Today we’d like to introduce you to Courtney Servaes.
Alright, so thank you so much for sharing your story and insight with our readers. To kick things off, can you tell us a bit about how you got started?
I started homebrewing right after college when a good friend introduced me. I had never been interested in beer but the homebrewing process really spoke to me. I began learning as much as I could about beer and brewing. Pretty soon, it became a very large part of my life and how I spent my free time. When it started to take over my personal life, that is when I knew it was time to think about it as a profession.
I started the process of opening a brewery when I was getting my MBA. I basically used every project and paper as a way to do research about opening a brewery.
I’m sure you wouldn’t say it’s been obstacle free, but so far would you say the journey have been a fairly smooth road?
I think opening any business has its hardships. For me, Covid has been the biggest hardship we have faced. We were getting ready to celebrate our 1st anniversary when things began shutting down. That required us to adjust and adapt in a way that I hadn’t anticipated and we really had to put a lot of our plans on hold.
I think we’ve turned the corner on the hardship part of Covid in regards to our business model, so we are trying to get back to our original plans and projections for the brewery.
Thanks for sharing that. So, maybe next you can tell us a bit more about your business?
There may be more now, but when we opened, we were the only brewery in the state of Kansas with a female head brewer and owner. I didn’t know that when we began the process of opening the brewery, but it definitely became something that made us stand out.
Aside from that, one of the unique things about our brewery is that we don’t allow ourselves to get stuck in the same pattern. We brew unique beers that challenge us. One of my favorite things to do is to think of a flavor profile that I want to achieve – maybe it’s a certain candy bar. I take that flavor profile and try to achieve it in a beer. Sometimes it works well and other times, I have to try a couple of times to get it right. Either way, it’s a really fun process.
When we decided to open the brewery, I wanted to make sure that it was a family-friendly atmosphere because I have kids and they are constantly with me. My oldest son, Aaron and I started making craft sodas when I was learning about brewing. It was a way for him to be involved in the process. So I thought offering craft soda would be a great way to make it a family experience. At any given time, we have around six different sodas available at the brewery – rootbeer, lemon-lime, orange, strawberry, cotton candy, etc.
Probably the last thing worth mentioning is that when I opened the brewery, I knew that I wanted to be heavily involved in giving back to the community. We do a ton of special beers and fundraisers to try to raise money for area charities. This is something that we really enjoy doing something that helps give our business meaning and purpose.
Before we let you go, we’ve got to ask if you have any advice for those who are just starting out?
Whenever people ask me for advice when it comes to starting a business, I always tell them not to give up. There are so many hurdles and obstacles that will come along the way, it’s difficult not to get defeated and throw your hands up and stop trying. You just have to take each hurdle one at a time. Get past one hurdle and move on to the next. Eventually, you’ll make it to the end of the obstacles in the way of opening a business and you’ll be a business owner. Then the next hurdle will be making your business successful.
The first photo needs to be credited to the Shawnee Mission Post.