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Old 02-24-2009, 11:11 PM   #1
bassguitarfishing
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Feb 2009
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I've been brewing now for almost ten years. I've gained countless friends and students during this time. I have always played with the idea of selling my beer locally, but lately it has been everyone who tastes my beer that plays with the idea, and I'm getting sick of hearing it. Many of these people are business professionals who want to be involved. I have everyone from current resturant owners to CPAs.

I don't plan on making tons of money or turing it into a big business. All I want is to get my beer into some local pubs that have been asking for it, legally. Recently, I have spent countless hours going through all the government forms and regulations, getting lost. Does anyone know of a good and organized place I can find this information for California, USA; website or book, or whatever. I just want to draw up a good business plan and understand the process before I approach the people I want to partner with.

Please don't give me the "don't do it" advice. I've read through all of that already. And again, I don't plan on becoming the next Sam Adams, I just want my beer available outside my home. Any experianced and constructive advice is also appriciated.

Thanks,
n8

 
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Old 02-24-2009, 11:18 PM   #2
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There pretty much is no legal way to sell homebrew straight from the home. That being said, it is possible in some areas to open up a nano-brewery in some locations, making small batches and selling it to a few pubs, etc... You also might find a small microbrewerey that would be open to you using their equipment to brew your beer. As far as the specifics, I can't help much. It's going to involve quite a bit of time, money, and research which you have already looked into.
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Old 02-24-2009, 11:25 PM   #3
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I don't remember the titles but I have read threads on this site that list specifically the hurdles that need to be cleared for licensing in California.

It read like a How To on how to sell beer legally in CA.

The issue that real brewers have I think is thinking too small. It is very difficult to stay viable at less than, say, 1000 barrels / year. So if you are prepared to do 20 bbls per week I say go for it.
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Old 02-24-2009, 11:32 PM   #4
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It would be cool if you could convince a couple pubs to carry a very, very limited edition beer every now and again.
  • Bill it as a "Small Batch Craft Brew" of the week.
  • First come first serve.
  • Just one or two dedicated taps.
  • Two cornies per beer..when it runs out...it runs out.
  • You pop in on Sunday morning with this weeks' selections.

 
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Old 02-24-2009, 11:33 PM   #5
dmob29
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Oct 2008
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I looked into it a little, but you need a couple of licenses... a business license for tax purposes, a beer and wine license and probably there is another somewhere. Here is a link to the California website for Alcohol Beverage Control. California ABC - Homepage
I also remember seeing something on the ATF's site, but sorry I cant direct you better. ATF Online - Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives

Hope this helps

 
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Old 02-24-2009, 11:33 PM   #6
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Also, when you get up and running, let us know where you're beer is so we can go support. Where abouts in CA are you?
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Old 02-24-2009, 11:35 PM   #7
dmob29
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BierMuncher View Post
It would be cool if you could convince a couple pubs to carry a very, very limited edition beer every now and again.
  • Bill it as a "Small Batch Craft Brew" of the week.
  • First come first serve.
  • Just one or two dedicated taps.
  • Two cornies per beer..when it runs out...it runs out.
  • You pop in on Sunday morning with this weeks' selections.
I had that same thought, so I asked a local place and the owner told me that if an inspector came in and he doesn't have proper "documentation from a licensed distributor" they could shut him down. This may not be true, but sounded like he didn't even want to take a chance.

Don't get me wrong, I would love to see some homebrew in a bar, but there are health codes and crap here in Cali that places freak out about. How does the bar keep know you are not trying to poison people with your brew?


 
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Old 02-24-2009, 11:41 PM   #8
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Check this guy out...local home brewer for years. Won some awards and started limited bottling in 22oz. and kegs. Pretty good distribution in the last couple years at Safeway, Raley's, and several liquor stores and gas stations. Really nice guy also, and if you call or email I bet he'd be willing to chat with you about the process of going from homebrew -> nano brew.

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Old 02-24-2009, 11:44 PM   #9
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There is a brewpub in my area that has an event called the "Rat Pad". They have a 10 gal homebrew setup and will let homebrewers come in and brew and then sell it on tap.

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Old 02-25-2009, 12:08 AM   #10
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Flying Fish is local to me in NJ-
Ineresting series of stories about how they got into the biz.
Some of this might help.
Flying Fish • Business Lessons

 
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