North Iowa Entrepreneur Showcase – Worth Brewing Company

North Iowa Entrepreneur Showcase – Worth Brewing Company


Hi, I’m Peter Ausenhus, I am the brewer and owner here at Worth Brewing Company in Northwood Iowa. I’m Margaret Bishop, co-owner of Worth Brewing in Northwood Iowa. [Peter] I think my passion for brewing probably stems from my curiosity about how things are made. I enjoy beer and drink beer but I think when it started thirty or forty years ago it was just…I was wondering how beer was made. and So I started researching it reading books, doing what I could do back in the eighties. There wasn’t as much out there as far as stores and things like that. Well the first batch I made this is back in 1987 It was out of a can and I added a bunch of sugar and some dried yeast and it just made some awful beer. But I wasn’t discuraged It was a fun proceedure. Kind of a fun hobby. From that point ah I a little bit more success with the next one and just kept going. The thing that kind of led to opening a professional brewery We live in a small town here, and a restaurant tour was interested in whether I could brew some beer for them to sell. That just got me thinking a little bit about brewing on a professional scale. I was also interested in historic preservation. We have a lot of nice buildings in Northwood and there was a building available. And Margaret and I talked and decided that it would be an opportunity me to combine two of my interests historic preservation with brewing and kind of open up a part-time brewery just a small scale brewery. When we first started brewing here across the street We were making ten gallon batches. Which, there were home brewers making bigger batches than that at the time. So it was pretty small People have come to call it nano brewing in the interim since we’ve opened. Now we are brewing 210 gallon batches which is still fairly small from a professional brewing standpoint but twenty time the size of what we used to do. Quite a bit bigger. [Margaret] Well, I am a mechanical engineer and I’d been working for a consulting firm in Minnesota. and I decided for some crazy reason I could go out on my own and start my own firm. So I did. When I started my business I actually took a FastTrack class on how the different aspects of running a business. And I found it so helpful. So when we started worth brewing I said you have to go to Pappajohn and take that class just so you learn the different aspects of of the business besides brewing. So that was kind of our first step into the Pappajohn Entrepreneurial Center And then as we talked about this expansion they have been there right with us all along helping us plan How to look at the distribution part of the business [Peter] When we started to look to expand the business part of the reason was that you know sales had kinda leveled out We felt we needed a business model that included an events center Something that would bring people into our small community. The distribution part of the business was was the one area that I didn’t have any experience in. I was used to selling beer to people directly right in my tap room The beer didn’t have to go very far. from the vat to the customer And so it was a challenge and I needed help on the business side of it. I didn’t really have a lot of business training. And it just helped focus me not just on the parts that I knew but forced me to learn a little bit more about the business part to make it a successful endeavor. [Margaret] We were working pretty hard on for a couple of years trying to put our financial package together. The buildings, where we were going to be. And the day that finally came together was You know, its something that you worked so hard on for so long you know and all the sudden its reality and its going to happen and your just overjoyed with it but also panicked at the same time. So it was a tremendous feeling to know we were going to be able to make this step forward. One of the things that I can not say thank you enough to the Pappajohn Center because they were there with us through that whole process of the business plan trying to pull the financing together where we were gonna end up and which community when we were looking around and their support, just the knowing they are there to answer the questions that we had I can’t say thank you enough to them.

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