Since 10:11am on 12-13-14 Big Lost Meadery has been a force to reckon with in the Wyoming small-business realm. Sam Clikeman and Bob Hewitt-Gaffney are the owners and operators of Big Lost Meadery which produces high-quality, delicious mead for the state of Wyoming and surrounding areas. Since they began 8 years ago they have since expanded into other markets by producing draft beers and providing food vendors the chance to set up and serve the people of Gillette with live music in the background at their viking style bar in Gillette.
Mead is an alcoholic beverage made by fermenting honey, water and sometimes flavoring. The alcohol content usually ranges from 3.5% to more than 18%. It has a sweeter taste with the consistency of wine. Big Lost is one of Wyoming’s special gems that stands out as a well-run, local business in Gillette, Wyoming. Their products of delicious Mead, made and distributed right in Gillette, is something I consistently give as gifts when the occasion arises.
Their driving force was to build a meadery that would provide unique and spectacular products for the people of Wyoming. Sam’s inspiration for the setting and overall feeling of the bar was a take on old Viking style (think natural wood, round tables, fireplace atmosphere). He wanted to create an experience not often found anywhere else. Big Lost has worked hard to be a pinnacle in their community of Gillette and make Wyoming proud.
Because mead is a unique drink it has been challenging for Sam and Bob to learn all the ins and outs of industry practices and standards. They were hit a few times with different setbacks but quickly adjusted to make sure they were following laws and in compliance with distribution practices. Sam says, “we set out with a great vision and foundation, with a solid plan. Yet there are things in every industry that you really do need to know the hard skills behind. Whether it be accounting, regulatory knowledge, inventory management, or contracting; any aspect of your business that requires hard skills you don’t have will arise at some point.”
Business owners can relate to the need to quickly learn new skills to keep the business moving forward. Sam and Bob found that the best way to overcome this was through learning from others where the blind spots and weaknesses are. Sam states, “There is a wealth of knowledge in the world, and oftentimes you must have the humility and discipline to go out and find it.” He continues, “there is also no substitute for good old fashion research, research, research.”
The owners recommend having a solid vision of who you want to be and why. Make sure you hold strong to your why so that when life’s challenges and distractions get in the way you continue to come back to why you are passionate about this business. Sam also says to find people who will give you honest feedback on your business plan/products etc. even if it stings your pride a little. Sam knows that sometimes “your potential customers are not always your closest friends therefore they will always tell the truth with their pocket books.”
Since 2014 Big Lost Meadery has purchased a new building which houses the new bar setting and provides the opportunity for food vendors to distribute food. They have created a line of draft beer products, an apparel line, and designed Mead cocktails to enjoy while in Gillette. Big Lost Meadery is distributed in several states around Wyoming, including Nebraska and Colorado.
Big Lost is excited about expanding the out-of-state and even out-of-country markets this year. As for Gillette, they want to create genuine experiences and enjoyable interactions with their customers this year. They love taking time to really get to know their customers, the people of Wyoming, and whomever happens to stop in for a locally made beverage. Sam and Bob know that taking time with their customers can leverage big results in relationships and life-long friendships.
Big things are happening for Big Lost Meadery in Gillette, Wyoming! You can find Big Lost Mead at most liquor stores around Wyoming and in neighboring states. Sam and Bob can be contacted by email at firstname.lastname@example.org, Instagram @biglostmead, and on their website at https://biglostmeadery.com
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