From what I understand there are two basic brewery models. One is a production brewery and the other is a brewpub. What I would think would make sense is the latter. I haven't crunched numbers yet. I am just starting work on a business plan for a nano brewpub that may or may not ever actually open. Once I get a more concrete idea of what is viable or not I will decide. Of course just like all the other brewing "tire kickers" out there what appeals to me is the relatively small start-up cost of a nano brewpub. Just real simple calculations using the Worth Brewing Company as a model he says he produces 67 barrels per year. If all that were sold at his pub in pints at $4/pint that is $66,464 in beer sales. This is on a ten gallon Sabco. Even a one barrel brew house would triple the production so now we're talking about $198,000 in sales at $4/pint. He is open three nights a week but brews between 200-250 batches of beer per year, so that is a lot of brewing for one guy with a "real job" on the side. Not saying he has a real job on the side, but a lot of folks tend to remark that you can only do a nano if you actually have a real job on the side. I know there are expenses of course that need to be figured in so it's not all profit.
I could be see how a one man brewpub operation on a three-barrel system could be profitable or at least viable. We're talking close to $600,000 in beer sales at $4/pint. Not saying it wouldn't be hard work and that there are not a lot of other numbers to crunch, etc., but I could see my town really eating this up (drinking it up) if a nano brewpub were to open up especially in the right location.
For a more positive spin on nano viability check out http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f14/micr...ystems-350723/