The Self-Made Man: Max Chautin
It’s easy to get the impression that tech and social media are the only worthwhile fields for entrepreneurs to get involved in. I mean, look how many of TSB’s Self Made Man columns are about ambitious programmers and web gurus. It’s not an intentional bias by any means, but the Internet is still a fairly new frontier with lots of venture capitalists willing to throw money into it.
But one other field that we haven’t covered much thus far is beer. Microbreweries are a popular start-up these days as well, and there’s a lot more young blood in brewing (and related industries) because people really, really like to drink. Younger people are especially fond of it, and their tastes are refining. We all have at least one twentysomething beer snob friend who takes forever to order at restaurants because he has zillions of questions about what’s on tap.
Alongside the interest in brewing comes a glut of related products and services, which is where KegSkins founder and CEO Max Chautin comes in. He’s not a famous entrepreneur (yet), but he invented the KegSkin, which insulates beer kegs to keep them cold, and is on the grind 24/7 trying to grow that brand.
By way of explanation, the KegSkin is an insulated Neoprene sleeve that stretches to fit all half-keg shapes and (according to their website) keeps beer kegs cold for as long as six hours.
Chautin, a former lacrosse midfielder who graduated from Johns Hopkins with a political science degree, came up with his idea during a “bonus” semester at JHU. Originally, the KegSkin was going to just be an advertising vehicle; the early model was a keg cozy that companies could use as cheap ad space, taking advantage of the fact that people are always standing around the keg at parties.
But then Chautin had another idea: what if the sleeve could keep the keg cold? He wasted no time in conducting research for what would make the best (and most cost-effective) insulator, and used some connections he’d made during an earlier hedge fund internship in Hong Kong to send prototypes out to factories in China and launch his company.
Chautin has seen some success since he started his company, most notably getting Wrigley Field to use and promote the KegSkin last year, but he’s still touring it around and making wholesale deals and trying to capitalize on his modest gains thus far. He’s an optimistic guy at heart, so when Business Insider asked him what advice he’d give other young entrepreneurs, he told them that “now is the time to take chances in life. Without serious risk there generally is not serious reward.”
You can read the rest of that Business Insider interview here, and TSB suggests that you do. Max Chautin is out there grinding (to quote Akon) and making his dream a reality, and he’s definitely someone our readers should keep up with as they make their way in the world.
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About Dave Kiefaber Dave Kiefaber is a Baltimore-based writer who regularly contributes to Adfreak and the Gettysburg Times. His personal website is at www.beeohdee.blogspot.com.