AUSTIN, Texas – About five years ago, FOX 7 Austin introduced viewers to former Marine 1st Lt. Mark Phillippe, just after he had achieved a seven-year dream.
That dream was opening his own microbrewery and taproom.
Hi Sign Brewing got off to a good start, but then came challenges. The three-year construction project at 183 made it nearly impossible to get to its location, and then there was the pandemic. It all but shut down Hi Sign Brewing.
“I didn’t have anybody brewing, no staff, just me. And I took out a sticky note and wrote YCF, you can’t fail, on it. So I’d walk in and know there’s more riding on this than just me,” Phillippe said.
With his dream business on the line, the lessons he learned about settling in Helmond province began to take off.
“It was a parallel mindset to being a platoon commander in Afghanistan. For me, YCF was a mindset… it was like you can’t fail your Marines. If you do the job poorly, plan poorly, execute poorly, don’t train properly ”, Phillippe said.
His big plan was to relocate the business.
It took about three years to do this, all the while knowing and preparing that every day would bring unexpected twists, turns and challenges.
“There’s a training that doesn’t leave you when your contract ends. There were times during COVID when I woke up and we had an employee. I thought to myself ‘there’s nothing today that’s going to be harder than losing a Marine, so these things are good…we just make beer’.”
And the beer is flowing once again at Hi Sign’s new location in East Austin.
Almost everything is new, the staff, the equipment, the living room. One thing that isn’t new is the training and mindset that served Phillippe on deployment and still serves him now.