Blog Page
Master Your Craft | Architect of the Internet

Black Acre Brewing Company Photo Credit: Studio 13, Design and Construction by ONE 10 STUDIO

Why is it so important to master your craft? What if your craft is Architecture … or Beer?

You may read this and think that beer is the perfect companion to architecture or at least to working in the architectural profession.

Or, you may wonder why I’m doing this. Why am I drawing an analogy between Architecture and Beer?

About #ArchiTalks

Well, that’s the spin I’m putting on this month’s #ArchiTalks article.

Have you been following along with #ArchiTalks?

Here’s the format: every month, someone (usually Bob Borson of Life of an Architect) throws out a topic and a growing number of us in the architectural profession wax poetic (more or less) on the subject.

You can find a complete list of everyone participating in this month’s #ArchiTalks challenge at the end of this article.

Did you miss last month’s articles? My contribution was “What is the Real World: Architecture in the Real World”

As I’ve been mulling over this month’s #ArchiTalks subject … ‘Crafty’ … the word craft brought to mind the day a certain new client walked through the door. Of course I had no idea at the time what that conversation would lead to. You never really do.


The Business of Beer … and Architecture

When Justin Miller and Steve Ruby from Black Acre Brewing walked in they carried a 3” binder and 3 growlers of beer.

Now, I’ve been in the architecture game for over 20 years. I’ve met scores of clients and evaluated dozens of business plans, but I’d never seen anything like this. It quickly became obvious that Justin and Steve and their 3 partners had dedicated themselves to mastering their craft.

Their business plan was one of the best I’d ever seen and their beer is excellent. Don’t take my word for it though. Next time you’re in Indianapolis let me know. I’ll buy you a pint of Architect’s Breakfast or ONE 10 Stout.

That conversation led to us designing and building the original Black Acre brew house and pub. It also ushered us into the burgeoning craft brewing community in Indianapolis. We were subsequently involved in 6 or 7 craft brewery related projects before I left the firm last October.

I learned a lot over the course of those projects. I learned how to brew beer. I learned how to taste beer. I learned how to design and build a brew house. But most importantly, I learned the difference between true craft brewers and the people that are jumping in because they see that there is money to be made in the industry.

In fact there’s so much money and market share that Budweiser used some of its considerable money and clout this year to produce a Super Bowl commercial to fight off the assault of the craft brewing industry.


Obviously there’s a difference between a craft brewer and a beer baron. There’s also a difference between a good craft brewer and one that doesn’t survive. Here are some observations I’ve made:

  • Craft brewers are born of passion; most start as home brewers.

  • They start with a concept; usually a style and a flavor.

  • They pay attention to the smallest details; imagine your favorite recipe with insane attention paid to temperature and time in each process over weeks or even months.

  • They do the hard work.

  • They love what they do and what others like them do.

  • They belong to communities.

  • They celebrate their victories.

Does this sound like anyone you know?

Several years ago, the Discovery Channel ran a few episodes of a show they called “Brew Masters.” It featured Dogfish Head Brewery Founder Sam Calagione. In my mind, if you made a few key substitutions the show could have just as easily been about good architecture as about good beer.

Master Your Craft

So let’s bring this back around.

  • Are you mastering your craft? 

  • Do you have a passion for what you do? 

  • Are you building on a concept but paying attention to the smallest details? 

  • Are you doing the hard work? 

  • Do you love your work and the great work of other Architects? 

  • Are you building a community around your work? 

  • Are you celebrating your victories?

I think we all know why it’s important to master our craft. It’s what we’ll be known for. It’s where we draw our satisfaction from. Others see it in you. Your Ideal Client will notice.

Hopefully one day some competitor the size of Budweiser will notice and make a TV commercial to bash you. I guess that’s when you know that you’ve really mastered your craft.

So there you go; Architecture and Craft Beer. It’s not a bad combination. How are you mastering your craft? What are some examples of other industries that master their craft? Let me know in the comment section below. I’d like to hear from you.

In the meantime, here’s a list of the other professionals that are stepping up and pushing us forward. Let’s see what’s exciting them:

If you’re interested in joining in the #ArchiTalks fun for future posts leave a comment in the Speak Your Mind area below and I’ll make sure you’re including on the email chain going forward.

My goal is to start an open dialogue and let Architect of the Internet be a forum where we can all learn to have success in the business of architecture through Social Media.


