THE GREAT ESCALATION Opportunity and danger for Craft Distillers

In Environmental Sustainability, Investment by Michael RosserLeave a Comment

A friend asked me if I had plans for the Fall.  It took a second for me to realize he was talking about Autumn, not the collapse of civilization!  

ESCALATION /ɛskəˈleɪʃ(ə)n/ 1.0 A rapid increase; a rise 1.1 An increase in the intensity or seriousness of something; an intensification.

Look out your window and you might see; a hurricane, a wildfire, or a riot. Perhaps strangest of all: quiet children wearing surgical masks!  Society is currently dealing with; a pandemic, social unrest, and economic upheaval –  to name a few.  Every person and every business is troubled by a ceaseless emergency: The Great Escalation.

Like the Great Depression, The Great Escalation is unrelenting and all-encompassing.  “New normal” is inadequate to describe the situation at hand.  This time is a period of instability that may last for years, even decades.  Climate Change, alone, will agitate posterity for a century.

The Great Escalation will bring massive change in all arenas of human endeavor.  COVID was the trigger, economic disruption was the shock, social unrest is the result.  Long-standing social inequality quickly surfaced against a backdrop of Climate Change and environmental misadventure.  There will be disruption to every business sector, and businesses must learn to adapt.

With a distillery in planning, we are keenly aware that we are dealing with the reality of an unsettled world.  One of the challenging aspects of planning a startup business, today, is the chasm-sized disconnect between Wall Street finance (DOW, TSX, etc.) and the economic reality for Main Street businesses.  

Many craft distilleries, perhaps most, will survive the COVID pandemic.  This makes craft distilleries unique in the small business arena, even as they overcome COVID, new challenges are on the horizon.  Craft distilleries are uniquely positioned to adapt and succeed in troubled times.


The Greek philosopher, Heraclitus said “The only constant is change”. Small business should plan, now, to deal with frequent waves of change.  Craft distilleries are well-positioned to survive the troughs and ride the crests, if the distiller is prepared to respond to changes in customer’s wants and needs.

Heraclitus also offers ethical guidance that foreshadows Martin Luther King, invoking ethical values as the surest path to the promised land.  

“The content of your character is your choice. Day by day, what you do is who you become. Your integrity is your destiny – it is the light that guides your way.” 

As the winds of change blow stronger, hang onto your values.  Ethics and values are a valuable and marketable asset in troubled times.  As a distiller, you occupy a special place in society. You are a purveyor of medicine and poison that can heal or kill. Hold on tight to your values, you are going to need them!

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