Brothers, Beer and Business in Saratoga Springs
The momentum to open Druthers came from a conversation that I had with my brother, Brian, in late 2007. At the time of our conversation, Brian was working as a relatively new analyst for a Wall Street firm. The economy was in a nose dive, and Brian’s prospects for future employment as an analyst were looking pretty grim. He was looking for a path ahead and asking me for my thoughts about some of the more traditional career paths (e.g., law school, business school). Before providing an answer to Brian’s question, I asked him a question of my own: “If money didn’t matter, if you couldn’t fail, what path would you choose?”
There was a long silence on the phone as we both pondered the question. I finally broke the silence by suggesting – what about starting our own brewery? This was a longstanding dream of ours. We were long-time home brewers, we both love craft beer, and we found ourselves planning vacations around visits to our favorite breweries. After an hour of planning (dreaming), we ended the call on fire, ready to pursue our dream at all costs.
Without getting into explicit detail, starting and building Druthers on Broadway in Saratoga Springs were the hardest things that I have ever undertaken. From struggling with financing and design, to working through the inherent difficulties with construction and hiring, there were so many difficult choices along the way. In fact, the only easy choice for us was the location of our first brewpub.
Saratoga Springs is such a special place to me and my family. I grew up here; it’s home. As a child, my family celebrated special occasions at the restaurants on Broadway. As teenagers, my brothers and I had summer jobs in local restaurants. When the opportunity to actually open a brew pub on Broadway presented itself, it was our golden ticket moment!
Saratoga Springs is known for health, history and horses. Certainly these elements make Saratoga Springs a special place. But as a nearly lifelong resident of Saratoga County, I know and appreciate Saratoga Springs more for its people; the community of folks who give so much of themselves to make this City a better place. These folks welcomed Druthers in when we opened and they have made us a part of their lives ever since.
We chose the name Druthers because it means choice. During the five-year period that we spent researching, planning and building Druthers, there were so many moments that made us want to quit. With every hurdle that we encountered, we faced a choice – quit or find a way to move on. We always chose to move on. As Virgil said, and as you will see on the backs of many of our shirts: “You are your choices.” Our goal at Druthers is to be proud of the choices we make. We couldn’t be prouder of our choice to launch Druthers in Saratoga Springs.