Why I don’t brew beer (anymore)

20 years ago I wanted to be a brewmaster. The American microbrew movement was just taking off, and it was a good time to get in. I attended beer festivals, visited breweries, did research (in the days before the internet no less), etc. Ultimately I had two banker’s boxes full of information on techniques, equipment, business models, etc. Today this would occupy about 5% of the free flash drive you got for opening your checking account last year, but this was 1989, and paper was still state of the art. And I still have all this information, thank you very much.

I used this copious research to sell the idea of a brewpub to two entrepreneurs opening a new restaurant in a location I had long had my eye on. It was tremendously exciting being even obliquely involved with the start up and I enjoyed working there as an assistant brewer. As great learning experience all the way around, and should either of those entrepreneurs read this, thank you sincerely for the opportunity.

And what I ultimately learned from that experience was I did NOT want to be a brewer anymore. Beer from the store is just fine thanks.

Now, onto the tortured analogy section. Many of our clients are new to doing business in China. Many have done awesome amounts of research, days spent on sourcing websites like Global Sources, and they are totally jazzed about this new experience, much as I was 20 years ago. They want to travel, try new things, etc. Then they realize that the China trade is work, and the fun wears off quickly.

There are brewers who get up every day excited to go to work and make beer. I admire them and wish them well at their chosen craft. Thanks to them, I get to have a drink without all the scalding water, acids, caustic sodas, foul-smelling slime and general hard-work-nastiness that goes into making beer.

The PassageMaker Team and our friends at China Quality Focus are a collection of such dedicated “brewmasters”. I know I wake up every morning happy and enthusiastic about my chosen field. Our Sourcing Feasibility Study, Vendor Coordination and Assembly-Inspection-Packaging service offerings are all designed to help our clients have a successful experience in China. Most importantly, we want to take care of things on the ground in China so our clients can stay at home with their families, instead of spending $10k every other month traveling back and forth to visit vendors. When you do choose to come to China, we want you to come for a relaxing guanxi tour, not to fight fires. We’ll even help you with your travel arrangements and buy you a drink!

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