Working together: Having your back

SHARING THE CRAFT: Erik Fowler of White Labs says his company strives to provide technical advice and lend equipment to area breweries. Photo courtesy of White Labs

Editor’s note: This short feature is one of several brief looks at local professional collaborations included in Xpress’ Business-to-Business Issue. 

Most business owners will tell you that the first rule of sales is don’t talk about your competition.

White Labs Brewing Co. does not adhere to this philosophy. The company brews as well as provides brewing ingredients to other industry leaders, both locally and internationally.

Erik Fowler, who works as the head of education and craft hospitality at White Labs, says that his company strives to go beyond being a traditional supplier by also providing technical advice and lending equipment.

“The craft beer industry is a very people-driven industry. And it’s very open source, which is unique. Even on the restaurant side, they sometimes see similar businesses as competitors. That’s not really the case in beer,” says Fowler. “We try to be pretty open with any advice anybody needs, whether it’s our products or not.”

Sean Felosa, head brewer at Archetype Brewing, says he has experienced that local support firsthand.

“If any kind of emergency hits — we don’t have yeast or our yeast is bad or whatever — we can just call them and, typically, they have exactly what we need,” he adds.

For Fowler and White Labs, seeing other local brewers as colleagues rather than customers or competitors bolsters the entire local industry.

“We tend to see that meeting these breweries on their terms builds an honest relationship, as opposed to just trying to leverage the most we can get out of everybody,” he says. “As the saying goes, a rising tide lifts all ships.”


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