Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in food and beverage but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with John (Jake) Myrick, co-founder of Sequoia Sake Company, located in San Francisco, CA, USA.

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

Sequoia Sake is the first and only sake brewery in San Francisco. It is the first family-run sake producer where all three make sake. It is the only sake producer outside of Japan that controls the whole process from seed to final product in the bottle.

Tell us about yourself

After 25+ years in IT and being a third-generation entrepreneur, I wanted to leave more than just another business behind; I wanted to inspire. I had three goals when I started Sequoia Sake.

  1. Make sake people liked to drink. Sequoia won both Gold and bronze medals at the 2019 Tokyo Sake Competition, A watershed moment of acceptance.
  2. Develop, grow, and create sake rice to be grown in California. After more than seven years of working with UC Davis, CA rice researchers and farmers, we were given the right to commercially grow our sake rice.
  3. To help develop and facilitate a sake program here in the US to train sake producers. This was on track to get started in 2020 with Niigata University and UC Davis; however, given the circumstances, it has been pushed back. We hope 2023 it will get back on track.

What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?

Seeing my daughter create, produce and sell her first sake here in San Francisco. Nothing can make a parent prouder than to see your child grow and expand upon your dream and make it their own.

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

Putting aside the dark days, we all just survived. Overcoming my own fears! When I started, I knew little to nothing about making sake, selling it, and/or the alcohol/sake business. Taking what I had learned and experienced and putting that into practice were the hardest aspects of the early days of Sequoia.

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

  1. Do as much research as you can on the business.
  2. Surround yourself with smarter people than yourself.
  3. Be open to change and or modify your business plan to adapt to the real business market.

Is there anything else you'd like to share?

Be sure you believe and love what you are doing because it will be all-consuming, and to succeed, you will spend more time and energy doing this than almost anything else in your daily life. If you love it, you will have great joy from this endeavor. Good luck!

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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