Florida Brewer's Ball 2019
I remember when Tidal was nothing more than an idea, something Dave and I had talked about in passing when discussing a bad day at school. Over time, these types of conversations just started to become regular occurrences until we decided that it was time to make moves. If we didn’t make this dream happen for us, who would?
The process of obtaining our permits and renovating took forever, it seemed. You all were right there with us, watching our progress on Facebook and Instagram. There was a point that we had reached where we never thought that we would see our doors open and we would be locked into a 5 year lease and a lifetime of debt, but nonetheless we persevered.
Here are the things no one can tell you about this process, and you just have to learn them for yourself:
Small businesses are the most expensive version of a child out there.
I remember being scared to death, but then again I have never been good with change or the unknown. I anticipated a lot of things, but many of my feelings ended up surpassing my own expectations, especially with regards to customer interactions. Fortunately, most conversations are positive and rewarding. But, every once and awhile, customers are dissatisfied. What do you say to someone who doesn’t like your kid when you think your kid is GREAT? I’ve learned how to smile and nod quite well, and I have also taught myself how to make every conversation a learning experience. Negatives can easily be turned into positives, it’s all a matter of approach.
How to be a boss
I’ve never thought of myself as a leader. Sure, I can set an example and take charge if needed, but never did I envision myself as someone who guides a group of individuals toward a common purpose. I’ve had to have more difficult conversations in the last year of my life than I ever have before, but did so with the good of my team and my company in mind. This role has easily been the most challenging, yet the most rewarding that I have ever held and I am thankful for it every single day.
All hardships and learning experiences aside, do you know that feeling of overwhelming fulfillment when you have been working so tirelessly, wondering if it’s ever going to pay off, and then you have a sign from the Universe that everything is going exactly as it should? That’s the state I have been living in since the middle of February.
We had entered several beers into the Florida Best Beer competition at the end of January. At this point, we had been working 60-80 hour weeks and had little attention to detail. We debated whether we should can or bottle our submissions, we debated the beers we would enter and the categories they fit under. The whole process felt rushed to me, but we drove our entries down to Tampa one Sunday morning and hoped for the best.
I had never doubted Dave’s beer. That is one of the only things I have ever been 100% confident in throughout this entire process of opening. I just doubted the timing. I didn’t feel that we had totally thought out our presentation or our selection of categories.
But, then we got the email.
We had placed in two categories - German Ale and German Wheat Beer. I remember rolling over in the middle of the night to find my husband staring at me, waiting for any sign of wakefulness. He was so excited, and who could blame him? We hadn’t even been open for a year, so it was more than an accomplishment to us. It was a right of passage into the Florida beer community.
Perhaps the best part of all of this was the support of our staff members. No quicker than we had mentioned our earnings, they were buying their own tickets and talking carpooling. Dave and I had always wanted the business to feel like a small family. We knew that each of our employees enjoyed working at Tidal, simply because they chose to, but we truly began feeling an overwhelming sense of community just recently.
Here are a few highlights from the Brewer’s Ball that kicked off Tampa Bay Beer Week 2019.
We received a silver medal in the German Wheat Category for our Weiz Up, Bock (Weizenbock) and a silver medal in the German Ale Category for our Alterior Notion (Altbier). It was an absolute honor and a privilege to be able to share our beer with the rest of Tampa Bay and to receive our medals with the very best breweries out there.
More importantly, we were so grateful to have had the opportunity to review the feedback on all of our submissions. It truly was a learning experience. We are already looking forward to the 2020 competition and plan to re-submit some of the beers that we shared this year as well as enter some new favorites.