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Old 06-15-2011, 03:55 PM   #1
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Default Brewery Setup - Poll on preferences - Tasting Room or No Tasting Room?

Well...we've got investors considering us now here at Hob Knob...so we may be hitting the big time sooner rather than later - and have some very big decisions in front of us

My question is a simple one. We're considering either finding a location with a tasting room or without a tasting room. What do you guys think (feel free to the pros/cons lists below)?

Tasting Room - Pros
*Big revenue boost - in visiting other breweries, they say around 50-60% of their revenues come from their tasting rooms & indoor sales
*Greater exposure
*Would enjoy watching people enjoy my beer and interactions with the customers
*May have better presence in the media since there would be a location people could visit
*Increased revenues from paraphernalia sales (mugs/tshirts/etc)


Tasting Room - Cons
*Limits locations - you need a highly visible location
*Upfitting costs & rental costs go through the roof
*Additional licensing
*More employees
*It would only be open 3 days a week - fri/sat/sun
*Increased costs would dictate an investor be brought on board or I'd have to go all in with an SBA loan.
*an additional 1000sq ft minimum space would be required for the tasting room
*DRAM shop laws are a huge consideration - you can be sued for up to $500k if you fail to police peoples intake of your brews and they end up hurting someone. (What a joke...I'm a brewer, not the police!)

No Tasting Room - Pros
*More locations available - you can get a 1500 sq ft hole in the wall for $800/month w/ water. Retail - you're talking $2k+ for rent.
*Less risk - you're not diving in head first, and instead can start and grow at your own pace.
*You can put more funds into production rather than outfitting a location.
*Less hourly requirements.
*Startup costs would be around $20,000 versus 5x that for a location with a tasting room
*More time for brewing since you don't have to open a tasting room for 20+ hours/week
*More time with family
*No need to worry about DRAM shop laws (where you can be sued if one of your patrons injures someone because you failed to cut them off)


No Tasting Room - Cons
*Decreased revenue stream
*Less contact, interaction, & feedback from customers
*Reduced profit margin since you aren't selling directly to customers
*Decreased sales from paraphernalia like t shirts/growlers/mugs/etc

DANG IT! Forgot the poll...just post your vote below - Tap room or no tap room?

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Old 06-15-2011, 04:08 PM   #2
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Go for the tasting room. It will help with distribution and people will find you regardless of location. Get a hold of southern oregon brewery. Great location for a brewery. Bad location for visibility. They have a great and active tasting room. Mt. Taber is currently moving to vancouver, wa and is adding one as well to help out with self distribution.

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That's why it is best to just steal the kegs from little old ladies after they are passed out from their kegger, that way there is no question on if it is "stolen" or not.
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Old 06-15-2011, 04:11 PM   #3
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I think the pros are worth it, one of the main ways people come to really like a brewery is through visiting, tasting great fresh beer, and having a fun time with the employees.

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Old 06-15-2011, 04:12 PM   #4
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I vote tasting room. IMHO - all the pros of having one, especially revenue and exposure, far outweigh the negatives.

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Old 06-15-2011, 04:33 PM   #5
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If you have the financial resources... yes tasting room.

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Old 06-15-2011, 04:39 PM   #6
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Why do you need to be in a "highly visible location" to have a tasting room?

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Hey, knock that shvt off. We're drinkin' here.

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Old 06-15-2011, 04:42 PM   #7
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More exposure = More patrons...

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Old 06-15-2011, 04:47 PM   #8
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Good product and promotion > prime location. Especially starting out.

One of my favorite breweries is in Williamsburg, VA. Williamsburg Alewerks.

They are on the backwater end of town near the trailer parks (no offense meant to anyone in a trailer, just not high traffic or money area) and in an industrial park next to a brick wholesaler.

They do tours of the brewery, which is in a garage next door, and have tastings and retail.

We visit every time we go, including this coming weekend!

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Old 06-15-2011, 04:48 PM   #9
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With location, I think it all comes down to costs...if you can be in a high traffic area for <$500/month more in rent...I'd probably go with it...

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Old 06-15-2011, 05:20 PM   #10
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Oh sure. If you can swing it, do that.

Just saying the beer crowd will seek you out if they like your product and you promote it right.

Williamsburg Alewerks is served pretty prominently in the nicer restaurants in town. They have brochures up front at some of them that say "BREWERY TOURS" in big friendly letters. That's what got my attention at first.

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Beer is the mind-killer. Beer is the little death that brings total obliteration. I will face my beer. I will permit it to pass over me and through me. And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see it's path. When the beer has gone there will be nothing. Only I will remain.
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