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Persevering Through Company Pivots with Jamie Hoffman of SanTan Brewing

Jamie Hoffman, the seasoned managing partner at SanTan Brewing Company has contributed significantly to the company’s growth and success throughout his impressive 16-year tenure with the brewery. 


Recognizing the challenges of self-distribution for breweries, Hoffman emphasizes the importance of leveraging distributors. He highlights the crucial role distributors play in scaling operations, offering not just logistics but also sales teams and refrigerated trucks, essential for maintaining beer quality. Hoffman credits the brewery’s expansion to becoming one of Arizona’s largest breweries to their strategic partnership with a distributor.


In an interview with Cali BBQ Media cofounder Shawn Walchef, he states “A lot of breweries can self-distribute. That’s actually a perk that they take away from you when you get to be too big. Ours has been taken away since then, but that requires a lot.” 


SanTan Brewing Company’s foray into whiskey production under Hoffman’s leadership faced initial challenges, as the first batches were deemed “hot” or overly boozy. Hoffman candidly shares the hurdles faced in the distillery journey, noting the uncertainty of waiting 18 months to determine the quality of the product. 


“So you’re waiting 18 months to say, can I even sell this product that I’ve been waiting for? And you can’t adjust what you did, correct, until 18 months after.” recalls Hoffman. “So, I’m not going to lie. Our first couple of batches were what we refer to as hot. I don’t know if you know that term in the liquor business, but it’s boozy.” 

Despite these early setbacks, SanTan persevered, refining their whiskey-making process. Hoffman reveals their commitment to quality by finishing their whiskey in Arizona red wine barrels, creating a balanced and refined product. This resilience and dedication to perfecting their craft are emblematic of SanTan Brewing Company’s commitment to delivering exceptional beverages to their customers.

In 2019, faced with the need for a tech solution tailored to the needs of a growing small business, Hoffman turned to Restaurant365. Hoffman notes that many competitors required a minimum of ten locations at the time. However, Restaurant365 stood out by accommodating businesses of all sizes. The partnership with Restaurant365 has since been integral to SanTan Brewing Company’s growth, showcasing the brewery’s strategic approach to technology adoption in its operational expansion.

Hoffman says, “Our goal was to find a platform that worked for our size, because at the time, we had two restaurants and catering and the cocktail bar at that time was really small.”


Listen to this entire Digital Hospitality episode conducted at the Restaurant Transformation Festival put on by Restaurant365 in Austin, TX  to learn more about Hoffman’s commitment to the growth of SanTan Brewing Company.

Episode Links

Interview Takeaways

The Importance of Distributors for Breweries – Jamie Hoffman has been with San Tan Brewing Company for 16 of the company’s 17 years in existence. The implementation of distribution has its difficulties, but the ability to scale and grow to one of the largest breweries in the state of Arizona can be attributed to San Tan Brewing Company’s distribution.


The First Batch is Always the Worst – San Tan Brewing Company has recently got into the whisky making business. As synonymous with business, Jamie Hoffman and crew did not hit the ground running , and had to throw out the early batches after 18 months of distillery. San Tan got it right, though, and will release its first seven year bourbon.


Choosing a Restaurant365 Platform  – In 2019, San Tan Brewing Company needed a solution based company that would service the needs of a small business. According to Jamie Hoffman, most tech partners are required 10 locations minimum, and San Tan wasn’t there yet. Fortunately, Restaurant365 was able to help regardless of size, and has now been a part of the company through its growth.

Cali BBQ Media

Digital Hospitality is an interview-based video podcast hosted by business owner Shawn P. Walchef (@shawnpwalchef) and produced by his Cali BBQ Media company. The weekly digital series explores the ways successful businesses and entrepreneurs have merged old and new with innovative digital strategies that harness the power of the Internet and social media. Shawn is the founder of Cali BBQ Media and creator of the Restaurant Influencers podcast on Entrepreneur Media.


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