For some entrepreneurs, business philosophies are inseparable from philosophical thought.
On Tuesday, Heineken announced the acquisition of a 50 percent stake in California-based Lagunitas Brewing Company. Following the announcement, Lagunitas founder Tony Magee took to his Tumblr to break down the philosophically tinged thinking that brought the craft brewery and the global, Dutch brewing company together.
According to Magee, the swiftly evolving world of craft beer inspired him to look beyond the U.S. to global expansion in recent months. Lagunitas's path to expansion, Magee believed, had to be different than the five potential routes he had seen peers and competitors in the craft beer space attempt.
A month ago, Magee wrote in a blog post, "the true 6th Way will involve partnerships, true partnerships, genuine Joint Ventures where what it is that has been found can grow and develop and become central to the future." In his post today, he made clear that the deal with Heineken was meant to be Lagunitas's "sixth way," intended to reach a global market without surrendering control of the company.
Magee says that his choice to partner with Heineken was influenced by a Friedrich Nietzsche's parable, in which a man with a lit lantern attempts to spread news in a town where disbelieving citizens, instead of listening, mock him for his apparent madness. The madman finally gives up, saying "I have come too soon." While in the original story, the madman is spreading the news that "God is dead," not philosophies on the globalization of craft brewing, Magee saw a connection between Lagunitas and the madman.
"When we, the Madman in the Parable, came into the square with our lantern, holding up the light of our ideas, we was stunned to see that that one particular brewer understood what we were talking about," Magee wrote of his experience meeting with Heineken executives. "They welcomed a dialogue about these crazy ideas of order. They saw what we saw - a global beer business in a state of change, and they wanted to work together to explore this brave new world."
In closing, Magee says that the deal represents, not the end of Lagunitas's existence as a genuine craft brewery, but a new beginning.
"Things that are born grow, and mature and become," writes Magee. "That process of becoming is endless and all of craft rolled together is itself a thing becoming."