Chad Yakobson had an idea brewing in his imagination: to start a craft beer business in his native Colorado.
With many brewers around the state, he had a lot of inspiration surrounding him.
“For me, the craft brewing industry has been something that I always felt was really strong in Colorado,” he said. “Brands like New Belgium and Odell are what I always knew about beer, along with Coors and all the rest. And, the creativity that was going on was something I was able to pull from in many directions.”
Yakobson’s enthusiasm led to making his vision into a reality — in 2011, he opened the Crooked Stave Artisan Beer Project in Denver.
Along the way, Yakobson learned inspiration only goes so far when launching a new business; sometimes it’s crucial to look to others with different expertise to keep things flowing in the right direction.
“It’s important to have a business background, which I didn’t have; I actually had a science background,” he said. “This is a business just as much as it is a brewery.”
Liability is one of the biggest factors in any business. As he built Crooked Stave Artisan Beer Project, Yakobson quickly saw how liability connects all areas of the company.
“We have a bunch of employees in production, and production is not always cut and dry,” he said. “You’re working with hot liquids; you’re working with things that are potentially dangerous. So, it’s really important from a safety level and from a liability level, that everyone’s covered, that everyone’s getting the training they need but also that everyone knows where they need to be and what they are doing.”
The success of a new business relies on a number of elements: finances, timing, skill and business expertise. Yakobson says there is another intangible quality that can make or break someone trying to create their own company.
“The biggest thing in this industry is to follow your passion,” he concludes. “To build a niche, to have a passion and to say ‘this is the foundation I’m going to lay’ and to do that, I think it’s the most important thing you can do.”