Laura Behzadi, co-founder and brewer, Bicycle Craft Brewery

2017 Forty Under 40 recipient
Laura Behzadi

Age: 36

Birthplace: Stouffville

Company: Brewers of down-to-earth craft beer.

Education: Bachelor of arts in history and fine arts, Wilfrid Laurier University (2004)

Charitable involvement: re-Cycles

Biggest biz achievement: Building a bricks-and-mortar craft brewery from the ground up while increasing production, capacity and revenue yearly.

Biggest obstacle: Gaining new accounts and competing with big breweries that usually dominate the market, particularly during the brewery’s infancy when it was developing a name and product recognition. I've taken time to build relationships with new clients while offering a great product and competitive pricing. Having a friendly and close relationship with our clients is something that I value greatly and allows us to provide excellent service.

Biggest influence: My dad, who has owned and operated his own business for 40 years. He taught me the true value of hard work, the discipline required for self-employment and the value of empathy, honesty and grit. His successful business inspired me to start my own in an industry that I'm excited and passionate about.

Biggest lesson learned: Be conservative with budgeting startup costs. I started the brewery with what I thought was a conservative calculation of the startup costs; however, when the work actually began, unforeseen costs and obstacles continued to add up. Major electrical work needed to be done and at the end of the job, the electrical cost was over budget by 300 per cent.

First job: Dishwasher at a catering company

Advice I’d give the younger me: Dream big and be confident. Starting, owning and operating a business takes courage, and if you have confidence in yourself and your product, you can succeed.

What’s left to do: A lot of delicious beer! I am continuing to expand the brewery by increasing sales and revenue with more fermentation capacity, equipment and distribution.

Favourite pastime: Cycling

I’m currently reading: American Sour Beer: Innovative Techniques for Mixed Fermentations by Michael Tonsmeire

Favourite movie: The Princess Bride

Favourite song: The Trooper by Iron Maiden

Favourite local pro sports team: Ottawa RedBlacks

Favourite local summer event: CityFolk

Preferred social media platforms: Twitter, Facebook, Instagram

Twitter handle: @bicyclebrewery