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Old 02-27-2012, 04:05 PM   #1
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Default Brewing special release beers for a friends restaurant?

I have a friend, who’s father owns an established restaurant and bar. His beer consists of mostly macro-commercial beers but he has started to move towards the craft beer market (Sierra Nevada, Sam and Leiny Seasonals, Great Lakes, etc), mostly due to his customers demand. He has tried my homebrew and has expressed interest in wanting to possibly allowing me to brew on site in order to serve my beer. This would probably need to start out as a special release type deal because I only have the capabilities to brew at a max 15 gallons at a time.

Discussions have only gone as far as “lets see what we need to do to get it done” and his daughter (has worked as a manager there for many years) has said that her dad thinks he has almost all the licensure he needs. I have my reservations and think that he needs additional brewing license at the very least. I would think that his alcohol license would be very specific and he wouldn’t be paying for something that he never uses, is that correct?

Keep in mind we have not even sat down officially to talk about the ins and outs of this. I want to be as prepared as possible before I talk to him so that I prove to him that I am well-informed and would take this seriously if the opportunity is there. (I also want to wait for my latest version of my IPA-like pale ale to be ready, as I think this would be our most prominent offering if this goes through! I’ll be bringing a variety of my beers as samples as well.)

Does anyone have any experience or links to other threads where this situation has arisen? My past research and gut instinct has told me that this is not going to be a simple endeavor, and there will need to be significant capital to get something like this to happen.

Any help is appreciated!


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Old 02-27-2012, 04:12 PM   #2
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They need to make sure they have every I dotted and T crossed before you ever start anything, or they could end up losing their regular liquor license if they ever got inspected. There was a bar a couple years ago that got their license suspended for awhile for having what amounted to un taxed beer on their tap. If I recall they had sponsored a homebrew comp, and the prize was the winner's beer being served for a month. And their normal distributor ratted on them, or it came up in a regular inspection. But they got in trouble for awhile.

They need to make sure all the licenses are in order and all the taxes paid for whatever alcohol get served in their establishment, whether it's produced by you under their auspices or from their regular distributors.

For their own good, if they want to do this, tell them how important it is they make sure it's all done right.


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Old 02-27-2012, 04:29 PM   #3
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I'm pretty sure either

a. You need to have a distribution license or;
b. They need to have a brewing license in the restaurant, in which case you brew the beer there and serve it only there.
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Old 02-27-2012, 05:06 PM   #4
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Thanks for the responses, these are exactly the type of things I need to know. Like I said, I am in the pre-brainstorming stage of this idea.

One of my concerns was that it seemed like the whole idea of serving my beer will take a lot of i-dotting and t-crossing to just be discussing this willy-nilly, like its 'no big deal'. The way I see it having to go is that he gets a brewing license and I am an employee of his. While I've read a few business books, I am not really willing to take on ownership of all the risks that would involved with becoming a brewery at this point in my career, but I could definitely see myself dedicating part time at nights and weekends to brew/make things work at the restaurant.

This brings on another question of how is equipment and operations going to be managed. If I bring my keggle setup in, what kind of health and safety precautions am I going to run into?

The ideal situation is that this starts off small with the ability to be fluid enough that things can be ramped up if necessary and its what we want to do. Whether or not it makes sense financially for him to take the steps to becoming a brewery I am unsure (and hesitant) of.
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Old 02-27-2012, 05:43 PM   #5
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You would have to talk to the city about what would have to be done in terms of ventilation, and I'm sure you would need a "building permit" to change existing premises.
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Old 02-27-2012, 05:46 PM   #6
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I can't speak to specifics, but the people I know brewing up in PA have a MUCH easier time getting a brewpub license than anywhere else that I've heard of. One friend mentioned that the total cost was around $2k for a restaurant that was already operating.
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Old 02-27-2012, 05:52 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ChickenArise View Post
I can't speak to specifics, but the people I know brewing up in PA have a MUCH easier time getting a brewpub license than anywhere else that I've heard of. One friend mentioned that the total cost was around $2k for a restaurant that was already operating.
Wow this may be promising news. Anyone else have any PA experience or know of someone who has done something like this?
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Old 02-27-2012, 05:56 PM   #8
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If your friend his serious, you should just contact his lawyers. They will be able to work everything out for you, the correct way. Good luck!
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Old 02-27-2012, 06:12 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Airborneguy View Post
If your friend his serious, you should just contact his lawyers. They will be able to work everything out for you, the correct way. Good luck!
One of my first questions I have written down that I will ask him at our meeting: What kind of legal advice/information have you received on this endeavor.

Thanks for the thoughts!
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Old 02-28-2012, 12:41 AM   #10
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+1 million on the lawyers. If a couple hundred for a consult or even a couple thousand for some paperwork saves you tens if not hundreds of thousands in legal fees down the line, to say nothing of getting the restaurant shut down, it was money well spent.


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