Students get a lesson on the beer business

Apr 17, 2014

Scott Rudich

Credit: Delaware Valley College. Scott Rudich, founder of Round Guys Brewing Company.

When Scott Rudich's friend texted him in 2008 to say "we should start a band or brewery," it was just a stupid idea.

He responded with, "we can't play instruments."

Today, that idea is a real, thriving business in Lansdale, Pa., where Rudich brews craft beers and has a pub. He visited Delaware Valley College April 17 as part of the Watson Executive-in-Residence series, which brings people from the business world to campus to share candid advice and their personal stories. The event even included a tasting of his beers for students who were over 21. 

Rudich started Round Guys Brewing Company out of his garage. He said to be successful with a business people need to have drive, energy, and a real passion for what they want to do. It took him a while to find his passion. He jumped from job to job after college, managing an inventory team, working as a head hunter, working in sales, and then, putting his biology degree to use at Merck. 

When he decided to take the plunge into the beer business he knew nothing about brewing beer.

"I figured if I could make a vaccine that goes into a baby's arm, I could make something that goes into an adult's stomach," said Rudich.

He immersed himself in the culture of craft beer, entered contests, did his research, and made the commitment to living his business. Rudich took a beer judging test and is among the top judges in the nation. For students who want to develop businesses, he suggested following these tips:

1. Have a vision and mission. Know what you want your business to be and what you don't want to be.

2. Do your homework on your industry. Understand current trends. 

3. Get private investors, ask friends and family to invest and don't be afraid to put your own skin in the game. No one is going to hand you a blank check.

4. Don't be afraid to ask for help and, when you ask for help let the people you hire do what you hired them for without too much interference. You hired them for a reason. Know your limitations. 

5. Come prepared to work.  He said he spends more than 90 hours a week on his business and that it takes that kind of commitment to start from scratch.

He told students that they will make mistakes, doubt themselves at times and feel like there is never enough time in the day, but that if they really want to start a business it is worth it. 

Students really appreciated his straight forward and honest presentation.

"I thought it was very informative," said Anna Lehman '15, a restaurant and food service management major. "He is passionate about what he does and thinks outside the box. He really got out of his comfort zone with his business, which made it more challenging."

She said she would attend future speakers and really likes to see students from all majors come together for the events to learn from people's experiences.

Eireann Anastasi '16, a business administration major, said the speaker was someone who she thought her age group related to. 

"He was interesting, realistic and down-to-earth," said Anastasi.

The Watson Executive-in-Residence speaker series was founded by Thomas Watson '57, a DelVal alumnus who started out in pharmaceutical sales and found out he was passionate about advertising. He became a founder of Omnicom, one of the world's largest advertising firms. Watson has a passion for education and started an in-house program at his company to provide MBA-level training for employees.  As part of the series, he awards a scholarship to a student, who introduces the visiting speaker. The recipient was Francis Arnold '15, a business major. So far, 21 speakers have visited campus as part of the series which, is in its eighth year.