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Beer School: Bottling Success at the Brooklyn Brewery Hardcover – Sep 21 2005

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 312 pages
  • Publisher: Wiley; 1 edition (Sept. 21 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0471735124
  • ISBN-13: 978-0471735120
  • Product Dimensions: 22 x 15 x 3 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 272 g
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #1,075,712 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

Inside This Book (Learn More)
First Sentence
My head was thumping and I was drenched in sweat when I was jolted awake on a fresh sunny morning in May 1984 by the blasts of two mortar shells in the parking lot outside my second-floor room at the Alexander Hotel in East Beirut. Read the first page
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I initially bought this book as I was toying around with the idea of opening a brewery. While there are many lessons to be learned for that reason from this book, there are far more greater lessons taught within in simply starting your own business. The honesty of both authors is refreshing as they are highly aware of their strengths, weaknesses, and personal pitfalls. They both explain their philosophies of running a business, and while they might not suit everyone, by sticking to their own code, they built a pretty awesome business. The amount of hard work these two put into the success of their business must have been maddening, yet their persistence paid off into a viable and successful business. A great read for lovers of beer, and for those who ever wanted to start their own business.
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0 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Dean Potts on July 29 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I thought I was buying a step by step book on how to start a business in beer making. I read 3 chapters and learned nothing concrete, just a watered down narrative.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 74 reviews
37 of 38 people found the following review helpful
A fascinating story of triumph and trials... Feb. 7 2007
By Thomas Duff - Published on
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. Unlike many business books that make the principals all-knowning and omniscient, Hindy and Potter are brutally honest about what worked and what didn't, where they were skillful and where they got lucky. It's a fascinating read, both for the brewery story and for the business insights.

There aren't too many business books with stories about being robbed at gunpoint of $30000, visiting a metal fencing operation to get a fork-lift battery charger back, and getting a visit from organized crime and union leadership, intent on getting a piece of their business. Even if you dropped the business lessons, the narrative of the Brooklyn Brewery would be enough to make this a recommended read. When you add in the small business information, this becomes a must-read for anyone dreaming of starting their own business. And if you're already interested in homebrewing or microbrews, then this book will probably end up being read in a single sitting.

An excellent read on a number of levels...
14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
Useful Resource, Highly Entertaining July 19 2006
By Bob W. - Published on
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!
15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
A very good read June 5 2007
By J. Smith - Published on
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... Are you sure you wanted to say that?!" As you progress through the book though, you learn that this is just the relationship that they've built over the years... Very honest and open with one another whether it is good news or bad. I think that reading about the partnership was really one of the biggest take-aways that I got out of the book, but it certainly has more to offer than that.

In summary, I really enjoyed this book and would have no issues whatsoever giving it a very high recommendation for anyone that is considering starting ANY new business, brewery or not.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
This is a business book beer just happens to be their product July 12 2012
By M. Scherer - Published on
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
From an entertainment standpoint this book held my interest. I learned a lot of what not to do in starting a brewery. Their inflated egos cost them lots of money that could have been better spent when starting this business and when I got to the end of the book I don't feel they still understood that concept.
If you are looking for information on how to start a successful brewery this isn't it. It is filled with stories and not information with the possible exception those chapters on branding and marketing. Those chapters have lots of good information about how they went about marketing their products.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
A well-written book that goes down as smoothly as Brooklyn Lager Aug. 22 2007
By Andy Orrock - Published on
Format: Paperback
I've no great interest in the brewery business, but I do enjoy well-written, instructive tales of entrepreneurship. 'Beer School' definitely falls into that category. One-time journalist and co-founder Steve Hindry can really write. No surprise there. The pleasant surprise is that ex-banker and fellow co-founder Tom Potter's chapters are just as enjoyable. Like their beer, the chapters go down smooth. The arrangement of the book makes it clear who's written what parts - the chapters are given names that start with either "Steve Tells..." or "Tom Tells...". Where Steve has written a chapter, we get Tom's viewpoint with "Tom Weighs In," and vice-versa. Sounds sort of clunky, but it's well executed by the co-authors. They clearly worked very closely in shaping a final, cohesive product. As a result, the format works well.

What drew me to the book originally was the forward by Mike Bloomberg. His endorsement is good enough for me.

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