Mike Beresky joins grade school pals to open Second Sin Brewing Co. in Bristol, Pa.
PHILADELPHIA, July 31, 2020 — When Mike Beresky, BBA ’10, was an accounting student at Temple University’s Fox School of Business, he remembers a message his professors would continually drive home.
“They’d always say, ‘With accounting, you touch marketing, you touch entrepreneurship and you touch finance, so you can really go into any level of business with this degree,’” Beresky says. “I really took that to heart, and I think early on, I started thinking about one day owning some type of business.”
In traditional circumstances, that business might be something along the lines of a bookkeeping service, a consulting firm or a tax preparation firm, but Beresky’s accounting degree has taken him in a different direction. This past November, alongside two of his closest childhood friends, he opened Second Sin Brewing Co., 1500 Grundy Ln. in Bristol, Pa.
The craft brewery has been a labor of love for Beresky and his two co-owners, Phil Harris and Jake Howell. Its roots also date back to his time at Temple.
“Jake and Phil were visiting me at Temple one weekend, and I think we just started talking about what we wanted to do after graduation,” Beresky recalls. “I said, ‘When school is over, I want to do something that’s not a job at an accounting firm.’ Jake had been studying astrophysics and physics, and I think he was rethinking that. We had also gotten into homebrewing quite a bit, so I think one of us was just like, ‘We should just open a brewery.’”
This wasn’t just chit chat between friends. Immediately after that night, the trio started mapping out a plan to make this brewery a reality, and they spent the next several years building toward that goal.
Beresky honed his business acumen, first as an accountant at Bank of New York Mellon and later as a senior accountant at Comcast. Howell perfected his brewing prowess, first at Climax Brewing in New Jersey before taking a brewer position at Neshaminy Creek Co. in Croydon, Pa., where he spent five years. Harris went to work for Aramark and then Daikin where he learned about heating and cooling systems (this came in handy when he would ultimately build Second Sin’s glycol exchange system).
Everything seemed to be going according to plan and by January 2017, the group seemed poised to open in Doylestown. Fast forward a year later, the Doylestown location never materialized, and the brewery dream was no closer to becoming a reality.
“That was pretty tough because we put a lot of work into something and then it just didn’t happen,” Beresky says. “The thing I liken it to is in Field of Dreams. There’s this scene where ‘Moonlight’ Graham says, ‘We just don’t recognize life’s most significant moments while they’re happening.’ We weren’t recognizing that this Doylestown location was not going to happen, and that was tough.”
Beresky and his partners eventually received a lifeline in the form of Broken Goblet Brewing. The brewery was in the process of building a new location and would no longer need its current location. On Wednesday, Nov. 27, 2019, this became the official home of Second Sin Brewing Co. when the brewery finally opened its doors.
“The night before we opened, I worked a 14-hour day at my current company. I slept for four hours, and I got to the brewery at 6:00 a.m. and did whatever I had to do to get ready,” Beresky says. “We opened up at noon, and we started to get a line before that, so that first day was absolutely crazy.”
Everything was going great, but then, COVID-19 hit.
“One thing I’ll say is that we didn’t really have time to get angry, we just had to keep moving to the next thing and keep pushing forward,” Beresky says.
Thanks to his accounting background, Beresky had built financial reserves into the brewery’s business plan. The brewery was also ready to pivot in response to the pandemic.
The brewery offered curbside pickup and started delivering within a 15-mile radius of the brewery. They also started canning specialty IPAs and collaborated with neighboring brewery, Odd Logic Brewing Co., to brew All Together, a worldwide beer collaboration designed to benefit the hospitality industry.
Because of their quick response, April ended up being Second Sin’s strongest sales month. That also allowed the brewery to further give back, as they donated $800 worth of “Thank You” beers to first responders.
Second Sin Brewing Co. has continued to gain notoriety in recent months. Its New England-style IPAs have become increasingly popular with the local craft beer community. A Facebook Group was started for fans to share their love for the brewery.
The grind is a challenge for Beresky, who continues to work his day job as a senior accountant at Frontline Technologies, but he credits his wife Jessica and their dog Simcoe (named after the hop variety) for their unwavering support. His accounting degree has led him on an unconventional path, but that doesn’t mean he’s not putting it to good use.
“Every day, I’m managing the business, creating a budget, doing the books and working with Jake and Phil to discuss what we want to brew, what we can afford to brew and looking into the analytics of what people want,” he says. “I’m spending time, running a business with two guys who have been my closest friends since middle school. It’s really been great.”
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