Dover brew pub sees early success with sound planning

NH SBDC is celebrating its 30th anniversary by highlighting just some of the many small business  clients we’ve had over the years. 
Dave Boynton and Josh Henry, co-owners of Dover’s 7th Settlement Brewery, worked with NH SBDC business advisor Warren Daniel for about year before opening in 2013, and that relationship continues to this day.

The brew pub “nearly” broke even in its first fiscal year – no small feat for this industry –and its owners are now eyeing another brewery in Massachusetts in which they are secondary partners. Ultimately the two entities will work together to experience some efficiencies of scale.

“We worked with Warren to line up our financing and on our business plan,” Dave explains. “We got an initial loan, then a second round of financing to expand our brewery’s capacity. We actually have a mosaic of financing including crowd-funding to start and some pre-sales such as our mug club.”

“Warren just has tons and tons of valuable experience that he’s willing to share,” Dave continued. “We entrepreneurs are all an optimistic bunch, but Warren brings the realism and plays devil’s advocate. He really makes sure you can focus the passion you bring to what you’re doing to turn it into a successful business.”

Dave has an M.B.A. and he knows his way around a business plan.  “But everyone needs a sounding board and second set of eyes on everything,” he said. Warren served that function and provided that scrutiny to the brew pub planning.

Dave explains they have worked together on reviewing the business’s cash flow, getting the second round of financing and even such things as deciding whether or not to open on Mondays.  “He’s really an analyst for us,” Dave said.

Growth has been steady in the business which occupies 2,000 square feet in the Cocheco Mill building in Dover. Josh and Dave now employ 35 people, have spent over $450,000 with local distributors, farms and fishermen, and their payroll is $650,000.  “We’ve made a good impact,” Dave says. “We’ve had a very successful year—we’ve learned a lot.”