Alumnus brewing a successful business
Days are long, but learning is quick for small business owner Brent Malysh.
The Bachelor of Commerce in Entrepreneurial Management (BCom) alumnus (2015) recently opened Backroads Brewing Company in Nelson, B.C. He’s embracing his dual role of CEO and bartender while working 10 to 14 hour days, six days a week.
“The brewing industry is something I’ve always been interested in. I thought, ‘this would be a really fun thing to be a part of, but how am I ever going to do it?’” says Malysh. “The commerce degree from Royal Roads really gave me the skill set to actually tackle this, so why not just go for it?”
Malysh worked in the ski industry for 15 years before deciding it was time for a change. He wrote the business plan for Backroads Brewing while in the BCom program at Royal Roads and says the program gave him marketing, accounting and organizational management skills and taught him where to focus his efforts for a successful business. A highlight of the program for him was learning how to make connections.
“It’s not just how much you know from a book about accounting processes or whatever else, but how to find the right information and how to find the right people and bring them into your business to allow it to flourish and grow,” says Malysh. “I can’t do everything myself so I’ve got to know where to look for the right thing. That’s what Royal Roads did a great job of teaching—understanding how to find the right places and how to pull from the right sources.”
Malysh found a business partner with more than 25 years in the industry as a brewmaster. Together they created a space different from other pubs in the area. He describes the atmosphere as a throwback to a simpler time with community-style seating. It’s the opposite of a dark watering hole and that ambience has received an extraordinarily positive response from the local community, Malysh says.
“There are no TVs in here and there’s no Wi-Fi,” says Malysh. “We really force people to sit and engage with each other and that’s gone over really well. The response to the beer has been phenomenal which is the most important thing—people really like the product we make.”
Malysh is working on selling their beer in local restaurants and retail stores and has even bigger future goals. He’s determined to distribute product throughout B.C. and eventually build a separate production facility. Throughout the sometimes challenging process of opening and running a small business, Malysh has proved resourcefulness and hard work are essential to help business succeed.
“We just hired a couple staff members, so now I work five and half days a week,” he says with a chuckle.