Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in food and beverage but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Michael Byrne, Head of Brewery Operations and  Co-owner of Lineage Brewing, located in Columbus, OH, USA.

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

Lineage Brewing is a small brewpub in Columbus, Ohio. We make and sell craft beer, but we also offer cocktails and a small food menu. Our focus is being a neighborhood brewery and gathering place while providing an excellent customer experience. We are active members of our neighborhood and our community. We enjoy working with local non-profits and collaborating with other small businesses. We wholeheartedly believe that small businesses are what make neighborhoods unique and great. By supporting small businesses, people can see the impact their support makes.

Small businesses are typically the ones that sponsor local events, clubs and re-invest in the community. I believe our customers understand that. That is why our neighborhood supports Lineage. We see a variety of customers, college students (we are near Ohio State), young professionals, families, and even a fair amount of beer tourists on the weekends. We want everyone to feel welcome and enjoy themselves so much they tell their friends about their experience.

Tell us about yourself

I have a unique background. I've always been driven. It started in 6th grade when I sold trading cards out of a friend's basement until the school called our parents to complain and forced us to shut down our "shop." In 8th grade, I started working for a concrete company loading trucks and scraping forms. I worked for that company for the next 14 years. I took advantage of that opportunity to learn as much as I could about the trade. I paid my way through college because of that job and used those skills to make extra cash on weekends. After graduating from Kent State University, I moved to Columbus, Ohio, and started teaching art. But most importantly, I started brewing beer at home. My beer brewing hobby became an obsession and eventually led to a job at a start-up brewery. After working there for a few years, my wife I decided that our neighborhood needed its own brewery, and we opened Lineage Brewing.

It is not hard to find motivation when you own and run your own business. The stakes are high, and you have no choice but to work as hard as you can. Your family depends on it, and your employees depend on it. However, it is a bit easier when you love your business and are proud of what you have created. I still love coming in each morning while it's quiet and having a cup of coffee, and looking around at how the business has evolved over the years. I think it is important to take the time to enjoy what you create and acknowledge how lucky you are to be in that position. If you take it for granted for a minute, you could lose it.

What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?

So far, I think my biggest accomplishment is making it this far through the pandemic. The first year of starting a business is brutal. It takes a ton of hard work, focus, and some luck. When COVID hit in March of 2020, it destroyed our momentum. Everything changed literally overnight for us. Since that time, I have seen multiple businesses around us close. But we have been lucky enough to have pivoted at the right times and have seen sales slowly start to increase and hope to be back to pre-pandemic sales at some point soon.

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

Every business owner is going to struggle with different things. For me, it is being on call 24 hours a day, seven days a week. I am an extremely introverted person and value my personal time more than anything. But being a business owner often means sacrificing personal or family time for the good of the business and the staff. That can be a hard pill to swallow at times, but many small businesses do not have the budget to overstaff or constantly pay people to fix things. So, you do what needs to get done to make it another day.

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

First, understand that you can’t do everything. You may have to at first, but for the business to succeed, you have to hire people to work in it while you focus on running and growing it. Second, respect and take care of your employees. Without them, you don’t have a business. Allow them to grow and make decisions. Trust them. Invest in them. Never take them for granted. Constant turnover is an easy way to waste time and money. Third, take some time for yourself. Even if you find yourself working seven days a week (which I often do), Try to find parts of the day to spend time with family, enjoy a quiet cup of coffee or do some sort of physical activity. Not only is that good for your mental health, but you have to step away from the business sometimes to gain perspective. Just as a writer or an artist steps away from their work, a business is similar. Your brain needs a break once in a while in order to look at things with fresh eyes and a renewed sense of creativity.

Where can people find you and your business?


If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solopreneur that you'd like to share, then email; we'd love to feature your journey on these pages.

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