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Old 10-04-2012, 12:30 PM   #1031
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The local grocery store is going to carry my Porter in 22 oz. bombers which means the Liquor store probably will do the same since it's the same owner.
Time to start brewing on the 1 bbl system.
awesome news Hoss!
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Old 10-04-2012, 02:12 PM   #1032
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awesome news Hoss!
Thanks. Sales are going well, they already sold 1 case worth of bombers and are waiting to see how this weekend goes but they're happy with the product.
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Old 10-05-2012, 06:02 PM   #1033
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All 1032 posts over 2 days. I am EXHAUSTED! Great feel-good story.

Can I ask you a couple of specific questions? If you aren't comfortable answering, I understand.

1) What volume are you consistently selling on a monthly basis?

B) After your loan payment, materials cost etc. What are you profiting (ballpark) per month? Does this include any kind of wages for you?

-) I've looked at bottling but by the time you pay for the bottles, labels, product and labor it seems really prohibitive. Clearly you have found a way to make that model work for you, right?

*) What are you doing to reduce or eliminate the sediment at the bottom of your bottles? (I assume you are bottle conditioning.) Do you filter before bottling or is the sediment at the bottom a "feature" instead of a "bug".

I would love to start a small nano and build it as you have, but my business plan numbers indicate that the best way to 'pay for the business' is with a small taproom. However this adds a good deal of overhead in terms of rent (as you discovered) and employees to man it. Perhaps I should take a page (or 104 pages) from you and back off on the taproom idea and focus more on small scale bottle and keg distributing.

Thanks for giving us all a happy story. They are much more pleasant than the sea of "You're DOOOOOMED." things we generally see and hear whenever we start seriously thinking about tackling this business.

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Old 10-05-2012, 06:48 PM   #1034
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All 1032 posts over 2 days. I am EXHAUSTED! Great feel-good story.

Can I ask you a couple of specific questions? If you aren't comfortable answering, I understand.

1) What volume are you consistently selling on a monthly basis?

B) After your loan payment, materials cost etc. What are you profiting (ballpark) per month? Does this include any kind of wages for you?

-) I've looked at bottling but by the time you pay for the bottles, labels, product and labor it seems really prohibitive. Clearly you have found a way to make that model work for you, right?

*) What are you doing to reduce or eliminate the sediment at the bottom of your bottles? (I assume you are bottle conditioning.) Do you filter before bottling or is the sediment at the bottom a "feature" instead of a "bug".

I would love to start a small nano and build it as you have, but my business plan numbers indicate that the best way to 'pay for the business' is with a small taproom. However this adds a good deal of overhead in terms of rent (as you discovered) and employees to man it. Perhaps I should take a page (or 104 pages) from you and back off on the taproom idea and focus more on small scale bottle and keg distributing.

Thanks for giving us all a happy story. They are much more pleasant than the sea of "You're DOOOOOMED." things we generally see and hear whenever we start seriously thinking about tackling this business.
Thank you for sticking it out and reading the whole story.
I do not have a consistent monthly volume yet as I'm trying to add more accounts as time allows. The restaurant is going through about a case a week and time will tell on the grocery store.
Profit? Hmmmm, I've heard that term before but I'll have to look up its definition. Right now I'm selling to get my name out there more than I am to gain a profit. I'm hoping as word spreads I'll be able to sell enough to actually turn a profit. It started out well, then it seems as soon as I took out the loan and expanded the brewery the tourist industry died. Murphys' law in action.
It's about $.32/bottle and $.10/label. Labor is not that much, unless like me your bottles get their tarp blown off during a storm and they get real dirty because of it. The majority of sites that are willing to carry my beer want bottles. Plus, I think keg washing and line maintenance would be more labor intensive than bottling. Bottling, you fill then sell and forget about it.
I keg condition then bottle from the keg so no sediment to deal with. I also don't filter. If I did bottle condition, it would be a feature and not a negative.
I had an opportunity to get into a tasting room with my brother which allowed me to get some exposure to the locals, even though I don't feel as if I had much local support, but now the overhead is out weighing the benefit. I think if you have the money and can advertise a lot and throw the occasional festival or street fair that really seems to help. I don't have the deep pockets for that kind or business strategy nor can I afford employees. My son is taking an interest in the business so that helps. Perhaps in the future I may collaborate with another brewery and get some more exposure with them.
My brewery is kinda off the beaten path but if someone wants to make the drive out here I'll be more than happy to do tastings and sell some bottles. It would just have to be by appointment.

