WEST FARGO — With the crack of a can and the signature "Buschhhhh" sound effect, Myles Montplaisir has turned his love for beer into a Midwestern brand that's grown exponentially since it got its start in June 2018.
"We mostly just wanted to throw as many darts at the dartboard and see what stuck," Fargo native Montplaisir said. "It just so happened that we did a video about comparing a Busch Light to a Spotted Cow, and that kind of just blew up."
With over 4.8 million views on their first viral video, Montplaisir has amassed an empire of Midwesternisms that's spawned hundreds of videos, merchandise, collaborations, guest appearances, podcasts and more — just over two years after he began.
But he doesn't do it all alone.
Behind every success story is a dedicated team working for the better of the brand, and the You Betcha Crew is no exception.
After the company he was working at hired Montplaisir for a video project, Ryan Sheeley met up with his future colleague for a beverage.
"We started vibing about social media stuff and went out for a couple of beers and figured out, like, wow, there's so much potential on the internet to start something," Sheeley said. "And that's kind of when he brought up the idea of You Betcha to me."
Sheeley started with printing shirts for the group by hand in their warehouse, a move that dubbed him "Ryan the T-shirt Guy," as he is known within the group and online.
"It was cool to see it from the ground up, you know," Sheeley said. "Seeing what the content was supposed to be from Day 1 of the page to where it is now, it's a night and day difference. But it's kind of cool to see how it evolved, you know, from basically hiring him for freelance work to now being one of the first employees into this business a little over two years in."
Like with any job, however, someone has to be around to make sure people go where they need to go. For the You Betcha business, that someone is Laken Samis.
"I used to be in property management," Samis said. "My role on that team was managing people, and that's really what I strive in. I applied for (the operations director position), and Myles literally gave me a phone call the next day, and we just hit it off on the phone."
A few interviews later, and Samis hasn't looked back. She says her job has changed a bit here and there over her time with You Betcha, but the excitement of what the brand is becoming makes it worthwhile to come to work.
"I came in, and I just saw the potential that the social media company had," Samis said. "And Myles talked to me about future plans, and I was like 'I want in on this now. Absolutely yes.'"
As the brand has grown, two content producers — Tyler Ziegler and new guy Jake Zell — have joined the team, creating a group of five full-timers and a few part-timers all working to create and sustain a brand with more than 1 million followers on Facebook alone.
Quite a feat for a group of "kids" whose average age is 26.
"We have a young group of people here," Sheeley said. "And we are creating this full-fledged animal on the internet."
And it's their age that may be one of their biggest strengths. They've grown up right along with the internet, figuring out the tricks of the trade almost as soon as they're invented, and learning how to turn feedback into success as soon as they hit "post" on their latest projects.
"If you look at how important the internet and social media is to everybody in the world, you know, a large majority of people's lives revolve around social media and their Instagram accounts and all this kind of stuff," Sheeley said, adding that they are "in the heart of it" right now, growing up when Twitter and Facebook were just taking off. "And now we have a huge advantage because we've seen it from the beginning. We've seen where it has gone to today, and we will see where it continues to go in the future. And that's just us being lucky, being as young as we are and growing up in the generation that we have been able to pivot."
It's not just cracking beer and hanging with the fellas every day, either. Keeping things entertaining, while ensuring they are relatable to the audience is the key to success, and it definitely doesn't come without a lot of trial and error. The crew routinely clocks many hours a day, and Montplaisir says work is never off his mind. Creating hit videos is a process.
"People assume we are just drinking beer all day and joking around and stuff, but we are truly and tirelessly working to make this into a business so that we can play this game for a very, very long time," said Montplaisir, who hopes to do that with a smaller team that is not strapped to egos or a board of directors.
"I think that there's just so much planning and effort that goes in to it, but I think that a lot of people see the end product, and it seamlessly fits together, and it maybe feels like we are doing it and it's coming off like it's easy, but there's a lot of days where we go home dog-tired and stress out," said Montplaisir. "Even though it's a different business, we still are a business."
Even through a global pandemic, when many businesses are closing their doors and scaling back, the brand that got its start comparing two well-loved beers continues to thrive. They've expanded into the podcast world with "You Betcha Radio" and are even showing off their gaming skills on Twitch.
"I think there's a lot of people that when COVID hit, they pouted about it and said 'Oh this sucks, I can't go do this and that,'" said Montplaisir. "We sat down and were like, well, everyone is going to be sitting at home, so we are actually now having to to work more hours. We have to put out more videos because more people are going to be watching, we can sell more merchandise ... just over and over. I think that's part of it, just squeezing the lemons."
"(Without the pandemic) we wouldn't have gotten streaming up and running, we wouldn't have cracked out on a good operating system for merchandise," Samis said, agreeing. "We take the lemons, and we make the best of it."
To see what all the Midwest hype is about, check out the crew on Facebook, Twitter, Twitch, YouTube, TikTok, You Betcha Radio, ohhyoubetcha.com and any of their Instagram accounts — @OhhYouBetcha, @YouBetchaGuy, @TylerTheCameraGuy, @RyanTheTshirtGuy, @LakenOperationsGal and @MidwestGisele.