013 was difficult, especially a property like ours.
Fast forward to very early January 2014. We finally found a dance partner for one of our properties. This meant we could sell a property and begin building on the other. However, it was also in January that we knew we were going to sign our lease. So it meant my 2 worlds were colliding and we had no certainty with which to make a decision. Essentially, do we move forward with selling only one property and hope that we can find a way to finance building a house on the other property, all the while, financing a significant part of the brewery. If you have been following my blog, you know that I always think Cash is King, so it would be so tough to do both.
At the end of the day, after a lot of tears, arguing, and selfishness to be completely honest, my wife and I agreed to follow the dream of starting a brewery. The time and financial burden of building a home, in addition to the time and financial burden of starting a brewery proved too much for us to handle. So we decided to sell both halves of our property instead of just one half, allowing our family to focus on my dream, and bringing to the end another dream.
Think about it from the standpoint of my wife. Every time I talk about the brewery, I stay up late or get out of bed early, every time we write a cheque to pay for something, every time some asks how things are coming along, and every time I come home to our rental house, my dream is at the expense of satisfaction in her life. People ask me about the brewery and I get excited, and when people ask Deanne about building a house, she just sees my dream, at the expense of hers. When people ask what has been the hardest thing about starting a brewery, it is this.
So, to come full circle, I hope one day to be a brewery owner and build my wife a house of her dreams. It might be a few years before his happens, but I do plan on returning the favour to her for the sacrifices she has made for me. I can’t think of a more selfless person, and for this I am forever indebted to her.