Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in food & beverage but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Ryan Maybee, Co-Founder of J. Rieger & Co., located in Kansas City, MO, USA.

What's your business, and who are your customers?

J. Rieger & Co. is a distillery that specializes in the production of high-quality craft spirits to be enjoyed by a wide array of drinkers.

Tell us about yourself

I started in the spirits industry as a bartender at the age of 21. I have always had an entrepreneurial spirit and opened my first bar at the age of 28 in 2006. I went on to open the 2nd bar in 2009 and a high-end restaurant in 2010. In 2014 I partnered with Andy Rieger to resurrect his family's pre-prohibition Whiskey distillery.

My motivation stems from the rich history and authenticity of our brand, inspiring and leading our employees, and contributing to the creative landscape of my city and community.

What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?

Tough to say. But probably what makes me most proud is empowering my employees and watching them grow to become leaders themselves.

What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?

Managing so many different personalities and a diverse group of employees on a daily basis. While that is extremely challenging, it is also one of the most rewarding things, and I believe it contributes to personal growth.

What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?

  1. Be bold and stick to your guns. If you have a creative idea and are passionate about building that idea into a business, don't let others talk you out of it.
  2. Hire people that are smarter than you and complement your weaknesses. Always continue learning, and be aware of what you are not good at. You can't learn what you think you already know.
  3. Own. Don't rent.

Where can people find you and your business?


If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solo or small business entrepreneur that you'd like to share, then please answer these interview questions. We'd love to feature your journey on these pages.

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