Kent Dawson is no stranger to the hard work it takes to start his own business. He learned young as he and his brother Greg spent their summer breaks helping their grandparents tend to their farm.
“Spending time on ‘The Farm’ was no picnic: this wasn’t one of those grandparents spoiling the grandkids situation. It was exhausting!” Dawson recalled.
Dawson and his wife moved to Denver in 2008, looking to enjoy what Denver and Colorado had to offer, including opening his own family business – a brewery. And, it’s not a family business without Greg. “We got into this business because of a mutual love and appreciation for craft beer. We also wanted to live near each other and start a family business,” said Dawson. “Greg was the obvious choice to head the brewing program, and my role became the director of operations.”
The Dawson brothers wanted to pay homage to their childhood summers: “‘The Farm’ as we called it, and our grandparent’s tireless work maintaining it well into their mid-70’s, were inspirations for both the theme of our brewery and the decision to become entrepreneurs.”
Dawson began engaging in the Denver Metro Small Business Development Center attending various start-up courses and the Funding Options Panel. He began to identify and refine his mission for their brewery, now called Briar Common. With a clear mission, they made substantial changes to their business model to ensure their classic and contemporary beers and globally inspired food were consistent with their core values.
“We’ve constantly modified our offerings to best reflect the desires of the consumer visiting a brewpub today,” Dawson said.
Dawson also took advantage of the financial consulting services that the Denver Metro SBDC offers at no cost. The consultants were instrumental in assisting him with financial statements, including projected balance sheets, income statements and statements of cash flow.
Briar Common opened in the Jefferson Park neighborhood in 2016 – establishing itself in Denver’s booming beer and dining landscape. Selling out of their seasonal beer pairing dinners and nightly specials, they have continued to see business grow. And, they continue to entice their customer’s taste buds as they just launched “Sour Seoul,” a Kimchi inspired beer, which Greg Dawson crafted in homage to his 12 years living in Seoul South Korea.
Dawson’s advice to anyone who is thinking about entrepreneurship: “Use resources from the Denver Metro SBDC and meet with as many consultants as possible. They all have unique perspectives and provide sound advice.”
Olivia Rollene is the marketing and program specialist for the Denver Metro SBDC.