Whatever your view on reading, there's no denying that Continuous learning is one of the keys to success in life. Irish playright and politican, Richard Steel, reportedly said, 'Reading is to the mind what exercise is to the body.'.
There are so many books that are worth reading if you're in the beer industry. Whether it's excellent testimonies of the modern craft era such as:
- Beer School (Steven Hindy & Tom Potter)
- Beyond the Pale (Ken Grossman)
- So You Want To Start a Brewery (Tony McGee)
Practical books such as:
To commentaries from writers such as:
- Pete Brown
- Jessica Boak and Ray Bailey's Brew Britannia
- Josh Noel's Barrel-Aged Stout and Selling Out.
There is a world of wisdom and knowledge out there ready for consumption to aid your personal and business development.
Here are five books we recommend every beer business owner, brewer and entrepreneur should read to hop forward:
The E-Myth Revisited
My friend Andy often refers to running as business as just that: running!
The first time I started running a business, I couldn't quite figure out why it was so unbelievably chaotic...
I was spinning plates left, right and centre; dealing with customers, packaging products, printing invoices, delivering items, maintaining equipment, marketing... all whilst trying to do the thing that had drawn me in to the first place: brewing!
Soon enough, I was fighting fires as a result of being over worked. The beers suffered, the business suffered... I suffered. Andy suggested I read The E-Myth Revisited by Michael Gerber. Within a few pages, Gerber frighteningly described every detail of my situation.
Arguing that many people who go into business are not true entrepreneurs but, what he describes as, 'a technician overcome by an entrepreneurial seizure', I realised this was being played before my very eyes.
The method as laid out by Gerber in this book are applicable to any business of any size, and will ensure you systemise your beer business in such a way that it doesn't rely on you to run it - the business can exist apart you.
Reading The E-Myth Revisited - a revised version - fundamentally changed how I do business. And it will do the same for you.
The Psychology of Selling
Sales are the aspect of business that many people seem to loath. Some would even go as far as to say that sales are a 'necessary evil'. Whatever your view, there's no denying that healthy sales are the lifeblood of any business. Without them, you don't have a business, only an expensive hobby!
Brian Tracy is regarded as one of the masters of sales (possibly next to Grant Cardone). His book, The Psychology of Selling is one of the most comprehensive books written on the subject in recent years.
Covering an array of topics, from self-confidence and doubts, to why customers buy and how to handle objections - The Psychology of Selling is a practical handbook on the art and technique of sales, offering effective insights and tips on how to increase your sales figures in your business.
Beer Means Business
Beer Means Business isn't a 'how to' book on starting a microbrewery (see the Microbrewer's Handbook by Tim Hampson for that), more a holistic view of the contemporary beer industry. Offering a systematic approach and assessment of the entire supply change, Babak's insights are of the highest value for anyone venturing into the realms of producing and selling beer for a living.
Offering an overview of the entire industry, Babak demonstrates his experience and expertise, providing stimulus for forward thinking entrepreneurs.
The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People
Next to The E-Myth Revisited, Covey's book - The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People - is one of the few books I recommend to everybody I encounter.
Ranging from world class business leaders to those who simple want to improve their outlook on life, Covey presents an approach to attaining one's life goals by aligning themselves with their true values and principles based on a 'character ethic'.
For example, the first Habit - Be Proactive - essentially explores how we view it defines how we do it, whilst Putting First Things First sounds blatantly obviously, until we realise that we often do things that are urgent but not important (such as going through e-mails) rather than tasks that are not urgent but important, such as business planning.
Making these habits part of your life will not only vastly improve your business activity but will change your outlook on life for the better.
Yeast, Malt, Water and For the Love of Hops
Yeast (Chris White, Jamil Zainasheff), Malt (John Mallet), Water (Colin Kaminski & John Palmer), For the Love of Hops (Stand Hieronymus)
Okay, so the last 'book' is a serious of four books published by the Brewer's Association [of America] on the four building blocks of beer - yeast, malt, water and hops.
Each book is characterised by the writer's own style and insights, making some topics more readable than others (Water opens with the disclaimer that while a degree in chemistry isn't required, a basic high-school understanding of the subject is beneficial).
However, for any beer business - even if you're not a brewer yourself - the collection will give you a robust understanding of everything from what compounds characterise hops flavours and how fermentation profiles affect beer, to which ions are essential for various beer styles and what malt varieties add to the party.
For brewers, these books are an essential for memorising and referencing.