Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in food and beverage but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Sue Rigler, Owner of Hundred Mile Brewing, Co., located in Tempe, AZ, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
I am the owner of Hundred Mile Brewing Co. in Tempe, Arizona. We are located on the north side of Tempe Town Lake, within steps of the North Marina. We are just off the 202 Freeway and Scottsdale Road, so it is very centrally located within the Valley.
We are a 10BBL craft brewery and restaurant offering a very relaxing, welcoming vibe for the locals, businesses, tourists, ASU students and their families, health-minded individuals, and anyone who loves to hang out at a chill venue while enjoying a perfectly balanced hand-brewed craft beer to pair with our burgers, tacos salads and more!
Tell us about yourself
Opening my own craft brewery has been a dream of mine since 2014. I have a degree in Microbiology from Arizona State University in Tempe, AZ. After graduation, I moved to CA for 30 years, where I raised my kids, and then moved back to AZ in 2020 to pursue my dream. Ironically, my brewery is located on the same dirt as one of my favorite iconic ASU college bars, The Devil House. It is no longer there, so I feel I've come full circle opening this parcel.
I had my "ah-ha" moment in 2014 when I was in a craft brewery and spotted a microscope. That is exactly when my two worlds of science and craft beer collided. I knew I had to be a part of this dynamic industry. I completed the Certification Brewing Program at U.C. San Diego in 2016. I then took a job working for Krones/WM Sprinkman, selling brewing equipment to craft breweries on the West Coast. Traveling to over 500 breweries helped me observe the many intangibles inside a brewery that sometimes get overlooked in the build-out... sound, decor/colors, lighting, aromas (and odors), temperature, or the touch and feel of the furniture.
Beer and food quality are, of course, very important "tangibles," and any brewery owner better get those right! However, I also took the extra step in the design phase to make sure my space felt comfortable to our guests. That is something you really can't put your finger on. I feel like I've always had an affinity for beer and community. I wore Budweiser shirts and collected beer cans at the age of 10.
Growing up, I lived in a very social neighborhood in Iowa, so there would always be food, laughter, and beer at the pig roasts, pot lucks, and summer picnics. Everyone was always in a festive mood, and I attest those memories to my connection and passion for community and the desire to open a brewery. I want to provide that same feeling of community in a place where people gather to eat, drink and laugh. There are no strangers at Hundred Mile Brewing Co.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
Writing my business plan, which was successful in acquiring an SBA loan to fund Hundred Mile Brewing Co.
What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?
Realizing I am the one at the helm can be a bit overwhelming at times. I must juggle budgets, and personalities, while keeping our mission and vision intact in everything we do, say, and produce.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- You better have an undeniable passion for what you are doing.
- Know your numbers back and forth.
- Live your mission.
Is there anything else you'd like to share?
I am not quite open yet, but I anticipate being open in November 2022.
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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