There are various ways to approach having a business like this and my hope is that people can look at my example and either follow it or realize they want to go a different direction. Kind of like parenting, your kids can either look at you as an example to follow or an example of what NOT to do.
Good luck to you!
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Old 10-11-2012, 05:33 AM   #1035
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I have tried to get the ABC to answer that question but they haven't returned my calls. I did find an interview with Hess Brewing regarding tasting rooms and this was his reply: "
I don't know if I'm going to get in trouble saying this, but is a tasting room like a bar?

HESS: It is similar to a bar, but there are a few caveats. We don't have any chairs. So you can't sit down. Can't have any table cams. So out goes the pool and the darts. But other than that, it's similar."

Now, he doesn't say it's against the ABC regulations but it sounds similar to what I've heard from the ABC. One person said it was a county regulation and that it's possible I can have tables and chairs. I need to pin the ABC down with a definitive answer to this. It's almost like it's a gray area that the ABC doesn't want to have to police and they just let it go until someone complains or something.
I'm working on a Nano down in San Diego. I know a lot if people down here. Including Mike Hess and some other owners. There are no laws saying that you cannot have chairs or tables. However it can be a condition of you type 23 if local or state agencies make it so. Each license is different and specific. Almost all of the tasting rooms in town have tables and almost all the new ones have chairs. There are about 20 tasting rooms in town now.

Now that local police and agencies know about how tasting rooms work it is less of a concern. I know hours of operation was a factor at one point too but that seems to be changing also.

Contacting ABC for this is not a bad idea. But you will get different answers from different people and enforcement.

We are going to have tables but no chairs for business reasons. Unless it becomes a condition of our license. We are not asking if we can. Since there is precedent already for tables and chairs in San Diego and with Cali ABC.
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Old 10-11-2012, 12:14 PM   #1036
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If you are trying to figure numbers you can shoot me an e mail and I can forward a spreadsheet I made up some years ago. It looks like a mess but it is easy to use. Numbers in red are formulas. Just plug in whatever numbers you want and it will tell you if you will make money or not, including bottling, rent, employees, cost of equipment and so forth. I am off to the GABF today so I may not be able to respond as quickly as I would like for the next few days. I will be driving a firkin over about 4 mountain passes and hope that it doesn't pop on me as it will be sitting in the passenger seat. I am doing a seminar Saturday night there. Sorry to get sidetracked. I will also see if there is a way I can just post the spreadsheet on this forum.
Cheers, Tom - tomhen@mac.com
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Old 10-17-2012, 08:38 PM   #1037
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If you are trying to figure numbers you can shoot me an e mail and I can forward a spreadsheet I made up some years ago. It looks like a mess but it is easy to use. Numbers in red are formulas. Just plug in whatever numbers you want and it will tell you if you will make money or not, including bottling, rent, employees, cost of equipment and so forth. I am off to the GABF today so I may not be able to respond as quickly as I would like for the next few days. I will be driving a firkin over about 4 mountain passes and hope that it doesn't pop on me as it will be sitting in the passenger seat. I am doing a seminar Saturday night there. Sorry to get sidetracked. I will also see if there is a way I can just post the spreadsheet on this forum.
Cheers, Tom - tomhen@mac.com
Colorado Boy Brewery
Thank you. Spreadsheets are always a good thing to have around. Good luck with the seminar.
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Old 10-22-2012, 12:51 AM   #1038
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I read this in one sitting all 104 pages. WOW! Best of luck to you! A great story!

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Old 11-13-2012, 10:57 PM   #1039
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What better way to kill the afternoon off at work than to read a 104-page thread. Thanks so much Hoss for keeping this updated and providing wisdom for us HB'ers and followers.
I'm just getting started in the process of moving my HB towards a professional operation. What I say started, I really mean started. I've been in touch with our city's economic development commission to simply test the waters of interested. I got a reply requesting a meeting within minutes of sending the email.
I've started reviewing the confusing TX laws here regarding Brewery vs Brewpub and have yet to decide which direction to go. I'll be creating a business plan over the next couple of weeks and have lots of support (both emotionally and financial) from friends.

This thread is such an inspiration. Again - thanks

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Old 11-17-2012, 11:34 PM   #1040
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I am in the pre-pre-pre-pre-planning stages of doing this as well. Got two places I know I could sell the product. But this is a lot of good info on what I need to really look at.

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