The famous Confucius saying goes, "Do what you love and you'll never work another day in your life."
That saying couldn't be truer for brothers Chris and Brian Martell.
After having grown up in and around Saratoga, NY, Brian had left the area to work on Wall Street while Chris began a successful legal career in the area. Brian was working as an analyst at Lehman Brothers when the company began to change and the market began to shift.
"Brian called me up and said that it was time for him to leave there but he wasn’t sure what he wanted to do next. I asked him what he wanted to do and he jokingly said, 'Let’s do something we’ve always wanted to do, let’s make beer for a living," said Chris. Both brothers were active home brewers and had often fantasized about expanding into a commercial enterprise. "I thought he was joking but when I thought about it started to make sense. We both independently started putting together a business plan. We called each other a few days later and we both realized that the other was serious so we started moving forward."
Brian moved back to the area with a goal of finding space to build a commercial brewery but the brothers quickly modified their plans to include a brewpub. The brothers wanted to be on Broadway (the main street running through downtown Saratoga) and really wanted to have an outdoor dining area. "One day, we were walking up and down the street looking for potential locations and we saw a For Sale sign up on a storefront. We walked in and knew that we had found the place," said Chris.
Armed with a business plan, a potential location, some personal assets and a desire to fulfill their dreams, the brothers began talking to banks about financing the deal. "Unfortunately, especially at that time, no banks were committing to help us," said Chris. "I had worked with a firm that had done some closings for NYBDC so I made a call there and that’s when everything began to come together."
"This project is an excellent example of NYBDC providing access to capital for a credit worthy startup small business. Several banks had passed on the deal, but Chris Martell and his partners had a great business concept and an excellent location," said Ross Pancoe, NYBDC’s loan officer. "Druther’s recently completed its first year of operations, easily surpassing the projections they had provided at loan application. The first year was so successful that they are already looking to expand. Their success has quickly spread beyond Saratoga Springs as they are becoming a well-known brewpub in the capital region."
Ross and his team at NYBDC put together a 504 loan for nearly $400,000 and the Druthers Brewing Company was launched.
Since opening in August of 2012, revenues have nearly doubled projections and an expansion to the bar area is already underway. "We’ve exceeded our wildest expectation already and now we’re looking to starting a commercial brewery in Albany to provide our beers to other restaurants and bars throughout the Capital Region," said Chris.
"NYBDC is the only lender that believed in us and stepped up. Without NYBDC this wouldn’t have happened," said Chris.
Why is the Saratoga brewpub known as the Druthers Brewing Company? Look on their website and it says it right there:
"Given our Druthers, we are choosing to brew choice beer for good-humored, freethinkers that would rather do it their own way....Rewarding those that put their life, work, and convictions to the test.
Given your Druthers, what will you choose?"