Thursday, May 7, 2009

The gift of fermentation

Almost one month ago my classmate and friend Sergio introduced me to Adam, the founder of Linden Street Brewery. Adam's beer factory is located in a 1890's red brick building in the port of Oakland. Most of the space as you can imagine is reserved to tanks, pipes, fermenting tanks and other elements for the beer making. Close to that space there's another big room decorated with objects from all over the world, school desks and theater chairs, brewer's magazines and lots of books, especially travel guides.

Sergio and I met Adam again last night over tapas, beers from around the world and fascinating conversation. He is one of these unique individuals who is able to transmit the passion about what he does. He believes in cherishing the product: he brews using methods that originated in the Bay Area during the Gold Rush days. He told us "We play music to the yeast. If you love your yeast, the yeast is gonna give that love back to you". Revolutionary.

His dream was born in the community, for the community. Last week they became the first microbrewery to brew beer in Oakland after 50 years. Without planning it, and starting with a small get together, they have been sharing "the gift of fermentation" with whoever showed up at their parking lot on Fridays. Read the Yelp reviews to have an idea of the magnitude of this true grassroots movement.

From a business perspective Adam is into something big. He knows beer. He has practically had a job in every step involved in the making of beer. He knows the industry, from the hops to the beer tap, from world trends to the numbers of his business. Man, he knows his numbers. His passion and personality are a magnet for positive events to happen around him. Events are stories and stories are differentiation. No MBA-planned marketing campaign will ever match that.

When I talked to Adam I saw something that reminds me of an artist in the moment of creation. Some people call that "the flow"(*). People like Adam inspire you to find what you have been "programmed for" and realize your dreams.

(*) check out the following TED video by Mihaly Czikszentmihalyi.

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