Brewer Magazine Q&A: How Mark Youngquist of Dolores River Brewery Gauges Success

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.

Mark Youngquist, owner/Brewmaster, Dolores River Brewery — Dolores, Colorado

BREWER: How has your business strategy evolved to help grow and stay competitive?
YOUNGQUIST: Growth and competition are words and concepts often associated with “successful” business strategy and held as sacred. What if instead, success was measured by the impact we have in service to our community? Our business strategy has evolved to incorporate this mindset, and indeed it has opened up the very idea of what “business” is about. We like to measure success in all the ways we can play a role in service to changing the world for the better.

BREWER: Who is your mentor in the industry and why? What have you learned from them?
YOUNGQUIST: I’ve had many mentors and guides in this industry over the years, and from them intentionally or unconsciously learned much of value. Karl Ockert has long been my friend, and my first brewing mentor at BridgePort Brewing, he taught me to respect simplicity, that subtlety and nuance are an elusive part of mastery. Jim Koch and Charles Finkel taught me and a large number of young idealists in the brewing industry that marketing matters. Fritz Maytag — we had a conversation many years ago that still echoes in my head as divine truth. He said ‘whenever you buy a new piece of equipment to expand your capacity, you are also fundamentally changing your entire business.’ Teri Fahrendorf continues to show me all the ways to stand for collaboration, innovation, inclusion, and fun.

BREWER: What idea did you or your team come up with lately that has been a big benefit to how your business functions?
YOUNGQUIST: We spent the months of April and May building a beautiful new beer garden. It’s been perfect for social distance beer drinking, and has helped us navigate the obstacles of COVID.

BREWER: If you had one business strategy that you could implement to better the brewing industry, what would it be?
YOUNGQUIST: Create a new/old segment of craft brewing that centers around the Reinheitsgebot. Sometimes I feel like novelty has nearly extinguished respect for traditional brewing and I personally lament the loss of many smaller regional and craft brewers that were producing fantastic beers that fell out of vogue.

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