Armada Brewing offers about 20 varieties of beer out of its East Haven facility.
Many Millennials dream of opening their own businesses, but few take the plunge. Young and successful manufacturing entrepreneurs do exist, though – even right here in the Nutmeg State.
Take John Kraszewski, 31, who launched craft brewery Armada Brewing in 2017. Establishing a solid foundation with customers has been key to his success, Kraszewski said.
“Craft beer is a hand-sold product. You can’t just put a flier in a store and say, ‘Here are our beers. Go buy them.’ You have to meet with the account, develop a relationship with them, give out samples and talk about the beer,” he said.
John Kraszewski, founder, Armada Brewing
The legwork appears to have paid off. In its first year of business, Armada Brewing, based in East Haven, signed close to 100 accounts, number that’s now grown to 179.
“We can’t even keep up” with demand, Kraszewski said.
Establishing a new business can be tough, and Kraszewski said a manufacturing environment brings its own challenges.
Location: East Haven
Founder: John Kraszewski, 31
Makes: Craft beer
Long-term vision: To create a destination brewery and have multiple locations.
“Things break, equipment fails,” he said. “You have to be able to problem-solve quickly, be on your toes and know how to redirect your staff to fix the problem.”
With Armada Brewing already producing about 20 different varieties of craft beer, the company is poised for growth in the industry, Kraszewski said.