Drink beer and give water: Alan Mahon on building an incredible career
Alan Mahon, founder of craft beer and social enterprise Brewgooder, reveals how entrepreneurial gambles, passion, and business skills have turned his dreams of providing clean water for millions of people into a reality.
When you think about craft beer we can almost guarantee that changing the world through the power of beer isn’t the first thing that comes to mind. But Brewgooder is definitely not your usual craft beer label.
Founded by Alan Mahon and Josh Littlejohn, Brewgooder is built on a simple mission statement - helping 1,000,000 people around the world get safe and easy access to clean water. In fact, this craft beer company donates 100% of its profits to clean water projects around the world.
We speak to Alan Mahon about hard work, determination, and the life of an entrepreneur determined to change the world.
The power of commitment
"There's probably too many (influential mentors) to name," says Alan. "But I think, obviously, the strongest one has to be Josh Littlejohn from Social Bite. I've been working with Josh now for just over five years, and along that period of time he showed me that a commitment to an ideal and building a business, and a message around that, is one of the most powerful things you can do within business.
The Brewgooder mission is simple but incredibly powerful.
"And he's always proved to me that if you keep going at something that seems impossible initially, that it will someday become possible."
"The entrepreneurial journey isn't easy, even for serial entrepreneurs. Have there been tough moments? I think there's always tough moments. There's tough moments every day," Alan explains.
"For me, the toughest one was probably during our crowdfund, and the early stages of it when we launched a CrowdFund on World Water Day in March 2016. We didn't really know if anyone would back us or if anyone would buy the beer in advance.
"Which is a strange thing really when you have the prospect of a £50,000 crowdfund that may or may not succeed. And if it doesn't, what are the implications of that for your business in the long run?
"But it also had extreme highs. From the backers coming on board, all the way through to reaching the target - and obviously smashing it at £58,000, when we finally checked out."
Turning possibility into reality
"You're always conscious that when you do things publicly and they don't work, there's that risk of failure. But when you think about it, you look back and you kind of say: Well, if it works out, if some of these entrepreneurial gambles and risks that you take work out, they work out for potentially hundreds of thousands, if not millions of people," says Alan.
"The Brewgooder mission is simple but incredibly powerful."
Surround yourself with incredible people
Alan notes: "For me, one of the most rewarding things is certainly that I actually work with extremely talented people. People who are, I think, much more talented than I am. And certainly much more hard-working.
"And they work with me largely because of the mission and hopefully my passion and ability to live out the values of that mission. We have people who will excel in their career no matter what they do. And the fact that they work with us, within the business is, is incredible and something I feel lucky about every single day.
"And that also extends to the outside team, so whether that be guys like BrewDog or some of the bars, supermarkets, restaurants etc that we work with, and people who give us advice largely for their own good rather than on a on a commercial basis.
"Those people who provide advice I don't think would be there necessarily if it was to make myself wealthy. Or just make money for money's sake.
"I think the mission being at the heart of Brewgooder is something that actually galvanises everybody and takes it all to a different level."