But profit isn’t the point: it’s having fun. Starting with Oregon’s first brewpub in 1985, the brothers created the McMenamins chain to indulge their passions for art, history, food, drink and conversation.
Example: Edgefield, their 38-acre property near Portland, Ore., was once a slum. Fifteen years and $11 million later, Edgefield consists of a hotel, a winery and pubs that once housed boilers and incinerators. The spread includes a golf course, vineyard, brewery, distillery, concert space and gardens.
From all this and more, McMenamins netted a slim margin of $1.2 million pretax on $72 million in sales. Typically, they’ll allot $3.5 million for a renovation and go $2.5 million over budget to add a Turkish bathhouse. Even held in check by their CFO, a former Deloitte auditor, they call this budgeting practice their “times two.”
It works for them. Once in a while, they think about bringing in partners. But that would require justifying their flights of fancy, and that certainly would not be fun.
“We’d be deemed irresponsible,” says Mike.
— Adapted from “For Fun & (Minimal) Profit,” Emily Lambert, www.forbes.com.