Young Entrepreneur winner Jos Ruffel on how to get your good idea out of the garage

Beer (iSTOCK)
Beer (iSTOCK)

It started as barely more than a home brew effort, but Garage Project has gone from a small, independent brewery in a Wellington garage to an international brand. The company topped the 'Deloitte Fast 50' in 2015, and took out the national award for fastest-growing manufacturer.

All of this led to Jos Ruffel being crowned NZ's young entrepreneur of the year on Thursday night. So what are the secrets to his success?

The Garage Project started out independently and in a tiny garage. Mr Ruffel and the other founders of Garage Project had to pool together their ideas and resources to get their idea off the ground.

"We didn't have a lot of money, but we decided we would start in a way that would be unique and different," he says.

Three years on, the company has grown substantially - by 664 percent, in fact. They now have over 30 employees and international distribution of their beer. 

The approach to the business is important. If people like your product they are going to come back again and again.

Ultimately, "it's what is in the glass that counts," says Mr Ruffel, but Garage Project has also taken an innovative and original approach to marketing.

"We have very unique artwork for our beers. We want them to be the heroes, to be the personality."

Mr Rufell has simple advice for those starting out with their own small company:

"Turn up and things happen."

Garage Project is taking its products to the Desert Trip music festival in Coachella this weekend, something he says came about just by getting on a plane and making contact with businesses overseas.