By MATT BLOIS
After three years in business, Nolensville’s Mill Creek Brewery is profitable.
Founder Chris Going started brewing beer at home in five-gallon batches, and upgraded to a 900-gallon system in May 2016. Now, Mill Creek sells between 50,000 and 75,000 cases of beer each year.
Last month was the first time the business made a profit, but Going said he expected it to take much longer.
“It’s been a long road to get here. I think looking back there are so many times where we had the choice to be focused on what was our core business or were thrown opportunities that … weren’t really the foundation of Mill Creek,” he said. “I think if you can stay hyper focused on why you started the business … that will serve you far better and get you to your goal a lot quicker.”
During a Williamson Inc. event featuring Nolensville business owners on Tuesday afternoon, Going said he spent a long time searching for the right team, but now he feels like the company is dialed in.
Mill Creek pays employees well compared to competitors and offers benefits, Going said. Recently, the company starting offering employees an equity stake in the company.
“We finally have the right people on the right seats on the bus,” he said. “It’s such a difference maker to have a team you know you can trust with virtually anything that gets thrown at them.”
The company has four standard beers, as well as a rotation of seasonal beers. Each can says it was brewed in Nolensville, Tennessee. Even though 90% of the company’s beers are sold outside of Nolensville, Going said he wants to stay focused on that community.
“We’ve always looked at our tap room as a community center, not just a place you can get a beer,” Going said. “A place where people can come and spend time together. That’s really helped inform a lot of our decision making as a business.”
Mill Creek opened a tap room in Nashville’s 12South district in July 2018, and the company is considering opening more tap rooms in Tennessee. Going said he wants the business to grow, but he’s focused on Tennessee right now.
“We’re a young company. We’re trying not to make big decisions that weigh us down and don’t let us think outside the box. We’re still trying to figure out what we want to be when we grow up,” he said. We know that we make approachable craft beers that speak to a really wide audience of people. … In terms of the opportunities that affords us, the sky is the limit.”