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Old 10-06-2008, 11:52 AM   #1
mandoman
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Default how to add on brewery to existing restaurant

So, guy calls me and asks if I can make beer for his restaurant. I live in a small county (<40K) albeit with a lot of tourism and a fair 'craft' market for our size. My name is around as the guy who'd like to be a pro brewer somehow - either in a microbrewery or as part of a restaurant. Anyway, I already realized that, in Virginia anyway, it'd be more 'profitable' for me to work as part of a pub rather than try to start a brewery - esp with respect to licensure and distribution (or not having to pay 25% to distributors in a brewpub situation). I understand some of the legal stuff, like not being able to house a brewery in a non-commercial zoned site, taxes and licensure, etc. but am wondering if anyone has any experience with this. I've seen the 'friend wants me to brew beer for him' thread but want to continue that line of thinking. yes, I'm posting on probrewer, also. This seems like a great opportunity to go small and see how it works. I see all the advice about going no smaller than 7 bbl but in my imagination I'd rather not invest too much up front to see how it goes and then build from there (yes, I know, Sam Calagione style). Meeting with him soon to discuss the possibilities and am trying to prepare as best I can. thanks ahead of time!

CB



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Old 10-06-2008, 04:38 PM   #2
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I don't have any advice for you, per se, but I am interested in the idea. I know a few restaurateurs and have thought about approaching them, but I'm not sure I would be as happy brewing for work as I am brewing for hobby. Plus, I can't decide if there's room for another craft brewer around here where Sam's got the racket (although my beer would be very different from his). I'll be following this, so keep posting and good luck!



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Old 10-06-2008, 05:44 PM   #3
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thanks for the response. See, that's part of it for me. nearest brewpub is in another state and over an hour away and they don't distribute. Next closest are also in another state 1.5 hrs away and don't distribute here. nearest Brewery or brewpub in virginia is 2.5+ hours away. In my area, 'craft' products are very favorable and people are willing to pay more for local products, etc. Seems like a no brainer. Anyone reading this from my area, I mean, this is a stupid idea.

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Old 10-06-2008, 06:08 PM   #4
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As far as licenses you still have to license as a brewery either for a pub or commercial. Really the way that works is 1 of 2 ways, either you have the owner of the resturant license the brewery and you just brew for him, or you license the brewery your self use his address for all the licenses and you brew on his property and sell him beer. 1 way your partners the other your not, even though youll have a partnership just being in the same building. As far as the ABC/ATTB is concerned they dont care what way you go, Just as long as they get their $$$$ for the licenses.
Its not something I haven't looked into myself, Really its a great idea "IF" you want to brew for a living and not have the problems of owning a resturant, But you have to have the room you have to brew on the site and you have to have that site inspected and signed off by the feds.
Dont get me wrong there are probably other ways to license a partnership like this. I am not the athority on the subject, But I have looked into it.
good luck
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Old 10-06-2008, 06:18 PM   #5
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First things that crossed my mind were:

How many barrels will you need to brew, age and deliver for the restaurant?
Will you be using an extract or grain system?
Is there adequate plumbing, drains, ventilation and fire prevention equipment in the brewing area?
Storage of extracts, grains, hops etc. who will have access to these items?
Will the restaurant pour from kegs or tanks?
How will taxes be collected?

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Old 10-06-2008, 06:25 PM   #6
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thanks, again, for replies

First things that crossed my mind were:

How many barrels will you need to brew, age and deliver for the restaurant?
-i'm looking to rest. guy for this info - tables, turns, etc. we will estimate but, in general, lower/fewer than most places

Will you be using an extract or grain system?
-with focus on craft, all grain

Is there adequate plumbing, drains, ventilation and fire prevention equipment in the brewing area?
-yes. This is a point of contention, however, there may not be enough room 'on site' and we may require another space. This could mean going with the 'pilot brewer' license.

Storage of extracts, grains, hops etc. who will have access to these items?
-my own walk in. again, the space issue above

Will the restaurant pour from kegs or tanks?
-Not sure if VA allows tanks. kegs is my current choice.

How will taxes be collected?
-don't know.


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Old 10-06-2008, 06:29 PM   #7
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Wow. This is a huge issue.

Who's going to pony up the funds for the gear and installation? Is he going to own the equipment, license, ingredients and all and you work for him?

Is he going to make space in his restaurant? Does he own the space or rent?

Is he good about paying taxes? Does he keep an attorney on retainer?

What I'm trying to establish is that you need to define who's responsible for what. It's a very bad idea for you to buy equipment and install it in his edifice without a legal agreement.

I suggest you buy a copy of Starting Your Own Brewery. It has most of the answers you're looking for.

Here's another resource:

Virginia Brewers Guild
Hugh Burns
PO Box 2057

Williamsburg, VA USA 23187
Phone: 757-208-8887
Fax:
Email: virginiabrewsguild@gmail.com
Web site: www.vabeer.blogspot.com

Don't reinvent the wheel!

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Old 10-06-2008, 06:33 PM   #8
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wow, thanks, bob. Yeah, the legal stuff is my main concern. Who owns what and when/if it ends what is the deal there. Thanks, also, for the vaguild link - didn't know about that. Wading the ttb/abc webpages is obnoxious. I've been in contact with my 'local' abc agent (he's still 3 hours away, I'm tellin' ya, it's like this part of the state doesn't exist). This is good, I'm feelin' more prepped for a serious discussion.


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Old 10-06-2008, 06:37 PM   #9
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Just out of curiosity, how established is his restaraunt? If this is something your going to get balls deep in the last thing you want is his restaraunt to go under and you be stuck with all that equipment and no where to go. It does sound like a no brainer as far as starting up the brewpub portion of it with your closest competition hours away. Then again all things that are too good to be true usually are. The best of luck to you though, I love a good brewpub.

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Old 10-06-2008, 06:40 PM   #10
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they haven't opened yet. They open next week (mid oct). Another note. It's odd that several other restaurants in the area are closed and for sale. I know this is a red flag but I can't help but wonder. You know, most people are idiots, right? We all think we won't fail otherwise why would we do it? Then again, if you don't try how do you know?


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