Serendipity at CBC Leads to Merger

A chance meeting at the end of the Craft Brewers Conference led to wonderful partnership.

It was the last day of the Craft Brewers Conference (CBC) this past April in Washington DC and I had been working every single minute of it. I had to; I was the only one from BREWD at the show. So after standing for two and a half days straight with only one ahem break each day, into our booth walks a svelte, clean cut guy. He seemed a bit too clean cut to be your prototypical brewer, but who am I to judge?

After a brief introduction (his name is Dave Jensen) and a little chit chat he said, “I’m with BrewOps; I guess I’m your competitor.”

My reaction was a mix of admiration for his gumption and skepticism; I couldn’t help size him up a bit. He looked smart enough, but what does he know about beer? Well, then he mentioned his beer blog which he’s had since 2009. So OK he knows beer, but what about tech? Just because you look like a developer, doesn’t mean you are a developer. Well, turns out he was the former CTO of spoke.com. Dammit.

And as it would turn out, his co-founder, Daniel is an experienced tech guy as well, having worked for tech giants like Adobe. Formidable competitors to be certain, but do they really understand the market?

Anyway, here is my off-the-wall idea. Have you ever thought about joining forces? I mean we barely spoke and we certainly don’t know each other, but if the planets aligned it could be a good synergistic fit.

As fate would have it, I’d have the opportunity to find out, but stick with me, we’re not to that part of the story yet. Fast forward to my plane ride home. I am sitting there thinking about the show and all of the interest we had during those three days. One agenda item I had on my plate for some time was to bring in a solid technical co-founder to lead product development. But finding someone with an interest in craft beer, the necessary technical expertise, and the willingness to be a part of a startup was proving challenging, to say the least.

That’s when I had my moment of clarity. We are pretty small still. They have yet to release a product. Why not merge?!? It seemed to make perfect sense. We were both startup tech companies; they had the technical side covered, I have vast experience starting companies with a focus on sales, marketing and operations. So a couple of days later I reached out to Dave and posed the question: “Anyway, here is my off-the-wall idea. Have you ever thought about joining forces? I mean we barely spoke and we certainly don't know each other, but if the planets aligned it could be a good synergistic fit.”

This conversation occurred on April 16th. In the two plus months since Dave, Daniel (the other co-founder of BrewOps), and I have spent countless hours figuring out if and how we fit, determining our goals, and mapping out what we plan to create. As it turns out, our visions aligned almost perfectly. The key, beyond a full mesh of talents, was to figure out our shared focus and goals. We all want to build a company that serves small to mid sized craft breweries with simple, easy-to-use technology that is extremely affordable. We want to be an integral part of a brewery, not because we are one of only a few options, but because we are the best tool even if there were 1,000 options.

So, I am thrilled to announce that Daniel Dresser and Dave Jensen from BrewOps are joining the Fermented Labs team as of today! Look forward to some amazing progress and new products rolling out over the next six months. I believe I speak for Dave and Daniel as well when I say how excited we are to be your partner and help your brewery become what you want it to be.

As a thank you and to mark this awesome occasion, we would like to offer a free hops contract Google sheet. It not only tracks hop contracts, but also tracks the orders against those contacts. To get your copy of the Google sheet, click here. If you would like to watch a video on how it works (never a bad idea), click here.

And, if you love the hops contract Google sheet, click here to share with your friends on Twitter.

Thanks for reading!

John Jackovin