Like most small businesses, the story of Georgetown Brewing Company is one of entrepreneurship.
“[It's] a story of two guys in their late 20s that took a couple of roads to get here,” co-founder Roger Bialous explained at Zillow’s Seattle headquarters this month as the latest guest speaker.
Bialous and Manny Chao were friends for a long time before they decided to form Georgetown. It took a small crisis of self, Bialous said, before he decided to approach Chao with the idea of creating a company.
“Do what you love — people say that all the time — and so I took that to heart,” Bialous said. “I could see making a living with a beer. Creating a product really appealed to me.”
Bialous approached Chao with the idea and they decided to write a business plan.
“We drink a lot of beer and [we thought] about why we like them and if we would do something differently if we brewed it,” explained Bialous. “As opposed to building a beer around what some consumer would like, we designed a beer around what we would like and asked the question: would a consumer like this beer?”
Georgetown started with just one beer, Manny’s Pale Ale, and built it from the ground up — selling it to bars neighborhood by neighborhood. Rather than advertise, they give away beer.
“We really wanted word of mouth advertising and marketing and grass-roots level stuff,” said Bialous.
And, their grass-roots efforts paid off. Georgetown now has four beers offered in most bars across Washington state, into Idaho and now moving into Oregon.
Hear more from Roger Bialous and the story of Georgetown Brewing Company in this video.
Previous Zillow Speaker Series guests include:
- Cinnabon Co-Founder Greg Komen
- TrueCar CEO Scott Painter
- Joel Spolsky of Stack Exchange
- Tom Douglas, chef and restaurateur
- Steven VanRoekel, White House Chief Information Officer
- Jay Inslee, candidate for Washington state governor
- Gabe Zichermann, author and consultant
- Rob McKenna, Washington state attorney general and candidate for governor
- Ronnie Chan, chairman of Hang Lung Properties Limited
- Hadi Partovi, angel investor, startup investor
- GrubHub co-founders Mike Evans and Matt Maloney
- Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn
- Adam Goldstein of Hipmunk
- Adam Lashinsky, author of “Inside Apple”
- Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-WA)
- John Cook of GeekWire
- FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski
- Gordon Stephenson of Real Property Associates
- Bill Gurley of Benchmark Capital
- Richard Tait of Cranium
- Adrian Hanauer of Sounders FC
- Steve Souders of Google