Originally Posted by MuddyCreek
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!