Friday, June 12, 2015

Where my life is headed....

To all of my readers,

For the past couple of years, I've had the pleasure of calling Duluth, MN my home. From the beautiful sights, the great people and of course, who could forget about the great craft beer scene? When I first accepted a job offer here, I quickly learned that Duluth is a unique & wonderful place that is unlike anywhere else I've lived. I have gotten the chance to meet some truly remarkable people here and have made memories that I will remember for the rest of my life.

At certain times, I have talked about myself at some length but mainly for the purpose of relating to the post at hand. For the first time ever, this post will be about myself in general.

Ever since I was a junior in college, I have always wanted to run my own brewery. In fact, I did a presentation on it for a senior year project about 3 years ago. I had constructed a business plan complete with an overhead cost analysis, forecasting, marketing trends and the whole works. I made that plan with the idea that I would one day use it to open my own brewery.

When I graduated, however, I had to put all of that on hold because I became too preoccupied with the sudden reality of becoming a working adult. This meant going to work in the morning & coming home in the evening on a daily basis. The idea of owning my own brewery and getting those plans off the ground had pretty much become dead in the water. In fact, the very reason why I made this blog was so that I could keep myself in the loop as far as the craft beer scene was concerned.

About a year after I started blogging, I was contacted by Dave Grandmaison from The Duluth Experience, who wanted me to help promote his Roundtable discussion event, which focused on the craft brewing scene in the NE Minnesota/NW Wisconsin area. It was a life-changing event for me because, like the majestic Phoenix, it made that idea of having a career in the craft brewing industry rise from the ashes and it started shining brightly again!

Suddenly I was no longer just a blogger with a love for craft beer, I was taking an active role in promoting and raising awareness to the regional craft beer scene. It was the first time since I had been in college that I had something to actively work on that I truly felt a sense of accomplishment from. A couple months later, I connected with Lee & Marissa from Northland Beer, who I would ultimately end up writing for. I could finally, for all intents and purposes, call myself a writer.

With all these positive changes in my life, I still harbored a desire to one day open up my own brewery. I enjoyed my day job but I knew deep in my heart that it wasn't something I was content with doing for the rest of my life. Then one day, my wife suggested to me that rather than continuously dream about opening my own brewery, that I instead start exploring options as to how I can start laying down the foundations to one day open one up. Fast forward a few months, hours upon hours of studying, research and countless applications later, I was given a very unique opportunity to help make this dream of mine become a reality: I was accepted to Graduate School. I will be the first in my family to attain an MBA and it is something I am very proud of.

There is, however, a trade off for this opportunity and it is one that took a lot of soul-searching. It is with a heavy heart that I must announce that I will be moving back to Minneapolis this summer so I can pursue my degree. This was not an easy decision by any stretch of the imagination and I am giving up many things to make this possible but at the end of the day, it is a change that I am willing to make.

Sure I'm going to miss being within walking distance of Fitger's Brewhouse and being able to have their newest beer on tap or heading down to Carmody's Irish Pub to have a pint and catch a local band playing. Most importantly, however, I'm going to miss all of the people that I've gotten to know here.

As such, I still plan on doing beer & product reviews like I have been doing these past couple of years. I also plan on continuing writing for Northland Beer as there is much to cover down in the Twin Cities. I'm also hoping to do Twin Cities beer round-up posts....if my timing and finances permit of course.

The path to getting my MBA will no doubt be a long & difficult journey but I took this opportunity knowing all of this. Plus I always enjoy a good challenge as it gives me something to work towards! It was not a choice that came to me easily but in the big picture, it's the right thing to do. None of this would've been possible were it not for all the people I've met and the events I have attended over this past couple of years. Everything from the roundtable events to meeting with existing and aspiring brewers, who one day, plan to open their own brewery. All of this inspired me to take a good look at what I wanted to do with my life.

All of this helped me come to the conclusion that the dream that I had back in college is worth pursuing after all! I'm going to end this post with a quote from a card my Grandma gave me when I first graduated from High School and it has stuck with me since then.

"You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself in any direction you choose. You're on your own, and you know what you know. And you are the guy who'll decide where to go."

- Dr. Seuss

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