Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in food and beverage but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Denice Ingalls, President and CEO of Sky River Brewing, Inc., located in Redmond, WA, USA.

What's your business, and who are your customers?

Sky River was founded in the late 90's with a focus on restoring Mead, or honey wine, to its rightful place in the pantheon of modern beverages. We are focused on the new wine drinker and those looking to learn and expand their palate.

Tell us about yourself

Sky River started as a side/hobby business but became a full-time job when my "real" job disappeared in the recession. This was a brave move in a recession, but it has played out well so far. Sky River may have been inspired by memories of English lit classes, but it has evolved into something much more. We have garnered medals and accolades alongside dedicated patrons and the delight of seeing the light of discovery in our patron's eyes.

What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?

My biggest accomplishment is, in the words of Elton John, I'm still standing! Garnering medals from "wine" competitions was a huge professional boost for me. Our "return customer" numbers going up is the emotional boost. And we have done it without compromising our ingredients or integrity.

What's one of the hardest things that comes with being a business owner?

Letting go. It is so hard to let go of operations. I put off hiring help for way too long.

What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?

  1. Watch your receivables. Payables take care of themselves.
  2. Keep an eye on the numbers, and learn what they mean. (especially if you outsource the accounting)
  3. Side with your team members as much as you possibly can.

Where can people find you and your business?


If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solo or small business entrepreneur that you'd like to share, then please answer these interview questions. We'd love to feature your journey on these pages.

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