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Old 04-20-2011, 03:02 PM   #1
madbird1977
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Default What it takes to go PRO! ? !

Okay, I'm a novice homebrewer but kinda already have the bug that I want to do this someday as a profession. Maybe start as a nano brewer, then if it works out a brewpub...

So for those that do work in the brewing industry what is the best path to take?

Education: Siebel? Other programs?
Get a job working at a brewpub, cleaning and asking questions?

For a nano brewery; is it easier to get started or is it the same as a full fledge brewery?

I know this is very general and I've got a few brews in me but just interested in hearing what others have done. I've got a ton of research to do, I know but this forum is a great starting point to get me going in the right direction...I hope!

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Old 04-20-2011, 03:46 PM   #2
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technically, all you need is a liquor license to produce for sale. Laws vary by state - in NY it is simply a matter of paying a fee and waiting 6 months for the piece of paper in the mail... I think. All your state wants is their share of the tax you will owe them on sales. Then you need someone to buy your beer... someone who doesn't care if their commercial beer distributor gets miffed that a tap is being taken up by something they aren't selling. So, basically you need to open your own bar too.

BEFORE all of that, though, you will need to produce great beer consistently.

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Old 04-20-2011, 03:56 PM   #3
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Find out the local laws........if there is no restriction on self-distribution all you need is a microbrew license and someone willing to put your beer on tap/on shelves.

http://blindbatbrewery.com/

This guy, in NY, brews in his garage on a 3bbl system. Keeps his day job, and is on tap and in stores locally. Unfortunately MI isn't that easy, thats why we havent gotten there yet. Anyone know of investors?? haha

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Old 04-20-2011, 04:14 PM   #4
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Talk to local restaurants and places that sell bottled brews and get a feel for their interest. If you don't have an outlet then it's going to be tough to get started. I think starting small and growing as sales grow is the way to go but it depends on the interest people have in your brews.
Like others have said, look into the local laws pertaining to a microbrewery and go from there.

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Old 04-20-2011, 06:21 PM   #5
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Money is the main reason most people don't "go pro." As far as Siebel goes, it is very expensive and the one guy I met that went there told me you're probably better off with real life experience working for a micro brewery like an intern. Starting a nano brewery is popular now as its cheaper equipment wise and may help get you a loan for a 7-10bbl system if you're already established and invested yourself. With the popularity of craft/micro brew, you can't get used equipment cheap like you could 10 yrs ago.

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Old 04-20-2011, 06:49 PM   #6
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You don't "need" Seibel if you are a good brewer and want to open your own. If you want to work for a large brewery, then Siebel can help. Or if you really want to know more about brewing.

The biggest thing is to be able to afford to get a license and run a business. It takes more than good brewing to have a successful brewery. It takes patience, a lot of money, and the willingness to work a LOT of hours.

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Old 04-20-2011, 07:03 PM   #7
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Even though I am new to brewing I have thought about what it would take to do a brewpub or brewery and the number one thing (besides money) is consistency. You will need to prove that you can make the same beer over and over and over, having it with little to no difference between each batch. The main issue I can see with this is the suppliers that you would need to buy from. You would need to make sure that the malts used are the same each time. If you order 2-row from one vendor on the first batch and then from another on the second, you could potentially end up with different tastes.

This is just an example and probably not the best, but you should get the idea. Even if you keep your procedure 99.9% exact every time, your beer can turn out different if the base products used to make it are different.

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Old 04-20-2011, 07:28 PM   #8
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You'd be surprised how often smaller micro brewers will change or tweak a recipe. I only say this because my brother works for one and they are often modifying recipes, even the ones they bottle. Any "mistake" batch can be renamed or add a fruit flavor to it and be a "limited" brew. Now I can't say this is true for wider distributed beers. They only run a 10bbl system right now.

Although you're still right. You need at least 2-4 consistent well made beers to start. You don't want any deviation from your flagship brews.

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Old 04-20-2011, 09:01 PM   #9
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Thanks for the input so far. I may morph my idea a bit. In reality this will take me 3-5 years anyways so I have time to work on the brewery part of it. So I think I'd rather start a craft brew bar in my area.

That way I can learn more about regional beers (I'd like to keep it mainly to WI brews - stay local folks and support them primarily) and what sells well. then if I ever can afford to move to the brewery phase try that out. This way, its baby steps and I may be better off financially not investing in all the brewing equipment at least.

Its fun to dream is it? Better to live it tho.

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Old 04-20-2011, 09:17 PM   #10
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I would say start writing a business plan. Once you start looking at numbers to operate a brewpub it's a little scary how much investment capital you need to get something off the ground. I have managed kitchens for years (I have business and culinary degrees) and really understand the culinary side of the brewpub. If you can't dedicate 80-90 a week on the food side of it the labor to operate will eat you alive. I'm not saying it can't be done....but it is a sh1tload of work and a risky business. I crunched numbers for weeks while writing my business plan and I estimated to open an 80 seat brewpub with a small menu and a 4 barrel system it would take approx 550,000 to get everything off the ground properly. Scary numbers....I think your idea of the craft brew bar is the way to go. You add food to the idea and it's a whole other ball of wax.....good luck to you....I know we have all had this idea at one time or another.

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