We had the good fortune of connecting with Michael Duckworth and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Michael, can you walk us through the thought-process of starting your business?
The start of True Anomaly was something that grew out of a desire to explore how far we could take our passion for brewing. What started in the garage was a hobby that quickly turned into an enthusiastic drive for all things craft beer. We spent about 10 years honing our craft, and over the years of product development we naturally became more aware of what the Houston market had in abundance, and where it was lacking. During this time we also received tons of invaluable feedback on what we were doing well, and how those things could help bridge the gaps in the marketplace. While we often dreamed of opening a brewery, ultimately, it was our hard work in putting together a business plan that provided us the opportunity to open our own business. We had to see what made financial sense, what was viable, and what level of investment was needed to get our vision off the ground. At the end of the day, I’d say that we generally live by the 1% Idea Rule, which is to say that a good idea is roughly 1 percent of what it takes to reach success, and the other 99 percent is all about planning, execution, and the willingness to work your ass off.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
Prior to starting full-time with True Anomaly, I served as the Team Lead for the Exploration Contract Analysis and Changes Team in the Exploration Program Office at NASA. In this capacity, I was responsible for providing professional consultation and advice on all major changes and new contracting initiatives within the Exploration Program. Change activities required developing sound and thoroughly supported negotiation strategies and positions based on detailed evaluations of complex proposals involving credits, debits, schedule impacts, cost growth elements, and incentive fee arrangements. I was also responsible for managing a team of specialists on the assignment of tasks, on assessing their developmental needs, and for providing training and coaching in order to transition individuals from completing isolated tasks to making autonomous decisions. I have greatly leveraged this history in both project management and in developing personnel while at NASA to structure our growth plans at True Anomaly. The culture we try to foster here at True Anomaly resembles more of a family atmosphere then a traditional workplace environment. We work hard to educate our entire team on our products, how they’re created, and how their personal skill sets can help mutually grow them and the business. It’s the implementation of these practices that have supported in developing people to cultivate skills, encourage new ideas, and adapt to changing conditions, while fostering an inclusive workplace where building relationships, and resolving disagreements in a constructive manner are valued most.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
The rapid growth of breweries across the city of Houston continues to provide new reasons to get out and try new spots! Old favorites include St. Arnold’s, Eureka, and of course our neighbors at 8th Wonder. Live shows are always great too, and while a few of my favorite venues are no longer around, the relatively new White Oak Music Hall, and accompanying beer garden Raven Tower tops my list. Axelrad is always worth a visit, as well, and they usually highlight local artists, which can be enjoyed without a cover fee. And, of course I’m a strong proponent of checking out anything locally owned and operated. Too often I hear about how spread-out the Houston Metroplex is, and as such, how difficult it can be to get around to different business. And, while this can certainly be the case if you have very specific locations in mind, in many cases there are likely great alternatives just around the corner. Take a bike ride around whatever neighborhood you find yourself in, and I think most might be surprised to find great coffee shops, barbers, work spaces, and indeed breweries within a 10 minute ride.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
The beginning of our journey started with loads of everyday hobbyists, passionate in their craft, who were willing to help shepherd and apprentice like minded enthusiasts. Specifically, I’d like to highlight my good friend Chris Gerty, who took us under his wing, and provided his decades of knowledge in brewing process and technique. While it took many years for us to gain the know how to create an outstanding product, the guidance and encouragement provided by Chris undoubtedly saved hundreds of hours in lessons learned, and instilled in us the confidence to set out on our path. And, if that wasn’t enough, Chris put his faith in us once more by being one of our first investors when we made the decision to go pro!
Other: Untappd: https://untappd.com/TrueAnomalyBrewing