Meet James Brogan, Founder/CEO of a whiskey brand out of the SF Bay Area. After brewing & distilling non-commercially for 31-years and having been in Operations Management for the same amount of time – his dream has them poised to go National out-the-gate.
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Table of Contents
We are thrilled to have you join us today, welcome to ValiantCEO Magazine’s exclusive interview! Let’s start off with a little introduction. Tell our readers a bit about yourself and your company.
James Brogan: Having been a world-touring guitarist in a band on Atlantic Records and EMI Publishing, and in Operations Management (was with the 14th largest corporation in the world) forming and about to properly launch another dream job (St. James Brewery & Distillery) – I feel like all the key pieces of the puzzle came together quickly for us.
We’re now poised with 150 salespeople. Recently, we formed an even stronger bond to help scale the brand. Now, with a national accounts manager with a large beer brand that stepped-up with his efforts and now teamed-up. We now have national retail grocery chain with more coming.
I’ve made sure to build a healthy work environment and refuse to stray from that. No racism, no homophobia, no xenophobia, no hate and generally having a healthy work environment. Talking down to people isn’t allowed and treating people with respect is very important to me and now us.
2020 and 2021 threw a lot of curve balls into business on a global scale. Based on the experience gleaned in the past couple years, how can businesses thrive in 2022? What lessons have you learned?
James Brogan: Adapt to survive. I changed my business model to be a Wholesale Whiskey brand. When covid wrecked retail we saw on-line whiskey sales jump-up about 500%.
The pandemic seems to keep on disrupting the economy, what should businesses focus on in 2022? What advice would you share?
James Brogan: Be safe. Be aware. Be real and not invent conspiracy theories.
How has the pandemic changed your industry and how have you adapted?
James Brogan: As I’ve stated – rolling with the punches and see what’s working. Thankfully, the spirits world isn’t going anywhere after proving itself to basically be pandemic and recession proof.
15 straight years of whiskeys world-wide sales steady climb without faltering and passing wine up in world-wide sales for the first time starting 3 years ago all happening around the pandemic has one see businesses adapting.
Outdoor seating. Curbside service. Delivery. To name just a few. Sharing with competitors ideas to help make for a stronger market is much better than wishing failure.
What advice do you wish you received when the pandemic started and what do you intend on improving in 2022?
James Brogan: Well, first wishing that greed over the health of our nation didn’t happen. The rediculous dismantling of the CDC, then had we had been given warning and not been lied to daily would have saved lives. Telling everyone for the better of our nation.
Having helpful advice many months earlier to prepare obviously instead hoping it would go away and not ruin the economy. Coming from someone supposedly “leading” us that was way out of his league thinking he didn’t need advisors should tell everyone “live and learn”. Avoiding dying and learning would have been the better half. With 40,000 verifiable lies and the morals of a snake people better learn from those votes.
Online business surged higher than ever, B2B, B2C, online shopping, virtual meetings, remote work, Zoom medical consultations, what are your expectations for 2022?
James Brogan: Pay close attention and adapt when possible. Being prepared online more now is an obvious strong start
How many hours a day do you spend in front of a screen?
James Brogan: Around twelve.
The majority of executives use stories to persuade and communicate in the workplace. Can you share with our readers examples of how you implement that in your business to communicate effectively with your team?
James Brogan: Successful past history lessons. Learning from them. Building off them.
Business is all about overcoming obstacles and creating opportunities for growth. What do you see as the real challenge right now?
James Brogan: For us, “getting ahead of sales with supplies and inventory”. Basically readily available funding.
In 2022, what are you most interested in learning about? Crypto, NFTs, online marketing, or any other skill sets? Please share your motivations.
James Brogan: Knowledge is power. By “power” I mean being able to stay ahead of your game. I’d hope most would want to learn at least one thing in your field daily is a simple goal to achieve. If one just applies themselves. Being complacent or jaded sounds like someone needs to retire, sell their business and get a new hobby.
A record 4.4 million Americans left their jobs in September in 2021, accelerating a trend that has become known as the Great Resignation. 47% of people plan to leave their job during 2022. Most are leaving because of their boss or their company culture. 82% of people feel unheard, undervalued and misunderstood in the workplace. Do you think leaders see the data and think “that’s not me – I’m not that boss they don’t want to work for? What changes do you think need to happen?
James Brogan: Look deep. Don’t be think skinned. My last Operations Management position with 31 staff/7 departments is to quickly ascertain what works/what doesn’t. People like to be heard. How about asking staff what works what doesn’t. My management style had my staff be heard.
Still managed from the top down and decipher the best methods and procedures but if cost savings and important safety items come out of listening… And a sense your employees aren’t robots bored… I see a much more productive and happier at work culture. Why not engage?
On a lighter note, if you had the ability to pick any business superpower, what would it be and how would you put it into practice?
James Brogan: I can already tear phonebooks in half… Let’s see… Mind reading. I already know what you’re thinking… Hey! It’s working! Woah. That was rude. I’m not such a bad guy…
What does “success” in 2022 mean to you? It could be on a personal or business level, please share your vision.
James Brogan: Success to me means all wheels still enact and the machine is a nice machine that moves forward without pushing the machine too hard. It flows without dragging the axel, or major overhauls constantly. Change and improvement are good.
Jed Morley, VIP Contributor to ValiantCEO and the host of this interview would like to thank James Brogan for taking the time to do this interview and share his knowledge and experience with our readers.
If you would like to get in touch with James Brogan or his company, you can do it through his – Linkedin Page
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