Brewer Magazine Q&A: Brad Lincoln, Funkwerks

This is a part of a continuing series of Q&As with members of the brewing community from across the U.S.
Brewer Magazine will share business and personal insights from Brewmasters, Head Brewers, Brewing Managers, Sales Directors, QCQA Managers and others each weekend to help you get to know each other better in the industry and learn more to better develop your own brand.
Brad Lincoln​, co-​founder ​& president​, Funkwerks — Fort Collins, Colorado​

BREWER: ​How do you feel your job has had to adapt in the beer market compared to a few years ago?
​LINCOLN: ​Although the industry has changed rapidly, it is difficult for me to tell how much this has affected my day​-​to​-​day job. I am constantly fighting fires and making decisions on less information than I would desire. This has been my job for ten years and no matter how good or bad the industry is I don’t think that will change for me. Perhaps it’s what I am best at, perhaps it’s that no one else wants this job. Most likely a bit of both.

​BREWER: Who is your mentor in the industry and why? What have you learned from them?
LINCOLN: I don’t have just one mentor. I have several people that have worked in the beer industry far longer than me that I trust. I use the opinions of multiple individuals to balance points of view. I consider it a small board of directors. I don’t follow any of them solely. I would recommend this approach over one mentor as sometimes that mentor will fail and you will be left questioning all of the the advice they have given you. The over arching item I have learned is that there are a few important decisions you need to get right, focus on those and the rest make less of a difference​.

BREWER: Can you share a success story that you are proud of in your job or maybe a story of how you learned from a situation that has altered your thoughts on how you do your job now?
LINCOLN: Initially I was very against contract brewing. The desire to have control over the whole product is very important to us at Funkwerks. I have grown to see another side of this as I have matured in the industry. I believe contract brewing can be environmentally and financially prudent. I believe contract brewing combined with a tight supply chain will give our customers the freshest product. One needs to work with a trusted partner that has the same tight quality standards that we have but giving up control can be valuable to our team and customers if done well.

BREWER: Can you touch on something your brewery has added lately that’s unique or making your business more successful (it could be equipment, technology or people)?
LINCOLN: I think the employees are the best competitive advantage of any business. A great example of this is Alex, our warehouse supervisor. Alex just rejoined the team and in the course of a month cleaned up our inventory and warehouse to the tightest it’s ever been. His dedication to the job, understanding of the business, and care of his team is one of the greatest assets to Funkwerks.

BREWER: If you had one business strategy that you could implement to better the brewing industry, what would it be?
LINCOLN: I don’t know if it’s a business strategy but I hope as the industry becomes more competitive it can preserve the values of camaraderie and kindness that our industry is known for.

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