I stumbled upon a new company called Shine Craft Vessels while I was browsing one of my favorite blogs, OhBeautifulBeer.com (a great combination two loves of mine – craft beverages and good design). Since I had written a post on the best unique growlers, I was intrigued and checked out their website. It seemed like a cool company with a well put together brand, so I shot them a note from their contact page just saying,
Saw your growlers on Beautiful Beer – Just wanted to reach out and say nice work! Your brand is looking solid.
Jordan Childs, the founder of Shine Craft Vessels immediately responded,
Man, thank you so much for taking the time and sending a note. Seriously means a lot.
It goes to show that spending a couple minutes to send appreciation to those doing good work really means a lot. I know when people reach out to me on facebook, twitter, or this blog it definitely gives me encouragement just to know people are reading.
I now have a sweet Wander and Rumble Growler that I bring to breweries for fresh fills and I recently wrote an article about Shine Craft Vessel Co. Below are a few questions I asked Jordan about himself and his company to help me write the article.
Why did you decide to start a growler company?
I wanted a reusable growler that had great functional and aesthetic design sensibilities. Something that would potentially outlast me and also be a source of pride to carry into a brewery or leave on the table at a dinner party. A vessel that was simple in its design from all aspects and let the real beauty remain in the well crafted brews inside. I couldn’t find exactly what I wanted so I decided to create it
How did you come up with the design? Do you have an industrial design background?
My background is graphic design and marketing. Previous to starting Shine, I worked for The LEGO Group and oversaw retail marketing for the North American LEGO branded retail stores. Prior to that I held roles in the design and advertising industries.
I have a trading partner that oversees and manages the production process, which I input into based on what my needs and market driven needs are (i.e. passivation, carbonation containment). The process of creating the growler was difficult in that the original vision was to create a purely American-made vessel. I pitched over 30 American manufacturers and not a single one had the capability to produce a 64oz, stainless steel bottle. An outside consultant was brought on to help in sourcing a domestic manufacturer and again, there was no luck in finding a partner. Eventually, the search was expanded to factories in China and with the help of our trading partner, our product manufacturing was sourced. When we receive the growlers in Virginia, we work with three separate local companies to powder coat, passivate and print each growler individually.
Do you have plans of expanding your product line?
Yes, we fully plan on expanding in the very near future. We’re already in development on a couple new pieces of barware that will be launching later this year- all based on the same premise; stainless steel, simple design, exciting colors and functionality above all.
Where do you see yourself, and your company in 5 years?
I am intentionally looking short term right now and not doing long range strategy…yet. One of the cornerstones of this company is fulfilling high expectations of our supporters and partners. In order to do that, all of our focus currently is making sure our current batch is produced to exceptionally high standards, they’re packed and shipped properly and arrive safely to their new owners. Right now we’re planning about 4-6 months out and just beginning to think Holiday.
But to not dodge your question, in 5 years we want to be known by both craft enthusiasts and design enthusiasts for making premium, functional barware.
How did you choose the initial colors?
Purely based on what I wanted to make. I know that sounds super narcissistic but in the genesis of these things, we knew there was a good chance that no one would be interested and we’d just have a huge cache of wedding gifts. So I said, “here goes nothing” and picked the colors I wanted. My wife doesn’t even like some of the colors (although the ones she doesn’t like are the best sellers and she’s coming around).
What was the first drink to fill a wander and rumble growler?
Well, all of our passivation and product testing was done in Virginia Beach so we used one brewery pretty regularly as the guinea pig. It was Beach Brewing Company and the variety most commonly used was their Hammerhead IPA.
What is the favorite drink to put in your growler?
Tough question because every time a Shine Vessel gets filled there’s a sense of pride and appreciation that this is real. Every brewery we go to there’s a lot of questions, comments, feedback and they’re all such important conversations to have during a fill. Living in Richmond, VA, there are a few really great breweries and each of them have done something cool to support us. I think that going to those breweries, meeting the brewmasters and owners, then having them personally fill a Shine Vessel make for the best drinks.
Do you have any words of wisdom for people interested in starting a company?
Starting anything from nothing is a daunting endeavor and I honestly have no qualifications to offer advice because I really haven’t proven that I know how to make something grow or last for a long time. But I will say that having a supportive partner (whether that’s a wife, husband, business associate, parent, someone who you can confide in) is critical to keeping you from losing your mind.
The other thing to consider is that starting a business with the goal of becoming a sustaining, profitable and independent living right off the bat is going to drive you crazy. Our montra is that thinking small is the way to grow big. If we make 5 growlers and we sell 5 growlers, we’ll go make more. If we make 100 and sell 100, we’ll go make more. We only spend the cash we have on hand and scale at a rate that’s comfortable. Owning your own thing is an amazing experience, but you shouldn’t stay up every night worried about it (try to keep that to only a few nights a week). Have fun with it.
Have you had mead before? If so what kind, and how did you feel about it?
Yes, but am no expert by any means! I remember the first time having it was in New England a few years back. It was in Hartford, CT and it was Carroll’s Mead. When I was first offered it, I was told that it was a lighter version than some of the ‘purist’ recipes but I really enjoyed it. Since then I’ve had a number of different varieties, I always feel like I am drinking something that has a lot of culture and history fermented into it. Most of what I have had dances along the lines of a white wine with a substantially more distinctive honey back, but there have been a few types that are closer to a dry wine with a lot of complex flavors from other ingredients that were infused. Someone recently told me about Redstone Meadery in Boulder and that they do some interesting recipes. Any Shine Vessel would be honored to have one of (if not the) oldest beverages in the world inside the tank.