Startup of the Month

Startup of the Month – First Sip Brew Box

First Sip Brew Box

Q: Tell us more about First Sip Brew Box and where the inspiration came from.

A: The wife and I were on a road trip to the Smokey Mountains in NC late 2015 after visiting some our first Craft Breweries together and fell in love with what they represented a social house that brings communities together and grows local economies.

Growing up with nothing except a loving family cultivated my entrepreneurial spirit. My childhood friend Manny and I created a fruit tree map of our town and went out every day to pick excess fruit, with the owners consent of course. We did this because we knew how hard our parents worked and even then we could not afford enough food for the family, so we created opportunity where it did not exist prior. That is the inspiration for creating First Sip Brew Box so not only my future children but the families that we will hire as we grow so they do not have to create a fruit tree map of their neighborhood in order to make ends meet.

Q: What made it possible for your company to start?

A: Honestly my wife and the support of my family. I had so many ideas for years of what company I wanted to start. Samantha told me after we came up with First Sip Brew Box that this is it… this is our dream we need to double down and focus on it. And it has been extremely tough these past three years and the support of my family has been invaluable. 6 months ago, my mother was diagnosed with lung cancer and at that point I knew I had to leave my job and spend it with family. During that time my mother told me you only have one life to live do not wait for it to knock you to your knees before you choose to actually live it. At that point my path was clear, I will follow my dream instead of helping someone else follow theirs. With her passing, I have been filled with immeasurable strength to continue to take First Sip Brew Box to the next level and make her proud.

Q: Why Pittsburgh?

A: Pittsburgh is my home and looking around it is an amazing place to live, but it could be better. We need to create more opportunities for small businesses and empower organizations like the URA that have done so much for my small business, including my first business loan. We are developing and aspect of First Sip Brew Box that can help with online marketing and branding to small businesses.

Q: How does First Sip Brew Box differ from other subscription boxes?

A: First Sip Brew Box is more than a subscription box, it is a brand that believes in people and making dreams a reality. 62 percent of jobs are because of small businesses and First Sip Brew Box highlights small businesses from all over the country and helps them grow by sending them directly to homes all over the world.

Q: Are these products available for shipment across the US?

A: Yes, we ship all over the US, Canada, Ireland, Brazil and now New Zealand.

Q: How do you search for unique additions to your site? (beer soap, beer candles, etc.)

A: That is all my wife Samantha, she researches on social media and the internet to find small businesses in the craft beer industry to feature in our Brew Boxes. After three years we are finally at a point where small businesses are reaching out to us to be featured, it is such and amazing feeling.

Q: What’s next for First Sip Brew Box?

A: We have launched our Business gifting segment of First Sip Brew Box, where we send brew boxes directly to clients, employees and new customers. For example, we are working with a local Pittsburgh Real-estate company and every customer that buys a home from them they receive a brew box to their new house welcoming them home and thanking them for their business. We are looking to expand this concept to Hotels, Construction, Engineers, Accountants and Lawyers across the US. Unique Brew Box gifts for great customers. If you have clients, we can create unique brew boxes for you! We are also Launching the Country’s first Pet Brew Box this spring!

Q: What suggestions or advice might you have for other startups and entrepreneurs beginning in Pittsburgh?

A: Welcome to the club! Get started and never stop believing in yourself, you never know how close you are. There are many free resources out there for you to take advantage of, try your best not to pay for anything you do not have to because times are going to be tough. Since I quit my job and put myself in a position to create something amazing with First Sip Brew Box I have never come closer to being homeless, with that said I have also never been happier than I am now. The feeling you get when you get a call for an interview, invited on a tv show, podcast or land your first big client with change your life and make you hungrier than ever!