Success Story: Druthers Brewing Company
A famous saying goes, "Do what you love and you'll never work another day in your life." That saying couldn't be truer for entrepreneur Chris Martell, the owner of Druthers Brewing Company located in New York’s Capital Region.
After growing up near Saratoga Springs, NY, Chris moved to the West Coast, where he developed a passion for home brewing and developed an interest in the burgeoning brewpub scene. He shared these passions with his brother, Brian, and soon after Chris moved back to his hometown in 2006, the brothers began planning to open up a brewpub of their own.
As Chris recalls, "I thought Brian was joking but when I thought about it, the idea started to make sense. In 2008, 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."
Four years later, Druthers Brewing Co. launched on Broadway, the busy main street of thoroughbred-racing mecca Saratoga Springs, NY. However, the path to opening the brewpub’s doors was not easy. Chris had financed a significant portion of his early business plan with his retirement savings and investments from friends and family, but he needed a loan to finance the construction of the main restaurant. As a start-up and an entrepreneur without “on paper” experience managing restaurant and brewery operations, Chris did not qualify for traditional bank financing. He had heard about SBA loans and New York Business Development Corporation (NYBDC) through his professional network, and contacted the lender for a loan.
“After I called NYBDC everything started coming together,” says Chris. Chris leveraged an SBA 504 through NYBDC affiliate The 504 Company and relied on construction financing provided by long-time partners and general contractor, Munter Enterprises.
Chris has since turned to NYBDC and SBA loans multiple times to fund Druthers’ rapid expansion and growth. In total, four SBA loans totaling nearly $2 million have helped Chris launch restaurants in Albany and Schenectady, NY, increasing the total square footage of his operation from 3,500 to more than 30,000 square feet.
Today, each of Druthers’ three locations is a sought-after dining location. Chris regularly visits each location to ensure that each and every customer is treated to excellent customer service, high-quality home cooked meals and top-tier craft beers. “There’s love and care in what we’re doing,” says Chris. “We haven’t stayed the same and have continued to innovate. There’s never a dull moment.”