It's been almost a year since your big win at Entrepreneur Week. How the company has grown since then?
The growth of the company has been significant. This is my first business so when I learn things it is vital attempt adapt to them rapidly. I would say I our growth is in line with industry standards as far as developing our brand and concentrating on the products we intend to release. Considering what we accomplished with what we started with as a company, we have grown a significant deal over the past year. We have been overwhelmed by support and demand.
What was your inspiration to develop beer? Where did the passion for beer brewing come from?
I honestly wanted to pursue culinary arts. After 2006, I moved to Gainesville, Fl and I carried with me all the cooking equipment I loved to experiment with. Specifically large kettle pots used for boiling seafood and gumbo. Around 2007, I began drinking all the unique craft beers I was exposed to in Florida and eventually took my hand at home brewing in 2008. I think originally what I thought was attractive about creating craft beer was that it is an art form. Everything from the representation in the packaging, to the contents in the pint was just so complex compared to what I was accustom to experiencing. Unfortunately, craft beer was not as price conscious on the college budget. So quite simply, I had to make what I liked.
Where did the passion for beer brewing come from?
The passion I put into brewing beer comes from the positive energy it brings to my life.
What did you see from an entrepreneurial standpoint that led you to believe this could be the direction to go in regards to starting a business?
I studied economics and determined there was a huge void in the market and raising appreciation for craft beers. It was also reassuring in my commitment to understand beer is prohibition and recession proof.
It is the most complex beverage in human history and it is also the most misrepresented beverage.
All St. Aug Alums and all spent collegiate years in (the state) of Florida—planned or fate?
I like to think we trusted our guts and seized an opportunity.
Did you know each other well while in school-how'd you guys come together to develop Cajun Fire Brewing?
It is an interesting dynamic. Everyone has known me for virtually all of my life. With that said, we know each other very well so we are able to develop ideas and execute them very effectively.
How did you come up with the unique beer flavors? And what might convince non-beer enthusiasts to give it a try?
When you are raised within New Orleans you tend to be exposed to vast amounts of unique ingredients. Many of which we tend to take for granted. The most unique flavors we have created have ultimately been tied to the culinary culture of New Orleans. We try to match our flavor profiles with foods, similar to how wines are used.
If you are non-beer enthusiasts, 2015 could change that. My message would be, why have any regrets? With all the unique options available and even more on the way, I think once someone is exposed to beer in the right way it makes all the difference in their personal appreciation of the craft. It is hard to deny a positive experience. Objectively, enjoy what you enjoy, because everyone's taste pallet is different.
Where can we find your selections?
Currently, we are limited to charitable and philanthropic events. Ironically the nature of being an entrepreneur is being optimistic that we will be in commercial production by year-end.
How long (if at all) did you work in the corporate sector and what was it that made you decide your fate was to work for yourselves?
It was a great experience, but I felt in most situations a revolving a door scenario of either being "underqualified" or "overqualified".
Jon-- as a founder, did you have a Plan B in . the event this idea didn't come to fruition?
What do think are a few keys to taking entrepreneurial sights from ideas to reality?
Start-up capital is the primary key.
What are some of your future goals for Cajun Fire Brewing Co?
My immediate is to secure a commercial facility.