WHERE IT ALL BEGAN...
As told by Co-Founder Jim Watkins:
This week I spent some time contemplating how far we’ve come in the years since sharing our
vision for Sociable with all of you. I can trace the journey back almost 10 years, to a rare beer
shared between 90 hour work weeks with my then NYC roommate and now MSP business
partner, Wade. We didn’t know then that our business was going to be a boundary-pushing
cidery, or even that it was going to be back home in Minnesota. We just knew that is was going
to BE. In retrospect, that ill-defined plan is laughable in its vagueness. It makes where we are
now seem even more improbable.
The fact that I am writing this from a DESK, in an OFFICE indicates just how far we’ve come. Our
business, like those of so many of our brewer peers, began to take form in a garage about a
mile from here. We set up our pressing operation and home-made brewhouse in the spot
where my then girlfriend, now wife, paid an extra $50 a month to park her 2001 Subaru inside.
As our fleet of carboys grew, the Subaru moved back outside and our store-bought boxes of
apples turned into orchard-bought bins of apples. We were making so many test batches we
couldn’t drink them fast enough. We started taking them as gifts to weddings. Our friends
drank some great cider, and even more mediocre cider. Our cellar, much to the chagrin of
roommate #5, overflowed into the walk-in closet in the basement. She was frustrated that our
hobby had encroached on her living space AND that all her shit smelled like fermenting apples.
By this time we weren’t afraid to say it out loud: this wasn’t a hobby anymore, this was a life-
savings-draining, no-crying-in-baseball THING.
We spent the better part of a year ironing out our financial model. We had 62 versions of said
model before we decided this was a great idea. We jokingly held retirement parties. I played,
on repeat, “Take this Job and Shove it” by David Allen Coe for at least a week. We started
looking for a building. We found a magical spot that everyone else thought was terrible. Most
importantly we convinced exactly one bank to give us money. I bought a box truck with 300k+
miles on it and four third-hand fermenters, both with personal checks. We power washed
floors, we painted walls, we built furniture, and we traded cider for landscaping work.
We bootstrapped our plan, while our landlord abided our rent-free occupation of an in-process
renovation. My mom came up to help clean before the health inspection. Our windows have
never shined that way since. The day after our license was issued, Thanksgiving day, we
celebrated mostly by eating and drinking too much. After dinner someone said, “I think we
should be open tomorrow.” Instagram wasn’t a thing then, so I pulled out my iphone 3G and
tweeted exactly that. The rest, as they say, is history. Thanks so much for all of your support
since, Sociable Nation!