From homebrewer to probrewer (Long)
I just wanted to share what it took for me to get from homebrewer to probrewer. I am not open yet, but I do have my TTB license. This is a pic of me drinking out of my favorite glass, a 1L Paulaner glass.
This is my current homebrew setup. I have collected two 7 gal buckets (one ale pail), two 5 gal glass carboys (one of which is the one I started with in 92), one 3 gal carboy, and two 1 gal jugs for whatnot.
Late in '08, I wanted to start a real brewery, but was frustrated with all the costs associated with starting something big. The philosophy (which I believe is completely incorrect) was to go big or go home. I tried the assorted methods of raising capital, but its impossible to get money for a brewery unless you are proven or have wealthy friends. I had neither of those.
Then I red Hess' article and was inspired. Some time in 2010, I started building and collecting equipment for a 1.5 bbl nano. I knew I wanted to do direct fire because that's what I was used to. I got the kettle's, hood and other assorted equipment. One year ago I built the 3 kettle single tier stand that I am using in J Wells Brewery.
I may not have rich friends, but I have talented friends! My buddies dad did the cutting and welding of the brewstand and his buddy welded the ss 1/2 in/out port on the kettle.
I read articles about burners here and decided to go with the 32 tip jet burner because of price and performance. Its $40 bucks and it takes about 1hr 15 minutes to get 55 gallons to mash temp.
I got a hazardous location motor and the 328d mill from Crankenstein. Also in this pic is the Kezer that I'm using for beer.
Buying, fabricating, "Macgyvering" and begging as much equipment as I could get together, I was no longer able to park the cars in the garage. Brew day went from the usual 10 hrs for the double batch day to 14 because of all the hauling of equipment and moving of cars. I started looking for a place in October of last year. I had 0 success until I wised up and got a realtor. I signed the lease for J Wells Brewery on April 1st.
1480 sq ft of pure awesome! Concrete floors, cinder-block walls, and even a space for a tiny taproom.
Then, came the digging...
and the sanding
and the tiling
and the plumbing
Total construction costs was 30k. Total equipment costs (so far) is probably in the neighborhood of 20k. But, this was all acquired over a period of 5 years or so. Allot of this was homebrew equipment that I already had.
Now, I built the bar with help from friends. My Dad did the pass through BTW, and me and 3 of my friends did the rest. Well, one of my pals did all of the painting. I just sanded, and nailed things together, and tiled floors with help from them.
Well, sort of. The things I learned was that it cost way way way more money than I thought. I thought I was over-estimating with 30k of cash. I should have gotten 50k up front, and I would have had enough. Most of this expense has been on rent, and the build-out. The rent is costing me an arm and a leg because I am waiting on someone (ether the state, or the feds, or the city of boulder) to give me permission to brew and or build. The build out was expensive, because who knew it costs 8k to dig a hole? and running 1.25" gas line is apparently very expensive. Ah well!
Where did this money come from? Personal savings, my paycheck (buing a little here, a little there) over 4 years, my retirement, and family. I didnt take any loans, and noone outside of my family is backing me. Well, except one guy at $68.
Thanks for looking!
marking this space for additions
Excited to see you're taking the plunge and I wish you the best of luck. Keep the updates coming. Do you have a website, twitter feed, or facebook page we can follow?
Congrats -- and best of luck to you!
Great job man. Wish you the best! Good luck!
good for you. lots of luck for having the cajones to do what we all wish we could do
Best of luck to you man. Inspiring to see the pics. Hoping to do the same thing down here in the Denver-ish area.
Great start! Have you tried kickstarter yet?
What are you going to be using as a fermentor? We are currently doing 25-30g batches and the main thing holding us back from going bigger is dropping all that coin on a big 100g fementor.
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