April 6th, 2011
03:06 PM GMT
Steve Hindy’s path to become 'the Boss’ was far from ordinary. As a former Middle East correspondent for the Associated Press, Hindy described to the world the assassination of Egyptian President Anwar Sadat in 1981, and was held by militiamen in civil-war torn Lebanon the year before.
“I loved what I was doing, as a war correspondent for AP - but my wife got fed up with the whole thing and said, `I'm going back to New York, taking the kids - hope you join us’,” recalls Hindy. “ `If not, have a nice life’."
So Hindy went back to New York for an adventure of a different kind. In 1988, Hindy – then aged 39 – and a neighbor opened Brooklyn Brewery. “I began trying to convince (his neighbor) that we should quit our jobs and start a brewery at a time when we both had mortgages we both had young kids,” Hindy said. “It wasn't the greatest time to be quitting your job.”
The enterprise was beset with troubles from the start. In need of $500,000 to start operation, the pair raised an initial $300,000 one weekend in October 1987 – the weekend preceding “Black Monday,” when world markets crashed and the Dow lost nearly one quarter of its value in a day.
“Everyone freaked out and we were dead in the water … it took us another six months to raise the other $200,000,” Hindy said.
Now Brooklyn Beer has $30 million in sales a year and is sold in 17 countries, and the company is in the midst of a bold new expansion plan to increase capacity and sales overseas. But it comes at a $10 million cost. And while business is growing apace, trouble is brewing.
“We just talked to our malt supplier last week and we are expecting a 100% increase in malt prices next January so we are wresting with how to handle that,” Hindy said.
Will their $10 million gamble pay off? Can the brewery expand its customer base at home and abroad? How will the company handle the skyrocketing costs of raw materials for its brew?
Watch in the weeks to come as Hindy joins our Michael Wu, CEO of Maxim’s Group in Hong Kong, and Sarah Curran, CEO of my-wardrobe.com in London, as part of our yearlong, in-depth look at what it’s like to be “The Boss.”