News. Events. Ideas. People.
#hellobrooklyn: Tapping that Inner City Brand
“We believed Brooklyn represented a mythical place in America – a gritty, urban brand that would be good for sales,” said Stephen Hindy, CEO of Brooklyn Brewery.
It says something if you’re hip before the hipsters.
When Stephen Hindy started Brooklyn Brewery in 1988, the Williamsburg neighborhood was a post-industrial town run-down from the shrink of traditional manufacturing. The area, strewn with empty buildings and warehouses, was hardly the ideal location to start a business. But Hindy took a chance on inner city Brooklyn in more ways than one.
Before Brooklyn Brewery’s founding, CEO Steve Hindy was a correspondent for the Associated Press stationed in the Middle East. Trying to get around local alcohol bans, Hindy and many of his colleagues decided to brew their own beer, and upon returning to the United States (Brooklyn specifically), the company was born. When honoring the firm’s success, former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani said of Hindy, “He used to be a reporter, now he’s making an honest living.”
From Brooklyn Brewery’s birth, its brand was tied to the inner city. Many told Hindy that there was no way the company could be competitive with inner city overtones attached to its image. The firm was venturing into a hypercompetitive industry where craft brewers represented only 8% of the U.S. market and there were an estimated 1,500 craft brewer competitors. Yet, Brooklyn Brewery was able to stand out.
Not only has the company grown, it was recognized in 2012 as one of the fastest-growing inner city businesses in the U.S. The firm racked up $24.7 million in revenues in 2010 and currently employs 80 workers, half of which are inner city residents. Brooklyn’s brand extends beyond the inner city and beyond New York. Its products are currently sold in 25 states and 20 foreign countries.
Hindy obviously proved all of the naysayers wrong and credits the inner city for much of Brooklyn Brewery’s growth. Williamsburg has also experienced a dramatic facelift. The city’s scruff is now credited to the trendy facial hair of residents. Hindy attributes Brooklyn’s economic growth largely to a private sector employing local residents. As more and more Americans return to urban cores, the growth trajectory is solid for this firm and its local community. Any Saturday, you can go to Williamsburg, check out this thriving inner city neighborhood, visit the Brooklyn Brewery, sit back, relax and enjoy a few cold ones. Cheers!
Brooklyn Brewery has proven that an inner city brand and identity be a catalyst for business growth. Watch the Fortune video below where Hindy talks about brewing up bigger business in Brooklyn.
BY Alex Rodriguez on July 12th, 2012
Trending Topicsworkforce development workforce what works urban revitalization small business shared value nyc manufacturing jobs inner city economic summit industrial ic100 housing food entrepreneur economic development detroit community development clusters cities capital business boston ask the expert anchors
FOR OUR MONTHLY INNER CITY INSIGHTS.
- CEOs for Cities
- SBA's Open for Business
- Opportunity Nation
- Living Cities
- Urban Institute's MetroTrends
- Atlantic Cities
- The Knight Foundation
- The Kresge Foundation
- Core Change Cincy
- Business Civic Leadership Center
- The Urbanophile
- Next City
- City Journal
- Rust Wire