Thank you so much for joining us! Let’s show everyone you’re a normal human being. What are your hobbies, favorite places to visit, pet peeves? Tell us about YOU when you’re not at the office.
“Well, to give you a quick summary: I am really into trying new things. I must have picked up, learned and messed up dozens of different hobbies so far. On the flip side, I tend to forget about older hobbies as I pick up new ones, almost like a “Master of None.” But one that has stuck is my love of cooking. I try to make one very advanced dish a month. I also love watching baseball and try to make it to as many games as I can. I really enjoy a well-written science fiction book, as well as being a cheesy 90s movie buff.”
Can you tell us something about you that few people know?
“I’m actually ambidextrous. I broke both of my arms at separate times in elementary school, so I had to learn how to do everything twice!”
Do you have any exciting projects going on right now?
“It’s actually a really exciting time at Concrete Beach. We are launching two new beers: Sola IPA and Rosé Ale. Sola IPA is our new flagship IPA, juicy and hazy. This is an intensely flavorful IPA and I’m really excited to release it to South Florida. Rosé Ale is our take on wine-inspired beer. I think we created a beer that perfectly pairs the two, using plenty of real white zinfandel grapes to really highlight the tannin notes in the beer. Both are launching as we speak, so it has been a bit of a whirlwind here — although very exciting.”
Many people say success correlates with the people you meet in your life. Can you describe two that most impacted your success and why.
“Probably the first person to really challenge the way that I worked was a campus director that I had in college. I was putting together a very large event on campus and was constantly running into coordination problems. I was used to having things just being done, and never had to be the one to make it happen. He used the phrase ‘lack of preparation on your part does not constitute an emergency on my part’ all the time.
“In hindsight, an on-campus event at college is not a big deal at all, but I learned a lot from him and how I should expect to carry myself in the future. People are not going to go out of their way to make things happen for you — you have to be the one to drive your future.
“My first brewing manager was someone I had the opportunity to learn a lot from as well. I didn’t have any brewing experience when I started my career and he gave me a shot to prove myself. While he tended to be on the more assertive side, I really appreciated his management style. He would let me try, fail, and then I would have to tell him why I failed and what I learned from it. He often would ask me if his way of doing things was the most efficient use of my time, to see if I could streamline our processes, or improve recipes. In brewing, more than most industries, the person who trained you often influences your work style the most, and it was no different with him.”
Leaders always seem to find ways to overcome their weaknesses. Can you share one or two examples of how you work outside of your comfort zone to achieve success?
“Probably one of my biggest weaknesses is that I usually believe that my way is the right/only way. It used to get in the way of my relationships with my fellow brewers in my early days, and it was something I was committed to working on.
“I try to step back and take other ideas, take criticism and not only communicate with my team, but our other departments as well (sales, marketing, etc.), to really understand the whole picture. It has been extremely beneficial to foster relationships with the people that you work closest with.”
The concept of mind over matter has been around for years. A contemporary description of this is having mental toughness. Can you give us an example (or two) of obstacles you’ve overcome by getting your mind in the right place (some might call this reframing the situation)?
“A great example actually happened fairly recently. Our brewery runs on an electrical PLC program, without which we wouldn’t be able to brew any beer! A storm created a power surge and shorted out the electrical panel that controls the program. We went from things running smoothly to realizing that all it takes is a little power surge to put us out of production.
“We called the manufacturer and were told would be two weeks out from getting the necessary replacement part. My heart sank, because we are a growing brewery, and this would have been disastrous. I had to take a minute because I was starting to panic.
“Something I always do when I’m feeling overwhelmed is I’ll literally walk away from the issue for a minute. In this case, I walked out to get a coffee, to clear my head and figure out a solution. After a few minutes, I went back to the panel, stared at it some more, and had my first productive thought: didn’t we hire an engineer once? I ran to my business card drawer, called him, and we worked all day, over the phone, to get that panel working again. We went from possibly being two weeks down, to only being down one day! I personally believe that if we don’t take those extra moments to clear our heads, there’s no space to land on a solution.”
What are your “3 Lessons I Learned from My Most Memorable Failure”
“One, what you like isn’t always going to be what other people like. Two, learn how to take criticism well. And three, be honest with yourself, and remember why you failed. Use it in the future.”
What unfiltered advice can you give aspiring stars regarding how to avoid common mis-fires in starting their career?
“People are not going to trust that you are going to be successful right off the bat, because you won’t be. Everyone has setbacks and missteps, especially at the start of their career. You have to learn from your mistakes and earn their trust. Your work ethic, not your resume or reputation is what will put you above the rest.”
What is the best lesson you learned from your worst boss?
“I had an awful boss once that would think he gave me instructions and would be upset I never followed them. The thing was, he often forgot to tell me what the instructions were; he would just expect the work to be done. We had a rough go for a while because of it.
“I figured that he wasn’t going to change, so I would have to change my perspective. I was just out of college and starting a career in what I thought was going to be food manufacturing. I began looking at my workday and thinking not what ‘I had to get done’ but instead, ‘what is everything that needed to get done that day.’ I knew I would never be able to complete everything but looking at it and changing my perspective allowed me to be much more successful, and really fixed the relationship with my boss.
“I would never recommend his management style, but I was able to learn from it.”
What is one “efficiency hack” you use consistently in your life to keep your time and mind free to focus on your strengths and passions?
“I think this is much less a “hack” and is fairly popular, but I make lists. Everything I have to do goes on the list. It’s messy and disorganized, but it’s still a list of things to get done. If I’m feeling bogged down or unproductive, I do the easiest thing on the list. It keeps me going in the right direction!”
All actors or musicians have sleepless nights. We have a term we use with our clients called the “2 a.m. moment.” It’s when you’re wide awake and thinking not-so-positive thoughts about your business choices and future. Can you describe a 2 a.m. moment (or moments) you’ve had and how you overcame the challenges?
“I think these happen to everyone, and more frequently than we like to admit.
“I’ve moved across the country twice and have definitely had those kinds of nights each time I’ve done it. Personally, during those moments, I like to access how I’m feeling, acknowledge that, and think about how I’m going to be feeling one, two, or five years down the road. If the choices that I am making now can paint a picture of where I see myself being happy in that future, then I know I’m in the right place.
“I also think about how I felt one, two or five years ago to make sure that what I envisioned for myself then fits with how I feel at the moment.”
Nobody likes to fail, and we sure don’t like to admit we failed. Can you describe a moment when you confided your most closely-held business issues/problems to someone close to you, and how the conversation(s) helped you work through the issue?
“I am a huge fan of getting a second opinion from people outside of my industry. If you have close friends and even family to bounce ideas off, it can be an invaluable resource. I’ve been helped so many times by family and friends during hard decisions, because you tend to get wrapped up in your own industry (along with your friends in that industry) and it’s as if you’re in an echo chamber. Those that you trust outside of the industry are often the ones that will give it to you straight and can often show you the simplest solution to something you might have blown out of proportion in your head.”
What’s on the drawing board for your next venture?
“We may be in the middle of a double release of beers, but that does not stop the beer innovations from happening. In our Social Hall at the brewery, we have 18 taps that I love to keep full of new, crazy and innovative beers. There is always something for everyone. Those beers are what help shape our future core styles. We have a whiteboard in our brewing office that our team keeps full of ideas to keep our brewing minds sharp. We never know what the next hit beer will be!”
What is the best way our readers can follow you on social media?
Concrete Beach Brewery is @concretebeachfl on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.
Personally I am @eherna19 on Instagram.