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Old 10-24-2013, 04:58 PM   #1
CharlosCarlies
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Default Going Pro: Ask me anything!

Hey all,

I know there's been a few theads like this in the past, so I hope there's still some interest. I wanted to do a post like this several months ago when we were just starting up, but with how crazy things have been lately it just fell on the back burner. We're about 3-4 weeks out from starting production if nothing goes terribly wrong *knocks on wood*.

Our brief story: My brother and I started homebrewing in college about 7-8 years ago. I was an engineering major, so the technical side of brewing always really appealed to me. We were maybe brewing once a month until the beers actually started getting good, we had friends bugging us to brew more, etc. Unfortunately around this time, our jobs took us out of the country and we didn't have a chance to brew for a few years. Like many of you, we had always talked about opening a brewery, but didn't have the cash and/or know anybody willing to invest. After my parents retired, they came to us and suggested we actually do it for real this time. Naturally, we were ecstatic, quit our job and flew back to the states as soon as possible. We were fortunate enough to find another investor along the way, and here we are. I know we're in a very fortuitous situation and are incredibly thankful for having awesome family that is just crazy enough to think we can do this.

I'm realizing I could go on for hours, so I'll try and cut this short and get to answering any questions you guys have about the whole process. I am by no means an expert, but we were forced to learn a **** ton of stuff along the way. I'm always joking w/ some brewer friends that if we ever opened a second brewery, we would save a ton of money and could eliminate many, many of the headaches!

I'll try and get some pics up here in a minute but the basics of our brewhouse/equipment:

- 20 BBL 2-vessel brewhouse (DME)
- 40 BBL Hot/Cold liquor tanks
- (3) 40 BBL Unis
- (1) 40 BBL Brite

Given how helpful/supportive the entire brewing community has been, I'm really looking forward to helping anybody thinking of taking the same path. Ask me anything! There's (almost) no question I won't answer.

If any of yall are interested in following us on Facebook, we'd be very appreciative: www.facebook.com/b52brewing

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Old 10-24-2013, 05:14 PM   #2
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What beers will you have on tap? How often will you brew? How much time and money did it take to get this far?

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Old 10-24-2013, 05:21 PM   #3
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40 BBL to start? You don't screw around do you?

Best of luck!

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Old 10-24-2013, 05:22 PM   #4
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What was the process from brainstorming to implementation? You don't have to go in to any detail. What were some of your biggest challenges?

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Old 10-24-2013, 05:24 PM   #5
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Okay, do you have a chef in mind yet? Are you serving pub grub, gastro pub, or burgers fries, pizza, that kind of food? Is there an area away from the bar area, for families to sit at? Do you have something in mind to keep the kids busy after they eat while Mom and or Dad finish their nectar of the gods? Will the kids games be free, or costly? Are you on a public transportation line? Are going to have seasonal rotation beers? Are going to "always " have the same five or more on tap all year long? Are you only going to make Ales? Will there ever be entertainment? Are you ever going to do/join/create projects that benefit the community? How many different types of home brew soda will you have on tap? Will there be opportunities for a Science trip for kids/students to see how soda is made? Are you interested in making available fund raisers for different groups? Have you thought about supporting a specific or multiple charities? Have you considered doing a "money match" type of fundraisers, where all the participants get something, ie. a free pitcher of soda, or a burger, etc.? The top 3 or 5 get a free dinner for their family, or something else, like a free pitcher of soda a week for (x) weeks? Gee if the family is already there, I doubt they will just drink and dash... I'm working on a few more, and I have not yet been to your Facebook page. I didn't know there were such bitchin' business sites like the one you have. And, since you are in Texas y'all will have Brisket sandwiches, right?

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Old 10-24-2013, 05:27 PM   #6
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The building is a mess right now, so pardon our dust!

imag0109.jpg   imag0110.jpg   imag0111.jpg   imag0112.jpg   imag0113.jpg  

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Old 10-24-2013, 05:29 PM   #7
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Our outdoor tasting area. The taps are going to run from the cold storage through the wall of the shipping container.

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Old 10-24-2013, 05:31 PM   #8
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Quote:
What beers will you have on tap? How often will you brew? How much time and money did it take to get this far?
We're starting w/ just three beers because of our limited cellar capacity, and it isn't 100% set in stone now but we're looking at a hoppy Pils, a Wheat IPA, and an Oatmeal Stout that we can do a lot of seasonal variations on such as smoke, barrel-aged, peppers, etc. Houston isn't that mature of a market yet, so we decided to keep it simplish and focus on quality control over funky (for now).

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40 BBL to start? You don't screw around do you?

Best of luck!
Thank you! We are very, very fortunate to be able to start w/ this capacity.
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Old 10-24-2013, 05:44 PM   #9
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Quote:
What was the process from brainstorming to implementation? You don't have to go in to any detail. What were some of your biggest challenges?
Brainstorming was basically just done at various bars over many, many beers. We had been talking about it for 2-3 years, and maybe spent 3-4 months of actual planning before putting money down for the brewhouse.

As far as challenges, the biggest for me was learning about all the equipment. I ended up spending a month interning at a Rahr & Sons in Fort Worth, which helped out tremendously. We also went on as many brewery tours as possible, talked to the brewers/owners whenever they were willing to, and spent countless hours scouring Probrewer for any info we could find. We considered a consultant at one point, and if we weren't so over-budget I would have liked to go that route. If you have the time and are motivated, you can figure most everything out yourself, but we are probably 2-3 months behind schedule because of it. Not a huge deal for some, but it still sucks throwing money at something and not seeing a return!

Edit: Forgot to add, finding (competent) contractors has been a royal PITA. They generally have wanted way too much money and/or don't know what they're doing. We've been fortunate to not have any major F-ups so far, but it really helps to know what they're supposed to be doing and watch them like a hawk. I highly recommend doing as much work yourself as you feel comfortable with. We actually ended up doing our steam and glycol ourselves which was pretty overwhelming at first, but if you're patient and do your research, it's well worth the money saved and knowledge gained for if/when something goes wrong in the future.
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Old 10-24-2013, 05:53 PM   #10
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How do you intend on staying relevant in what seems like such a flooded market of new breweries and new beers?

Free beer is always good , but when I'm paying for it I want it to really be stellar! I'm sure you feel that your beer is better than the other breweries around you, but is it really? How can you measure this? Have you measured this?

What avenues have you researched or decided upon for selling your beer and/or do you already have contracts for sales? My understanding is that making the beer should be relatively easy but if it doesn't sell then it doesn't matter.

Edit:
BTW, I'm uber jealous over here

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