Turning a Hobby into a Successful Business

Michael Zaccaro,

Tox Brewing Company

April 7, 2019 -

When these three friends saw an opening in their local market, they took advantage and launched their own brewery and taproom. When these three friends saw an opening in their local market, they took advantage and launched their own brewery and taproom. By working with their CTSBDC Business Advisor, they learned what it would take to run a successful business.

business start

Business Start


capital accessed

Capital Accessed

$125,000 SBA Loan through

Community Investment Corporation

jobs created

Jobs Created


Owner: Michael Zaccaro

Business Start Date: June 2017

What Does Your Business Do?

We are a brewery and taproom, mostly sales on-site in the form of growler fills to-go and onsite taproom.

What Inspired You to Start Your Business?

Three friends who bonded for years over the love of craft beer and home-brewing. We eventually got serious about it, stumbled on a theme, and saw an opening in the market in our area.

Before Coming to the CTSBDC, What Were Your Primary Challenges and/or Needs?

Our big challenges were everything other than making beer. Mainly we were focused on finding funding, structuring our business, procuring equipment and a space for production and retail purposes, and navigating the many legal hurdles.

How Has the CTSBDC Helped You Overcome Your Challenges?

Matt Nemeth was a rock star for us. The biggest challenge the advising helped us with is funding. In a market where banks wouldn’t talk to us, and we wanted to do this on our own, Matt was able to connect us with a lender that helped us get what we needed in a loan structure we could handle. We also found the service to help us find our equipment from a US supplier. He helped us find an attorney to negotiate a lease on a space we loved. He helped us with some legal hurdles and finding certain software to help run our business.

What Have You Learned/Changed Since Working with the CTSBDC?

I have learned a lot about marketing. Matt helped us with some web and marketing things, and even helped us with key practices in structuring our crowd funding campaign. I also learned a lot about business structure, LLC vs corporation, different ways to maintain a partnership in a 50/50 business. Maybe the biggest thing I learned is how difficult it is to open a small business, and how valuable resources like the CTSBDC are. You get into the idea because you have a love and expertise for a good or service, but there is so much more to it than that. I learned a greater perspective on navigating risk and making better choices at every stage.

How is Your Business Doing Now? What Does Your Future Look Like?

The business is about to open with huge anticipation. We have very promising projections, a lot of local interest, and are expected to do very well.

What Was It Like Working With Your Advisor?

Amazing. He rarely couldn’t answer a question and when he couldn’t, he found out and quickly responded. Great communication, always willing to meet or talk through anything on the phone. We can never repay for what we learned and the amount of versatile issues he helped us resolve, and unknowns he helped clarify. He also never steered us down a wrong path and helped us in areas we didn’t even know we could use.

What Words of Advice Would You Give to Small Businesses Looking to Work with CTSBDC?

There is literally no reason to not use it. You can use it at whatever level you need or want, and for the price of nothing, you would be foolish not to.

Learn more about Tox Brewing Company: