Obstacle Course

Starting A Riot

Episode Summary

For episode 55, we sat down with the owners of Riot Brewing. Ralf and Aly share the beginning, middle and inevitable end to the business they spent nearly 10 years building. As traumatizing as this experience has been, they've learned a lot along the way including the power of community, connections and belief in a dream. Riot will brew again! This! Is Obstacle Course. Let it flow.

Episode Notes

Our incredible original introduction has now been lost to the world. 

John hasn't taken a drink since December. Had he know that a pandemic was coming, he may have chosen something...like... no vegetables?

If John wants to give birth, why stand in his way?

If you missed our first conversation with Ralf and Aly, you check it out here

Ralf and Aly's Golden/Shit Ideas of Finding Investors

  1. Know the laws before asking people for money
  2. Seek a relationship first and make strong connections.
  3. Know your industry well

Ralf and Aly spent seven years building relationships and raising enough capital. Tenacity in action.

Initially, Ralf and Aly were fuelled by spite to prove their detractors wrong. Over time, the love for their community took over. 

It's human nature to see the underdog becomes victorious. 

If Ralf and Aly hadn't asked for help and shared their business failures, they would have never had the ability to come back. 

Remaining true to self and sticking to their values is the secret to Riot's and every business success.

Riot Brewing won the Black Tie Award for Business of the Year in 2018.

Riot's first investor was a community member who "walked by," and was interested in supporting a local community business. 

We've actually had a podcast on work/life balance. You can check it out here

Riot's problem was one of scale. They grew too quickly- selling before they had the structure to support the sales,. Just because, "everybody wants your beer," doesn't mean you should be selling it to everybody. Going from 5 employees to 17 in such a short time, didn't help either.

Ralf and Aly, "just wanted to make good beer." They needed someone to make a good business. 

Here's the Wallstreet Journal Article.

Learning how to say no is more important then saying yes.

Asking for help is extremely difficult for entrepreneurs but essential if you want to scale your business properly. 

Ultimately, Riot Brewing went Insolvent after another winter weather closure in 2019. CRA seized all their accounts and business was frozen. 

Increased sales is NOT a solution to a lack of cash flow. Turning the tap on more will only speed up your demise if the problem is lack of water. 

Fear and Panic kicked in quickly after they went insolvent. Many people tried to take advantage of Riot's vulnerable state by offering them pennies on the dollar for their business.

Here's the difference between Insolvency and Bankruptcy. Essentially, Bankruptcy can be a viable solution to Insolvency. 

The irony of Riot's business struggles was too much success. A text book example of, "too much of a good thing."

The metaphor of the community filling Riot's empty planters is stunning. They truly loved Riot back into existence. 

Here's the CTV story.  

Ralf and Aly finally had the courage to share their Insolvency and that allowed them to find a way through. 

Ralf and Ally, like anyone who has gone through severe financial or emotional distress, could greatly benefit from therapy. Therapy is a sign of strength. 

Positive affirmations and personal mantras helped them move forward.