NAME: Charlie Devereux
Degree Info: MBA 04’ – Portland State University
Business Name: Double Mountain Brewery & Tap Room
Charlie Devereux, a 2004 graduate of the MBA program, first experienced the brewing industry working brew shifts at Full Sail Brewery in the 1990’s. Inspired, he left to open his own brewing company, Paradise Brewing Company, in Massachusetts. Unfortunately, it was neither the right time nor place for his brewery to prosper. He made his way back to Portland in 2001 to work for the Daily Journal of Commerce and obtain a MBA at Portland State University.
Although he avoided discussions of starting another brewery, Charlie could not help but notice that the craft brewery market and environment was changing and growing. Still in contact with his friend and Assistant Brew Master for Full Sail, Matt Swihart, Charlie and Matt started discussing new opportunities in the bustling tourist town of Hood River. After much discussion, Charlie and Matt decided to open Double Mountain Brewery and Taproom in 2007 and have been successful ever since.
With no plans to open another brewery when he entered business school, the part-time MBA program allowed Charlie to afford school and gave him the much needed business skills he lacked in his prior endeavors. The adjunct professors also made classes engaging and thought provoking because they brought real life experiences to the classroom. Charlie credits the MBA program with helping him learn basic skills like how to read a financial statement, strategic planning and marketing; “When you’re an entrepreneur, you have to make those [strategic] decisions with a small group or by yourself. The MBA gives you the background to understand those decisions and to understand the risks. I learned how to talk to bankers and investors in an educated and confident way.”
Despite being busy with the growth of his company, Charlie still finds time to catch up with professors and his cohort mates. In response to what advice he would offer to graduating entrepreneurs, he said “it is important for entrepreneurs to have an intimate knowledge of the product they are selling and not to be in a hurry. I started Double Mountain when I was 40. It’s better to have practical experience and use it to be an entrepreneur so you can ensure you really know the product you’re selling. The urge to be your own boss is both a blessing and a curse.”
Today, Double Mountain is in its 5th year, growing from 1,000 barrels in sales to 6,000 barrels in sales, with plans to expand to Seattle.