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Old 07-27-2009, 04:11 PM   #1
magnumty
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Default talk to me about contract-brewing and production-brewing

hi,

i've been trying to research this as extensively as possible but need a little guidance and direction. although this forum is dedicated to homebrewing, i'll bet you guys/gals have the knowledge to help me out.

i am interested in starting a contract-brewing company, which in short means i'd like to hire a brewery to brew and bottle a beer for me. to start i would only like to handle marketing, sales, and distribution. this may sound odd to some of you but i have experience in the distribution aspects of the business but not the actual brewing. i'm certain this is a somewhat common practice however i'm not sure how the production-brewery is sourced or what to expect. are there breweries that specialize in this specifically? what sort of quantities can i expect, what sort of pricing, do they source bottles and packaging, etc? or do i find a very skilled homebrewer that can handle a quantity that i need?

i'm looking forward to your comments - i'll bet there are forum members on here that will be able to help me a ton, or even manufacture for me!

thanks a ton

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Old 07-27-2009, 04:13 PM   #2
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Where are you located?

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Old 07-27-2009, 04:24 PM   #3
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Where are you located?
I am located in PA
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Old 07-27-2009, 04:25 PM   #4
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There are breweries that do contract brews for other businesses. I've recently started liking McSorley's Black Lager....which is a relatively new contract brew that Lion's Brewery makes. If you're really serious about this, I would contact a brewery and get a cost quote. Lions is probably the first place to contact since they are in PA as well.

The Lion Brewery

I would assume the costs are dependant on how large of an operation you're thinking about, what kind of hurdles you're going to have to go through in your state for distribution, and I'm sure other unforeseen operating expenses. You can't rely on a homebrewer, since we're not professional and do not have the necessary operating licenses for legally selling alcohol.

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Old 07-27-2009, 04:28 PM   #5
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I know that the Frederick Brewing Company does contract brewing. And in general, contract brewing is not uncommon and some places do specialize in this.

You may find more answers at Probrewer since very few members here have ever made beer commercially.

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Old 07-27-2009, 04:36 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by davesrose View Post
There are breweries that do contract brews for other businesses. I've recently started liking McSorley's Black Lager....which is a relatively new contract brew that Lion's Brewery makes. If you're really serious about this, I would contact a brewery and get a cost quote. Lions is probably the first place to contact since they are in PA as well.

The Lion Brewery

I would assume the costs are dependant on how large of an operation you're thinking about, what kind of hurdles you're going to have to go through in your state for distribution, and I'm sure other unforeseen operating expenses.
Thanks for the reply. I had no idea Lions Brewery offered that service - they're definitely a great company for me to contact and ask questions (PS: Does the "contract brewing" link on their homepage work for you?). As I said I've done some research on this and I know most threads similar to this have not gone well. My family has owned a beer distributor in this state for generations so it seems possible enough for me to at least look into it since I feel I have a good brand idea. I'm just interested in a classic lager, nothing fancy, so any brewery should be able to handle it. For starters I just wanted to find some breweries that offer this service and see what the minimum quantities are, basically. If it's reasonable I'd do it and push it through our distributor and simply go from there.

Thanks a lot for pointing this out - I know we sell Lionshead but didn't know it was this type of operation.
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Old 07-27-2009, 04:38 PM   #7
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I know that Slyfox contracts as well, and they're in Royersford, PA...

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Old 07-27-2009, 04:40 PM   #8
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Thanks a lot for pointing this out - I know we sell Lionshead but didn't know it was this type of operation.
Yeah, definitely contact them first. Yeah, when I try their site, I can't get to their contract brewing link (guess it's still under construction). Just give them a call since they'll be able to give you all the answers you need: us amateurs know nothing about professionally making and distributing alcohol. And one thing I've noticed about visiting relatives up in PA....you guys really have some weird distribution laws for beer! And I thought the bible belt was bad
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Old 07-27-2009, 04:45 PM   #9
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I'd try to talk to Spike at Terrapin Brewery in Athens, GA. They started out contract brewing their Rye Pale Ale. When it took off, they actually bought their own brewery.

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Old 07-27-2009, 05:01 PM   #10
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I'd try to talk to Spike at Terrapin Brewery in Athens, GA. They started out contract brewing their Rye Pale Ale. When it took off, they actually bought their own brewery.
They contracted at the Frederick Brewing Company.
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