Aaron Berman | Crain's Denver

In this ongoing series, we ask executives, entrepreneurs and business leaders about mistakes that have shaped their business philosophy.

Aaron Berman

Background:  

The Infinite Monkey Theorem is an urban winery founded in Denver with a second location in Austin, that is focused on making quality wines. Founded in 2008 by winemaker Ben Parsons, The Infinite Monkey Theorem believes the community surrounding the winery helps define the wine’s quality.

The Mistake:

I wasn't planning for the long-term and was trying to do too much.

When you’re first starting out in a business, you don’t know always know if it’s going to be successful and as such, you can’t always plan for that. Often you’re thinking three to five years ahead rather than 10 to 15 years in advance. It’s easy to get excited and spread yourself too thin.

At first we didn’t have a single focus. For example, when we started selling canned wine in 2010 we were only one of two companies doing it. People at the time didn’t think canned wine would go anywhere and that we weren’t doing the right thing. They actually turned their nose at it.

Now we’re in 2017 there are tons of competitors. I don’t think even we anticipated that it would rise this quickly. We knew it could be successful but didn’t know how fast it could be. If we had prepared more long-term from the beginning, I think we wouldn’t be running around so much with our heads cut off as we have been.

Initially we were canning by hand, since we were a small company. But we soon learned that’s not completely feasible. We bought a canning line from a Colorado company that could produce 40 cans a minute. This is where some of our shortsightedness came in. We thought at the time that was fast and that would be our solution for the foreseeable future.

It’s easy to get excited and spread yourself too thin.

The Lesson:

But ultimately we realized that for high volume canning, we needed to partner with others who could do it and not try to do it ourselves.

We realized our bread and butter is making the wine from grapes picked from where our taproom resides. But trying to branch out into canning ourselves was a stretch.

As we’ve grown, more money has gone back into the business for inventory and marketing. Being successful doesn’t mean we can afford to buy a half a million dollar canning line and be OK. Now we’ve been able to focus more on building our brand and making quality wine.

 

Follow The Infinite Monkey Theorem on Twitter at @Infinite_Chimp.

Pictured: Aaron Berman | Photo courtesy of The Infinite Monkey Theorem.

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