For our subscribers, this is an expanded version of the Q&A that appears in the Winter 2022 issue of the Brewing Industry Guide. If you prefer to listen, we’ve also released a recording of this conversation as Podcast Episode 279: Tomme Arthur is “Growing Down” Port and Lost Abbey to Prepare for a More Sustainable Business Future. This version has been edited for length and clarity.
CBB // You recently announced that The Lost Abbey, Port Brewing, and Hop Concept are “growing down.” What do you mean by “growing down”?
TA // I wanted to give a reference point to what we were trying to accomplish, and I thought that a lot of people come out and say they’re “right sizing,” they’re “taking corrective actions,” or they’re “downsizing.” But “growing down” for us was an approach that says we understand that there could be growth in the future, but we need to get smaller today. And we need to be comfortable being smaller for an infinite amount of time. Then, if growth comes to us because we find the right spark or the pieces and the connective tissues that we need, then we can grow through that. The growing part’s important—you’re going down, but you’re still maintaining a focus on what it means to grow in the future. How can we go about that by getting to the right size—getting to the baseline—and then working from that to try to find growth in the future?