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Old 07-02-2007, 05:46 AM   #1
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Default Opening a Brewpub

I am planning on going in with one other person and opening a bar together. We have almost two decades of combined bar experience between us, and a decade of management experience. I also want to do commercial brewing, and had been planning that before the bar idea came along. So now, I'm thinking we could do a brew pub together.

Does anyone know of any good sources of information about commercial scale brewing, equipment, maintaining yeast cultures, and things like that? I'm not ready to go all out just yet, but I'd say within a couple years at most I'll be doing this for real. I've been doing some pricing of equipment, and I'm thinking a system of around 1 - 3 BBLs might be about right for the concept we're developing.

I know BrewPastor did it a brewery for real, and his story and experience was amazing, but I don't want to do it quite so big. All the brewmasters I've spoken with say a brewpub is a lot easier, and the profit margin is better. So, any information or links would be greatly appreciated.

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Old 07-02-2007, 05:53 AM   #2
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I know there are a couple of of books. "Brewing up a Business" by Sam Calagione and "The Brewer's Association Guide to Starting your Own Brewery" by Ray Daniels.

I don't know how good/bad either one is. But both are on my list of books to buy.

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Old 07-02-2007, 07:33 AM   #3
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I've been reading "Brewing Up a Business." It's pretty good, but it's more of a general business book with examples from brewing, rather than one that gets into the details of larger scale brewing. I've heard the Brewer's Association Guide isn't very good, but I might end up getting it anyway eventually.

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Old 07-02-2007, 09:42 AM   #4
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From everything I've heard, you need to be a business person first and a brewer second to be successful. Knowing how to come up with a good business plan is crucial.
This is why I'll never become a professional brewer.

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Old 07-02-2007, 12:56 PM   #5
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I've also heard that a brewpub is judged as much on it's food and service as much as its beer, so you essentially need to open a brewery AND a restaraunt at the same time. The other thing I've heard is that you won't be able to distribute your beer at other restaraunts, because you'd be competing with them. In addition to reading up on beer buisness, read up on food service (and people who are in the restuarant buiness will tell you, it aint no picnic ) Perhaps add Kitchen Confidential by Anthony Bourdain to your list. It isn't a buisness guide, but it's damn funny and gives you a very real and frightening view of the food buisness from the other side of the kitchen doors.

mike

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Old 07-02-2007, 02:23 PM   #6
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A one- to- three barrel setup seems like it might be a little bit on the small side; have you checked with other brewpubs in the area to see what size setups they use? I noticed that the smallish brewpub I frequent has a 5bbl system, and even that doesn't look too large. Hate to see you have a successful operation, then need to completely upgrade your system within a short period of time.

Either of you have any experience running a restaurant? As Rich says, that's at least as important as running the brewery side.

You've also got to make sure you've got enough capital behind you (I know, the hardest part). My sense is that most business ventures like this do not fail because the beer is bad, or the food is bad, or anything directly related to the operations, but because they do not have succifient capital to get the business established.

Oh - GOOD LUCK! This definately sounds cool, sounds like it will be a ton of work, but it's something that I think all of us would love to do.

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Old 07-02-2007, 02:45 PM   #7
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We just formed our L.L.C. for a distribution setup. Originally we were going to go the route of a brewpub, but the thought of brewing all day and then having to go run a bar wasn't too appealing. Granted the profit is definitely there selling pints though.....


It's a long road you have ahead of you. Good Luck!

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Old 07-02-2007, 03:02 PM   #8
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Echoing what others have said: if you do a brewpub, brewing becomes a distant third on the list of important things.

First is running the restaurant. You can have all the good beer in the world, but if your food is mediocre and the service sucks, you're toast. (My two cents here -- I think many brewpubs try to be too upscale or do too much with their menus).

Second, distribution (assuming you're going to distribute). Finding other retail outlets and a good way to get beer to them is key.

Finally, the beer. EVen way down here on the list it can make or break you, but it should be getting less of your attention than the first two.

Also, the 1-3 bbl system sounds really small to me. The brewpub where I used to work had a 15-bbl kettle and 8 or 10 30-bbl fermenters (they do bottling and regional distro, though). and there's a local berwery here (no pub) that just distributes kegs to maybe three dozen local restaurants, and his system is a 10-bbl kettle, 2x7-bbl fermenters, a 10-bbl fermenter and a 20 -bbl fermenter.
Hes a former homebrewer and a great guy, and might be willing to talk to you if you have questions: http://www.eastendbrewing.com/

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Old 07-02-2007, 03:03 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chimone
We just formed our L.L.C. for a distribution setup. Originally we were going to go the route of a brewpub, but the thought of brewing all day and then having to go run a bar wasn't too appealing. Granted the profit is definitely there selling pints though.....


It's a long road you have ahead of you. Good Luck!
So you are going that route now? Cool!
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Old 07-02-2007, 03:13 PM   #10
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The rule of thumb I have heard is to estimate 5-7 Bbl per seat per year.
So if you have a 50 seat restaurant that would be between 250 and 350 Bbl/ year.
If you have a 1 Bbl system you will pretty much be brewing every day of the year.

gg life.

however a 3Bbl system puts you at brewing aout 2x/week

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