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Old 03-14-2012, 01:35 AM   #1
JDuclos
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Default Thinking about opening a DIY brew store.

Greetings!

I've recently began thinking about investment ideas, and one of them is a retail store. So I've come up with a document to describe my idea. I'm looking for input from HBT about more ideas or just input overall if you think the idea is a flop or a win. Basically I want to create a store that allows people to get into home brewing while transfering their startup cost into a per basis cost. I'm thinking people pay for ingredients and a fee to use the equipment and deposits on equipment that they take their brew home in. The great side is people could use hundreds of dollars of equipment to make much more quality brew while paying a lot less.

Home Brew Store:

1. The Idea: A home beer and wine making supply store with online sales/ordering and in house DIY brewery. With afterhours micro brewery?

2. The store
Sells ingredients for wine and beer. Equipment to make wine and beer. And also rents equipment that has high initial cost. Rental kits are available too.
Deposits: Deposits will be made on any equipment that a customer choses to take outside of the brewery. This may include beer and wine bottles, carboys, chillers, pots, kegs, co2 tanks, bottle capper, etc.

Rental options: Chillers, brew pots, co2 tanks, carboys, fermenters, bottle trees, items over 20-30 dollars that are inconvenient to purchase.
Glass recycling drop off location
Local equipment trading post. Events will include a meet and brew exchange.
Co2, Nitro and propane Refills/exchange.

3. The DIY brewery:
The brewery will comprise of workstations with sinks and heat sources where customers can brew their own beer without purchasing equipment. The brewery will rent space for lagering for those who need space to lager their beers. This could be used to bring a batch they have brewed at home and bring into the brewery to pitch the yeast and ferment in house. Workstations will allow for 5, 10, or 15 gallon batches. Kits or whole grain may be used.

Sterilized equipment!!!!
The brewery will have pre sanitized equipment for DIY brewing sessions. The brewery will also sterilize equipment that customers bring in for their own use. Sterilized items will be packaged in hermitically sealed containers if possible.

Types of brew your own options:
1. Demonstration: A free demonstration of how to make beer in the brewery and how to use all of our equipment. Performed in front of a crowd as scheduled (once a week?)

2. A Helping hand: Brew your own with an experienced brewer where you are hands on and the brewer instructs and supervises your methods and answers questions you may have. To keep costs down a brewer may schedule multiple customer brewing sessions together to help several customers at the same time.

3. No help brewing: Customer comes in on their own schedule to brew their own beer or wine with minimal instruction from employees.

The brewery will have samples of ingredient kits available to try before customers purchase the kits. Samples may be limited to the base type of beer (lager, ale, wheat, stout, etc.) and specialty kits (bourbon oaked ale) will be described with a close tasting sample if possible and a verbal description to complete.

The brewery may be partnered with the local wine/beer cellar to allow customers to package and sell their brew under the brewery’s name with the customer’s name printed on the packaging.

Storage space will be available for rent. Temperature and humidity conditions will be perfect for your style of beer. Rent a whole fridge to have full control over your environment or a temperature controlled unit for higher temperatures.

Finished brew can be bottled or put in a keg. Customers are welcome to bring their own keg and bottles or rent from us.

If you have anything to input I would greatly appreciate it, I would be interested in what you think a good price would be. Off hand I'm thinking 50 bucks for ingredients plus a markup plus a fee for using equipment, this equates to a hell of a expensive 2 cases of beer/wine but potentially could be a very awesome idea.

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Old 03-14-2012, 01:37 AM   #2
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I think you would get people to come in one or two times but that would be it. Honestly, being able to make my own beer in the comfort of my home/garage is the best part of this hobby for me.

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Old 03-14-2012, 02:17 AM   #3
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Whats the laws on amount of gallons brewed in a business establishment? Sounds like it would be a lot of fun! Make sure you do the research.

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Old 03-14-2012, 02:31 AM   #4
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There was a do-it-yourself homebrew shop here in Northern VA for a while called "Shenandoah Brewery". I'm not sure if they're still around but last year they were shut down, or at least closed for a while due to some sort of company sale.

I don't know the specifics about their financials.. but I can tell you a few things about them since I did patronize the place a few times.

They were a combination brew-pub, brew-on-premise. You could get beer, make beer, buy supplies.(very limited)

They used small Brew-magic type setups for brew-on-premise but I remember them having bigger setups for their commercial brews. I didn't know enough at the time to judge their capacity.

