How the story of Leinenkugel’s Beer reminded me of the way great relationships are built.

Last week I was fortunate enough to be invited to a Leinenkugel’s Beer dinner with none other than Dick Leinenkugel of The Jacob Leinenkugel Brewing Company.

Naturally then, I started out with the intention of writing about beer and food (especially because the beer was great and the food from The Cooper’s Tavern was top notch).

But…if you’ll indulge me, the real takeaway of that night for me lies somewhere else.

Somewhere I was reminded of thanks to Dick’s story of how his family built Leinie’s into the enduring success it is today.

How to Build Something Great

It’s easy to look at something like Leinenkugel’s and to feel like you’d never be able to build something that big or successful.

But the thing is, neither did they.

Now, that doesn’t mean they weren’t strategic about how they ran their business (for example pricing their beer at a premium after Dick’s father took a business class at the UW Madison in order to set them apart in the market).

But, the key part of their story is that they never sacrificed what was fundamentally important to them in the name of “more”.

Things like quality ingredients, family, and the pleasure of sharing a great beer.

They didn’t set out to become the #1 Shandy in the country…they just wanted to make an interesting beer they liked to drink and that maybe you would too.

They didn’t try to become a part of MillerCoors…they just focused on being great at who they were. Every day. Decision by decision. Relationship by relationship.

And over time…and not without bumps along the way…things have worked out pretty well for them.

The Lesson for Relationships from Leinenkugel’s Beer

So, as I was listening to the story of Leinie’s I couldn’t help but to think about how Stasia and I have grown together in our relationship

Because even though our relationship isn’t a business we’ve been intentional about growing together in much the same way as Leinie’s.

I think it can be overwhelming to think about how you can possibly build a great relationship because just like business there are a lot of variables and lot of chances to screw things up.

However, what has worked incredibly well for us over the years is to simply focus on what’s fundamentally important to us. Things like spending time together, being patient, kind and showing respect to one another, to push ourselves to be the best version of us.

So that means we don’t ever have to try to be the “best couple”, we just try to make sure we like each other every day.

We don’t try to compare ourselves to something impossible…we just make sure that each decision we make individually (and as a couple) doesn’t mean sacrificing what’s fundamentally important to us. And so far…and not without bumps along the way…things have worked out pretty well for us.

Do the Things That Matter…Every Day

So the next time you’re drinking an IPL or a Harvest Patch Shandy remember that true success doesn’t require you to try and be anything big. You just need to do the things that matter. Every day.

p.s. Special thanks to Adam Senatori for the invite!

p.p.s. Go share a Leinenkugel’s Beer with someone you love!

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