Juan left his finance job to pursue his passion, beer. After brewing for fun, Juan began to entertain the idea of creating his own business. He founded the Dyckman Beer Co. in 2012. His staple beer, the first craft beer of its kind, is inspired by the flavors, the people, and the culture of Uptown Manhattan and its surrounding neighborhoods. Juan inspires us to take calculated risks and to follow our big dreams.
Read our exchange below:
Prior to brewing beer, what was your career?
I went to Bryant University, I always gravitated towards numbers. I had a great curiosity about Wall Street so I chose finance as my major. After my senior year, I started to work at a Swiss investment bank on a rotational program. I gained the skills and network that I needed to begin a career in finance. I worked in finance for a number of years before I started my business.
Did you have any fears when you decided to start your business?
In the beginning I actually didn't have many fears because I was so excited about the project. I think now that I left my job, there is more pressure to perform but I believe in what I am doing so I think everything is going to fall into place. I control my own destiny so this is actually a good project for me because I have a lot of control. I am strategically planning.
What is it like to know that people enjoy something that you have created?
It's very weird. It's hard to think that I just started distributing 6 months ago and now my beer is in a lot of places. I haven't been able to enjoy it, mainly because it is all happening so fast. I love when people tell me that they like my beer and that they like what I am doing. That's really the best gift.
I actually used the satisfaction I felt doing this [brewing beer] and knowing people enjoyed it to catapult me towards building the business. The frustrations from my day job and other things really helped me get deeper into it. It became a hobby that also had the potential to become something bigger.
How did you prepare financially?
What really helped was that I was successful in my career and I was able to plan financially in order to start my business. I was also approved for a small business loan. I hired the best people that I could afford to work for me and I was able to launch my business quickly. I quit my day job within 8 months of production.
How did it feel to quit your job?
It was a great feeling. You don't know your full potential until you start doing something on your own. This is something that I truly created from inception.
What do you feel when you think about the potential of your brand, of how big it can become?
I think "I can't fail" although I am actually, usually OK with failing. I have failed at a lot of things but I just don't want to fail at this. I have so many people supporting me and failure is not an option. This is the second business I have started. My first business, a graphic design business, didn't go so well but that did not stop me. You just have to refine yourself every time and try again. The stakes are higher for this business but I am extremely passionate about doing this and the reward outweighs the risk.
You say that beer has the power to change things, what do you mean by that?
I want to partner with nonprofit organizations and support their efforts throughout the year not just to donate a few cases for an event. I believe in continual support. I don't want to donate a few cases and say "good luck raising money", I want to become more involved. There is a lot of need in the community and I want to be involved with causes that are important to me. Believe it or not, beer ignites community support.