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Old 01-25-2011, 03:24 AM   #1
rexbanner
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Hey guys, I am taking a small business management class as an elective this last semester in college. We have to write a business plan and one thing that I thought of is this: super high-end bartending.

In the state of Virginia you can dispense beer, wine, and even liquor at things like weddings with proper temporary permits. I talked to a nice ABC person on the phone and it seems like it's a way to sell homebrew via catering, sort of. It seemed a little too good to be true, and in one way it is, since the permits are pretty expensive, but it's also not a huge hassle to get one. I'd obviously need to do some more research, but from what the ABC person said, it seemed like a possibility.

Anyways, my point is this: for some people, money isn't really that much of a concern. I live in the richest county in the United States, right next to the second-richest county in the United States. What if you made a business that did alcohol catering, as well as other catering possibly, for very rich individuals or companies who are willing to pay a lot for the best?

You'd obviously need a few things.

1. Brew terrific beer, and maybe wine too. I've never made wine, don't know much about it. But we all know that homebrewers can make better stuff than commercial brewers can.

2. Having some awards under your belt would be good to draw in customers.

3. If you're providing liquor, skilled bartenders would be necessary.

4. High-end dispensing equipment. You'd want to build a fairly impressive rolling keezer that could be integrated into a bar you could set up.


Anyways, not saying this is something I'll ever do, and I don't even know if it's possible, but what do you guys think? Any insight, glaring problems, etc?


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Old 01-25-2011, 02:00 PM   #2
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Sure you can dispense beer at a wedding. But making a Business out of it is the illegal part. You cannot SELL homebrew in ANY way, shape or form.

Some states allow you to give it away as gifts, or for special events give it away. Some states don't. Some states don't allow you to take it off your property.

I'd be digging for more details if I were you.


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Old 01-25-2011, 02:03 PM   #3
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You're not selling the beer. You're selling your time to dispense the beer and wine that you donate to the occasion.
But talking about really rich people, are they really going to want home made beer and wine at their fancy wedding? Maybe if they're friends of yours and have tried it and it's good, but most people hear homebrewed, and think Grandpappies hooch.
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Old 01-25-2011, 02:10 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by IrregularPulse View Post
You're not selling the beer. You're selling your time to dispense the beer and wine that you donate to the occasion.
But talking about really rich people, are they really going to want home made beer and wine at their fancy wedding? Maybe if they're friends of yours and have tried it and it's good, but most people hear homebrewed, and think Grandpappies hooch.
You can shape it any way you want, but in the end it comes down to what the FEDS see, and I think they are going to see you are selling homebrew.

And I think rich people *could* want to provide homebrew at a wedding or event. Or they may scoff. I think the awards could help a lot. And of course they would kind of have to be in the craft beer scene.
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Old 01-25-2011, 02:24 PM   #5
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JMU?

For COB 300 we got like 80% through our business plan and realized that we would probably not break even by 5 years. I think the costs associated with this idea are too high. Also, to be successful you'd need to be producing A lot of beer, most likely beyond the homebrew scale. I am getting married in september and a lot of establishments to host receptions and parties require that you do liquor and beverages from them. Id do some research before choosing that as your final choice.

Keep brainstorming. The best ideas are ones that are fairly simple, don't have much costs and provide a convenience for people in their fast-paced lives. The best business plan a few years ago was a dry cleaning services that picked items up from peoples homes and works
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Old 01-25-2011, 03:21 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rexbanner View Post
1. Brew terrific beer, and maybe wine too. I've never made wine, don't know much about it. But we all know that homebrewers can make better stuff than commercial brewers can.
I know a lot of craft beers that are way better than mine...and consistently so. And even if you did brew really good stuff, how would you convince the potential customers? Oh yeah you...
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2. Having some awards under your belt would be good to draw in customers.
How many years are you going to spend getting these awards before you start the business?
Quote:
3. If you're providing liquor, skilled bartenders would be necessary.
If this is really high end for rich people, these better be incredible bartenders. (See Tom Cruise in Cocktail or Coyote Ugly) Most of the time, the bartenders are included with the catering, so it would have to be really incredible to get people to set up another contract with a different firm to get a service that's normally just a line item.
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4. High-end dispensing equipment. You'd want to build a fairly impressive rolling keezer that could be integrated into a bar you could set up.
OK, this can be done.

If you are looking for other ideas:

- Small scale production of hops and/or barley for craft brewers. Its being done all over, but most people haven't sat down to work out the entire business plan.

- A farmhouse brewery with nearly all the ingredients grown on site for the beer. You'll be amazed how much land is needed for the barley.

- Developing a line of beer targeted at a very specific demographic. Look up Ravinder Minhas. This is essentially what he did and it gave him the capital to purchase the Huber (Berghoff) brewery.
http://host.madison.com/news/article...bf5c3718a.html

- A "theme" bar. Yeah, this has been done to death, but make the theme around a particular style of beer...the IPA bar. There are a number of Belgian bars and Irish bars, but that's where it seems to end.

Good luck.
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Old 01-25-2011, 05:25 PM   #7
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These are all good points. This business would have to be part of a complete catering operation because, like you said, why hire two catering companies? And bartenders like in Cocktail? Definitely. Also, that article on Ravinder Minhas was very interesting. The guy is a baller, started a liquor business that was worth $55 million and now owns a brewery at age 24.

Ultimately, though, you're right, this is too complex. A brew-pub would be better, especially in my area. There's a new restaurant that opened called the Wine Kitchen which specializes in wine and food pairings. They snagged a very good chef from NYC and they use as many locally-grown or produced ingredients as possible. The place is absolutely packed every night and the food is really amazing.
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Old 01-25-2011, 10:41 PM   #8
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I agree with others here, that serving homebrew is not really a viability as a business. But the rest of the concept may be doable.

We have a German friend who is a whisky consultant. He travels all over the world holding whisky seminars and tastings. He seems to make pretty good money at it, and loves what he does.

I'm planning a brewday with some friends who aren't brewers and really don't know much about beer. My plan is to spend some of the time (when not focused on brewing) to sample some different beers and teach them a little about different beer styles. We'll end the day dining on some smoked brisket, that will have been slow cooking on my UDS all day.

Now, if one could take this idea to the customer, there might be some money to be had. Especially if the real goal was to sell equipment and supplies. So, conceptually, you have people host brew parties (like tupperware parties), where you teach them about brewing and beer. Then you have a catalogue of simple brewing kits (I really like the idea of the 1 gallon kits from brooklynbrewshop.com) that they can buy. You'd also need an online shop where they could order more supplies (maybe give discount coupons at the party...).

Just a thought...

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Old 01-25-2011, 10:54 PM   #9
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So, are these permits just to allow you to serve alcohol, not to manufacture alcohol for sale? If so, how would this be different from a bar getting a liquor license? Bars can serve beer, wine, and liquor, but they still can't sell homebrew.
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Old 01-26-2011, 04:05 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by the_bird View Post
Bars can serve beer, wine, and liquor, but they still can't sell homebrew.
Bars can sell beer, wine, and liquor.


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