Owners at the Dragoon Brewing Company in Tucson, Arizona, had small, realistic goals as they prepared to open in 2011.
“We originally started with 5,200 square feet,” said co-owner Tristan White. “We had plans for nine fermenters. We thought we would be there by year five; we would be rolling in the last couple of tanks. And, we had nine fermenters before we even got to year two!”
Fast forward five years and today Dragoon brews about 30 different beers throughout the year with 11 options on any particular day, including two year-round brews: Dragoon IPA and Stronghold Session Ale.
White does not hesitate when sharing what makes Dragoon Brewing Company such a success. “If you want to start your own brewery, then you've got to be ready to work real hard,” he said. “There's a saying that brewing is 95 percent cleaning and 5 percent lifting. It's a good industry, lots of good people, but just very hard work.”
In Dragoon’s early days, White and other staff members took an assertive stance when introducing their craft beer into the market.
“If you're in Arizona, you have to self-distribute,” he said. “It was such a great opportunity for us to sit down and talk to somebody and say ‘Hey, we want to sell you this beer. I actually helped make it three weeks ago. I put it in kegs yesterday and I'm trying to sell it to you today. I can have your keg this afternoon, if you want. I feel like if we hadn't done that, we would not be in the position that we're in today.”
Now, Dragoon Brewing Company has a 17,000 sq. ft. warehouse, which means there are other things beyond quality brew to consider.
“We've got to worry about safety for employees in the warehouse lifting, moving materials,” White said. “Since we have a bar on site, there's also typical liability. Our staff is well trained on overconsumption and signs of intoxication.”
White believes the brewery’s high dedication to quality and consistency makes a difference in how their customers approach the variety of craft beers served at their establishment.
“I think people see that in our products, and they know that they see it on someplace like their favorite bar or restaurant and they're not afraid to try it.”
Dedication to hard work and quality should continue to craft success for Dragoon Brewing Company.