About Jeff Echols

Jeff Echols is the creative Storyteller for Award-Winning architecture firms and the Social Media Campaign Manager for industry professionals. He is a graduate of Ball State University with over 20 years’ experience in the marketing departments of firms ranging from three to three thousand employees.

Jeff spends countless hours studying, developing and implementing strategies for insuring marketing success for Architects and other business owners in the online arena. He documents the good, the bad and the ugly in Social Media at Architect of the Internet and speaks about Conquering Social Media in venues ranging from the Board Room to the Convention Stage.


  1. Well done Jeff. The most creative approach I have read so far. I especially appreciate your comparison of Brew Master to Architect. And the questions you asked about Mastering Your Craft. Charleston is just starting to develop a craft brew scene. We had an antiquated law previously that limited the number of barrels that could be produced, but now have opened it up. So breweries are starting to come. – Steve

    • Thanks Steve! That commonality was one that I really enjoyed while working with the best of the craft brewers in town. Call it a mutual admiration society if you like. Amongst all of the other craziness that’s kept us in the national news the past couple weeks, Indiana is also famous for antiquated alcohol laws. This year, the legislature did just what you mentioned, raised the limit on the number of barrels that can be produced. They also opened the door for distilling. I look for an explosion (hopefully not literally) of distilleries coming on line in the next couple years. – Jeff

  2. mmmmm….beer. We should get some soon.

    Great blog, Jeff! I think you need to do a follow-up of how one masters the craft that causes notice from big barons. 😉

    • Agreed Lora, let’s do that soon. I really think the key to getting noticed is to start small in a good niche, then do awesome work that you can slowly scale up. The distinction here is that you have a community of people doing awesome work (craft brewers) that consumers are noticing. That’s causing a disruption in what the beer barons see as their industry. Money talks. Ask yourself ‘what can I disrupt?’ – Jeff

  3. Architecture and Beer! You learn something new everyday! I will look up the Brewmasters series. Enjoyed reading your blog.

    • Thanks Meghana! I know you can find partial episodes on YouTube. I haven’t searched out the full episodes. It’s interesting to note that the series brought so much notoriety to Dogfish Head Brewing that they had to scale back their distribution in order to keep up the production / demand balance. I’m not sure if that’s also why the series only lasted a handful of shows or not. File under: Be Careful What You Wish For. – Jeff

  4. The points you make about what it takes to master your craft are spot on. It is not easy. But putting forth the effort and paying attention to details are key. And all that takes a passion for what you are doing.

    • Right you are Matthew! That’s what makes the cream rise. A long time ago I went to a talk by Coleman Coker (Sam Mockbee’s partner in Mockbee / Coker). I’ll never forget hearing him say “nothing worth doing is ever easy.” He’s not the first one to say it. But he’s so right. Thanks for the comment. – Jeff

  5. uzoigwe caleb kelechi says:

    Nice one sir. How can someone start developing passion for the work they are about to do(university architectural student)?

  6. Cristina Bump says:

    Interesting comparison. I am an architect and my husband is a brew master, we for sure share the same love of discovery and creativity!


  1. […] Jeff Echols – Architect of the Internet (@jeff_echols) “Master Your Craft – A Tale of Architecture and Beer” […]

  2. […] Jeff Echols – Architect Of The Internet @Jeff_Echols Master Your Craft – A Tale of Architecture and Beer […]

  3. […] Jeff Echols – Architect Of The Internet @Jeff_Echols Master Your Craft – A Tale of Architecture and Beer […]

  4. […] Residential Architecture” “Jeff Echols – Architect Of The Internet @Jeff_Echols Master Your Craft – A Tale of Architecture and Beer” “Lee Calisti, AIA – Think Architect @LeeCalisti panel craft” “Lora […]

  5. […] Jeff Echols – Architect Of The Internet @Jeff_Echols Master Your Craft – A Tale of Architecture and Beer […]

  6. […] Jeff Echols – Architect Of The Internet @Jeff_Echols Master Your Craft – A Tale of Architecture and Beer […]

  7. […] Architect of the Internet, Jeff Echols lays out the importance of mastering your craft by comparing architecture and beer. […]

  8. […] Jeff Echols – Architect Of The Internet @Jeff_Echols Master Your Craft – A Tale of Architecture and Beer […]

Speak Your Mind


↑ Top of Page