This week, we cracked open a cold one with Rob Burns, Co-Founder and President of our newest member, Night Shift Brewing.
Rob and his team work around the clock to ensure that New Englanders have great beer in their pints and plenty of cans in their fridge. What began in 2012 by three passionate beer brewers is now a thriving business with more than 200 employees.
The trio first started brewing in a tiny kitchen on Josephine Avenue in Somerville and launched distribution from the back of their Subaru Outback, following in the footsteps of other legendary entrepreneurs (think Steve Job’s garage or Seth Goldman’s guest bedroom).
“Night Shift Brewing was started by three friends who wanted to break away from their desk jobs and create truly memorable and unique beers. We were passionate about beer and loved the process.”
-Rob Burns, Co-Founder & President
The team also believed they could craft a fresher beer than the cans that lined the shelves at the time. Their “create better” frame of mind drove them to build a different sort of beer and business.
When asked what sets Night Shift apart from the rest, Rob replies that “there isn't a singular element that makes Night Shift unique but, rather, a combination of ideas that build the story of who we are and what we believe in.” The company emphasizes an “inclusive atmosphere , accessible beer styles, and innovative ways to tackle the market.”
Take it from Rob, who shares that the best part about owning a business is “providing a welcoming family environment for people to grow personally and professionally – all while offering great compensation and benefits.”
They also run a distribution service, an element of the business most brewers don’t engage in. Night Shift’s selling and delivering services have expanded since their days of Outback operations (they now distribute all over the state, as well as in Maine and New York), but their commitment to quality control and customer service has remained the same.
And they’re already working on next steps…not just beer, but beans. Night Shift wants to make your early-morning shift a little easier with their brewing coffee business. Roasting small batches out of their Chelsea warehouse, they’ve crafted a selection of herbal, fruity, and cocoa flavors ready for customers to try. One of their missions is to avoid the intimidation that can sometimes come with coffee. (In other words, you don’t need to know the difference between a latte and a flat white to enjoy a cup from Night Shift).
Additionally, their ambition has driven them to tackle what global brewers have neglected, like light beer. Using the same mindset that built the business, they believe they can create better.
Thirsty yet? Before we turn in our ties, quit our day jobs, and hop on the craft beer brewing bandwagon, Rob has a word of advice.
“Buckle up! Starting and running a business is such a roller coaster of emotions, wins and losses, and time. Everything takes longer, costs more, and is never as easy as it seems on paper.”
We’re grateful for the time they’ve spent sharing their story to us and the lessons we’ve learned on what it means to craft both a great beer and great business. Thanks for pouring one out with us, Night Shift!
Be sure to check out our upcoming Words of Wisdom dinner with all three founders of Night Shift. Grab your ticket today!