You had to pick an established recipe. If I remember they had upwards of 50-60 recipes to choose from.

You had to schedule kettle time, bottling, time etc. in advance

You could NOT bring your own ingredients, nor could you adjust the recipe short of altering the process (temps, times, etc).


All in all it seemed like an Excellent place! Though once you get into brewing you end up getting all your own gear and a place like that becomes extinct.

FWIW there have also been two make-your-own-wine shops that have popped up in NOVA. The one I've been to is called Carafe and is in downtown Alexandria VA.

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Old 03-14-2012, 02:46 AM   #5
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I do understand that customers would eventually dissapear, which is why there are basically 3 business models in one, brew-your-own, buy a pint, and ingredient store. So from what I've thought about I would guess I would see customers come in and brew their own about 2 - 3 times before making a sure decision to buy their own equipment. But I figure if I can get them convinced to make the initial kit investment they would purchase some of it from me and worse case buy some ingredients in the future. Also internet sales would be incorporated as much as possible so there are a lot of revenue streams involved to where if one fizzles out it should make or break the company.

Darwin, I totally agree with you. I would be heavily targeting new brewers who are iffy to entering the hobby, or simply don't have the space to do it at home. I'm guessing I would get people to come in 2 - 3 batches before converting them to buying their own gear. But even then I know when I entered the hobby my first purchase didn't include kegs, co2 tanks a chiller or anything awesome like that and I'm currently holding back from all grain brewing because it introduces more complications to the process and also a large start up cost to do it at the level I want to do it at. So it would be nice if I could spend 70 - 90 bucks to get to use a amazing brew setup and help make my decision. Otherwise I could purchase an awesome system and find out I really suck at it!

Scott, I am going to look for some places like that I wasn't expecting them to exist haha. Great info though. I can see why they couldn't bring their own ingredients, I'm sure I would employ the same rule since that will be most of the profit in the brewing service. Scheduling I have thought of, wouldn't want to walk into the store with no equipment to use! Course with the area I'm thinking about targeting the rules will be very flexible since it is a very close community.

mjmac, I am not sure, I'm guessing if I had a brew pub licence it would be similar to a brewery as long as I take responsibility of those customers who are brewing. Course there would be some sort of legal agreement for customers to sign I'm sure. Laws are not something I have looked into as of yet.

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Old 03-14-2012, 02:50 AM   #6
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nice.. the place still has a website, even if they may be closed (not sure about that part)

http://www.shenandoahbrewing.com/

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Old 03-14-2012, 02:55 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JDuclos View Post
mjmac, I am not sure, I'm guessing if I had a brew pub licence it would be similar to a brewery as long as I take responsibility of those customers who are brewing. Course there would be some sort of legal agreement for customers to sign I'm sure. Laws are not something I have looked into as of yet.
I was thinking about a similar idea the other day (just musing, not thinking about going into business with it) and I got pretty worried thinking about the legal aspects. I decided I'd want to nail this down very early before getting too caught up in the idea.
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Old 03-14-2012, 03:02 AM   #8
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One of the local brew shops here in Denver seems to have the same setup. It is called "hop to it". I got all of my my equipment there and usually get my ingredients there. However, they offer courses and you can brew and ferment on site as well.
Denver is brewing hotbed, but their location is terrible and they seem to be doing well; its always busy when I go in. I would think that you would have some loyal customers if they learned to brew in your shop. Also you would probably get a lot of people in who wouldn't have otherwise considered brewing.

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Old 03-14-2012, 03:49 AM   #9
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This is not a new idea. Just google "brew on premises". Here are a couple of many links on the subject. Personally I like to brew at home whenever the mood hits. For some though, I guess it's a social thing to do on a night out. Good luck with this if you go into it. Takes courage and money to startyour own business. I salute you.

http://www.beertravelers.com/lists/bop.html

http://www.expocentral.com/directory/Recreation/Food/Drink/Beer/Homebrewing/Brew_on_Premises/

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Old 03-14-2012, 04:52 PM   #10
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There are a couple I know about in the Puget Sound area. The one in Edmonds has a nice website with some good videos of the place and a price sheet. I stopped in and checked it out on a Saturday and the place was packed. I like and thing you have a good idea.

http://www.whereubrew.com

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