If there was ever an insider’s look at brewery financing, this is it. Rick Wehner of Brewery Finance and Scott Birkner of Dogwood State Bank hail from lending organizations that are very different in their approaches. Their opinion about business plans, however, has a lot of common ground. For a good hard look at credit, partnerships, different kinds of financing, working with businesses in trouble, and a whole bunch of valuable commentary – take a listen.
Rick Wehner, Founder, Brewery Finance
Rick started his leasing career shortly after college when he went to work for his father’s equipment leasing company, learning the leasing business from the ground up, starting in the file room and slowly working his way through most of the different departments.
Rick eventually went on to start his own equipment finance company along with his brother, and he quickly married his passion for craft beer and his experience with equipment finance by forming Brewery Finance. He’ll be the first to tell you that he is more of a “beer guy that works in finance,” than a “finance guy that works with breweries.”
Scott Birkner, SBA Lending Specialist, Dogwood State Bank
Scott Birkner began his finance career immediately following college, where he worked for Unity Bank and held several progressive positions, from a loan underwriter to a Regional Sales Manager, and then commercial lender. Following this, he became a SBA Business Development Officer, where his portfolio projects ranged from $500,000 - $15,000,000.
Scott comes to Dogwood State Bank with over 20 years of SBA Lending, having served as a Senior Business Development Officer for HVC Bank, United Western Bank, Fifth Third Bank, Bank of North Carolina (now Pinnacle), Yadkin Bank (now First National Bank), and United Community Bank. Scott specializes in financing business acquisitions, start-ups, expansions, refinances, partner buyouts and commercial real estate on a nationwide platform. He is passionate about forming relationships with his clients and anticipating their needs throughout the duration of the loan process.
Scott is a member of the CVBBA (Carolinas Virginia Business Brokers Association) Brewers Association, America Craft Distillers Association, American Distilling Institute and many State Guilds. He is a frequent speaker, panelist and moderator at business broker events, commercial real estate events, lending conferences, seminars and SBA industry training.
StartABrewery is a collaboration amongst a fun group of craft beer industry veterans who are often invited to speak at beer business / brewing education programs. Each has offered to share their knowledge and experience to support the craft beer community as a whole by helping fledgling breweries in planning.
Conceived and coordinated by Candace L. Moon, The Craft Beer Attorney, and Laura Lodge of Customized Craft Beer Programs, StartABrewery is provided as an educational resource for those dreaming of opening a brewery, those who are taking steps to make their dream a reality, and those who are opening their brewery doors and living it.
The following music was used for this media project:
Music: Positive Fat Bass Intro Loop by WinnieTheMoog
Free download: https://filmmusic.io/song/6093-positive-fat-bass-intro-loop
License (CC BY 4.0): https://filmmusic.io/standard-license