Our makers never fail to motivate us, encourage our creativity, and fill us with inspiration. So, when a new design enters our assortment, we’re always excited to learn more about the people behind the product.
What gets an artist going and keeps them creating is certainly worth sharing, and every great connection starts with a simple introduction. Meet Andy and Kim Yochum, creators of our new Craft Beer Pretzel Mix.
When did you know you wanted to be a maker?
Almost for as long as I can remember, I wanted to own my own business. As I got older I realized how much I enjoyed food, especially when enjoying it with friends. So I made this the focus of my company.
I also enjoy a good beer, and began to notice the rise of the craft brewing industry. I enjoyed the people I met. I relate to the nature of the people involved in this industry. The craft beer industry is very open and inviting. People share ideas and collaborate with their “competitors,” as if it is more important to make good beer than to just raise the bottom line.
I had been aware of old beer bread recipes, and thought we could do it better. Kim has a degree in food science and we decided to develop a line of beer based snacks.
What was the most exciting thing about becoming a professional maker?
First off, I get to work with my wife and family every day (for someone who traveled a lot this is a big deal)! However, the most exciting thing is building a product, brand and company from scratch. The moment I first saw my product live on the shelf in a store was amazing. People will buy my product on Uncommongoods.com. Something that I made and created. Very humbling and exciting at the same time.
What does your typical day in the studio look like?
That’s the best part. There is no typical day. I am sales, product development, marketing, production, shipping, customer service, and chief planner. Every day brings new challenges, new success, new accomplishment. Generally, I get up, read through email, revisit my plan for the day and get started. When I get going I review various projects that my team is working on and then work on sales. Kim and I work on product development in the evenings. This includes testing new flavors, trying new beers in our mixes for our pairings pages and brainstorming on new products. We also prep for upcoming tastings and events. At night I spend a half hour or so evaluating the day, adjusting plans if necessary, and laying out the next day.
Is there a trinket, talisman, or other inspirational object you keep near? If so, what is it and what does it mean to you?
I wear a pendant that I purchased from a local artist. It was called “Patience”. I wear it to remind me that things take time to grow. That there will be ups and downs, good days and bad days, success and failure. I have to remain patient and trust in what we are doing and the plans we developed.
Imagine you just showed your work to a kindergartner for the first time. What do you think they would say?
“My mommy doesn’t want me to drink beer!” All kidding aside, kids love our snacks – especially our cinnamon sugar pretzels. Usually when we offer them to children at tastings, they always sneak back for another one. I usually tell the parents that if they don’t eat them, I will, so it is ok!