Imagine More Recap with Jonathan Baker

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Jonathan Baker

Occupation: Jonathan Baker, Co-Founder of Monday Night Brewing

Website: Monday Night Brewing

Twitter handle: @mondaynight

Instagram handle: @mondaynight

On starting the brewery: “All home brewers dream at some point of starting a brewery, and we ... started out that way. We had no network. We had expertise in other areas, so finance, marketing, operations; but we had no brewing background. We had no industry background. Actually, took the slow journey to starting the brewery, spent five years starting it. We started brewing beer on Monday nights back in 2006. It was like the only night that we all had free. There's not a ton going on usually. It was the only night we could all get synced up, and we started just falling in love with brewing on Mondays. We actually started looking forward to Mondays, and we're like, 'I think there's something here.' The name kind of found us.”

On partnership: “Our shared history in a Bible study is actually a really interesting foundation for a business partnership. It's a place where you're kind of vulnerable from the start. We all have seen each other naked, so to speak. We've approached our partnership as a friendship first, and I think we've ... after what? 15 years or so, there's just a certain amount of trust, right? There have been portions of time when one of us has been less engaged than the others. One of us has been going through something, and the other guys have always been there to pick up the slack. There's just kind of a shared trust over time. One of the really interesting tidbit that I think is cool is in our operating agreement that defines how the company operates, we wrote a pretty long section in about how we were going to handle disagreements if it came up between the three of us, right? Because some things require unanimous decisions. WE said that before going to any court, we all agreed that we would go to our pastor first, so we wrote his name in there, and talked to him about it.”

On time off: “I took a two-month sabbatical from the brewery. I put an away message on my email saying this mailbox would not be checked. I logged out of all my social media accounts. I logged out of Slack. I actually logged out of my email so that I couldn't even get to it without figuring out what my password was. Just kind of gave myself some time to think. It was really amazing, and now I want to make it an annual thing. I spent some time traveling, building furniture, watching Netflix, drinking things that weren't beer, like gin. ... Cooked a lot, it was a lot of fun… As we were growing, I was becoming less integral to a lot of the day to day stuff that I was doing. Don't get me wrong, I was busy, but I didn't think I was busy doing the right things, necessarily. I wanted to just be able to disconnect to reflect on what I think those things should be, what should I be spending my time on? What does the brewery need from me at this point? I've grown with it for seven years now, and my role has changed dramatically throughout those seven years. I think I just needed brain space to be able to process all that… I didn't come away from the sabbatical with a ton of answers. Probably more questions, but maybe better questions.”

On creativity: “I think there's something really powerful about just letting your mind do its thing. I read every day, but I don't read business books. I can't stand them. No offense if you've written one. Inspiration comes from the oddest places sometimes. Just seeing how other people are doing it in other industries, and ... getting ideas from fictional characters, even. I think those are the things that are going to transform your business. The challenge is you never ... It doesn't feel like productive time, right? Because you never know when inspiration is going to strike. I think it's important to put yourself in a place where it could.”