When Andrei Kunevsky was 14-years old, his parents bought him a home-brew beer kit. It’s kind of an unusual gift for a 14-year old, and it didn’t even work properly. (It literally exploded.) But this interest in brewing beer at such a young age was less about drinking alcohol and more about the process behind it. Years later, that remains to be true.
When the pandemic hit, Andrei, like many other people, decided to give his hobby one more try. But he had the same experience with all of the kits he tried. A month of waiting for a well-brewed batch of beer and he was never able to drink it due to faulty instructions. This time, he put in the work. He did his own research, he found the flaws, and he decided he was going to create his own recipe. He tested it with friends, even if they were all the way in Colorado. And each time, people were satisfied.
At the same time, Andrei was experiencing a shift in his career and thus, his priorities. His father had also recently passed away and he realized working the way he was working no longer served him or what he valued. Brewing beer was a hobby, but also a form of therapy.
“Something about that transformation process is really satisfying, in the same way that growing a plant or something that bares fruit is satisfying. Through this really tragic, depressing time in my life, I was able to find solace in this thing,” says Andrei.
And ultimately, he wanted to share that with other people. He also has a very strong background in sales, so starting his own company wasn’t entirely out of reach.
“I looked at the market and there are 1 million home brewers in the country. I would love to be the one who brings in 1 million new brewers,” says Andrei.
One of the differences in the Satchel kits is that it only makes one gallon, rather than five. But five gallon batches can be intimidating for some people. So, in addition to his kits, Andrei is adamant about supplying his brewers with resources and information. Given his past experiences, Andrei intends to make Satchel kits everything his competitors are not. That means easy to understand directions as well as reading and responding to every customer’s questions and feedback the same day. He’s also aware that in order to appeal to the eight out of ten people drinking beer, his recipes need to be crowd pleasers.
That extra attention to detail may come at a cost, but it’s already clear to Andrei that building something of his own is more rewarding.
“I knew it would be a challenge and it would be stressful, but I find myself happily working on it when I want to be relaxing at night or on the weekends. I also know with my new found priorities in life what stress I welcome and what I don’t. I want my problems to be looking for a hop field in Washington State,” adds Andrei.
While he vows to never return to his salesman lifestyle, he still has goals that require a hustle.
“I still want a Ferrari. But I should put it this way, my desire to earn a lot has always been fueled by taking care of my family; my fiancé, my mother, whoever it may be. When I was money hungry, I was trying to have experiences to match my hunger. Like an apartment on the 50th floor, even though I’m actually afraid of heights. Now, I still want a certain lifestyle, but it’s conditional. The goal now is to make sure that I get to the level that I want long-term while lifting everyone with me. My goal is to create a momentum of new people trying something that was extremely helpful to me in my darkest hour,” says Andrei.
While he’s not certain that others have found homebrewing their own beer to be as therapeutic as he has, he trusts that if people are taking the time to do it, then it’s working just as he intended.
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Photos courtesy of Ulrich Beinert