Aquanaut - Head of Operations

Where // Chicago, IL -- Aquanaut is a microbrewery dedicated to the entire package, inside and out. They produce fresh, locally brewed beers that have a seasonal flair; beers that are engaging to the palate while complimenting a wide range of foods. In embracing the entire craft, they have gained attention by concocting distinctive beer styles wrapped in original label art. They are passionate about producing well-balanced English inspired beers that are an exclusive example of that style.

Why // I had a lot of questions when it came to venture building. What does it take to turn an idea, a hobby, a craft into a scalable and sustainable business? What is needed to go from concept to company? What does it feel like? Which considerations are the important ones? How can we increase our odds for success? The team here and their relationship to an burgeoning food and beverage incubator/digital agency seemed like a perfect place to learn. After concluding the project, three critical factors bubbled to the top. If a product company is to succeed it needs, at minimum, a great compliment of people, sensible processes and systems, and a world class product. These factors are propelled at all points along the way by a healthy dose of courage.

What // My roal was to help guide this young organization through the challenge of commercializing their products. There were many operational gaps that needed to be filled as we learned the intricacies of legal and financial requirements in the alcohol space and my job was to identify, define and deploy solutions for each. This meant developing a deep understanding of all aspects of sourcing, production, packaging, sales, legal and regulatory and then developing systems and processes that put the business in the best position to succeed and grow.

Skills/Key Activities: Operations, Financial Analysis and Modeling, Software Training, Debt Fundraising, Governmental Reporting, Quality Control.

Results // We went from 0 commercial accounts to ~40. We developed production metrics, vetted distribution partners, hired a sales team, rolled out enterprise software to manage production and inventory workflows and ultimately got our products into the hands of thousands of loyal enthusiasts in the community.

Here’s an additional profile of the project