In a few hours, Batch Brewing Company will open its shiny new doors and welcome what is sure to be a huge crowd of friends, Hatch Detroit supporters and Detroit glitterati (yes, there is such a thing).
They will raise their glasses and toast Batch’s nifty Corktown location, its suave interior and its impressive list of beers on tap – many with classic names such as Dead Irish Writers, Nearly Noble IPA, Obscure Reference Imperial Stout and Way 2 Biggie.
Let’s throw in one more reason to cheer: A new business has opened in Detroit. No, it’s not that big of a deal these days. But co-founder Stephen Roginson said he and the Batch crew — co-owner and co-founder Jason Williams, Head Cellarman Patric Ahrens and Executive Chef Matt Johnson — are celebrating the journey toward entrepreneurship on this monumental day. They are reveling in the lessons they learned. They are worn out, but that exhaustion is from hard work, banged up shins from construction and the emotional release that comes with doing something worth doing.
It wasn’t easy, Roginson says. But it wasn’t that bad, either.
How about that for a Detroit headline? Let’s step it up.
“It’s incredibly exciting to open a business in the city,” Roginson said. “There are hurdles I imagine no matter where you choose to open your business”
Wait. He went there.
“I’d believe very few of the hurdles would be unique to opening a business in Detroit.”
Well, in short, yes.
“Right now, the city is going through a pretty incredible transformation to make it easier for businesses to get their doors open,” Roginson said. “Every single person that I worked with seemed to be genuinely interested in opening Batch Brewing Company up.”
More importantly, “We were able to have a front-row seat and even an influence to participate in the conversation to make it easier for businesses to open their doors. We’ve had a lot of luck and built up a lot of great relationships in the city from the zoning offices to building and safety to engineering and design. … That’s no small testament to how willing the city is to help businesses open their doors.”
Listen, it’s not like Roginson is some New York City hotshot with a dozen restaurants under his belt. He’s not a real-estate magnate with a rich family coming in to help him. This dude WORKED. He and the Batch co-workers had hustle. They had fundraisers. They worked the small-business loans. They won a huge business competition through confidence, moxie and a twinkle in their collective eyes. Charm gets you in the door; sweat gets you the money.
Tell us more, sir.
“We did run into some challenges but those challenges were clearly surmountable. We were able to make it happen,” Roginson insists.
I’m starting to believe this guy. And he wants to help others. Wait…he has been helping others find their way. It’s the Detroit way of doing it, you understand. We help. We strive. We make stuff happen.
Look, he’s not saying that everyone will make it. I’m not saying the road is super easy and there will be a red carpet or yellow-brick road telling you where to go. But it can be done. You’ll probably have to empty at least one 401(k) – like Roginson et al did – and you’ll need additional investors beyond the public ones. You’ll need friends. You’ll need family. You’ll need support of all kinds.
And you’ll have to pay it forward. That’s the price of getting the doors open. But that’s a pretty reasonable price to pay.
Batch Brewing Company also is doing the Feel Good tap, a beer-pouring tap that will dedicate its sales to a local charity partner. When it launches, the first recipient will be the National Multiple Scolorious Society because Roginson’s mom is a person living with MS. He’ll also be a part of a Batch team walking in bright orange t-shirts during the May 3 Walk MS event. His goal is to raise more than $5,000.
You could walk with him. Or you could drink a lot of Batch beer, talk about small business and get to know this fine Detroit success story. Those are some mighty fine choices, I’d think.
Batch Brewing Company will officially open its doors at 4 p.m. Please join the staff for handcrafted beer, food, and DJ set by “Historic Detroit” founder and DJ Dan Austin. Batch is located at 1400 Porter Street. If you can’t make it tonight, they’ll be there waiting.