Home Brew Forums > Wine, Mead, Cider, Sake & Soda > Soda Making > Small scale soda business?
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Old 10-17-2012, 12:32 AM   #1
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As a homebrewer, Ive always been interested in opening a nano, but the legality is long and tedious.

Recently I've been approached to do a small run of root beer (<1000 bottles with room for expansion) where the majority of proceeds would be donated towards a charitable cause. I have the platform to sell it. The thing that cuts into my profit margins is 50 cent bottles. That's expensive!

Anyone have experience with soda making becoming your job? I'm seeming more and more craft root beers. Wondering about the process/legality? Thanks. It'd basically be some charity work.

The other issue is this would be marketed towards high schoolers and there's no way I'm bottle conditioning (even the tiny amount of alcohol could cause problems) and I don't have a kegging set up (yet). Ideas? I wanna help these people out but not sure if it's feasible.!

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Old 10-18-2012, 08:12 PM   #2
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Legality is going to depend on your state regulations. I've looked into this and here in PA, you need to have insurance, you need to get your kitchen (or brew house as the case may be) inspected and approved by the health department, you need a food handler's permit, and I believe you need a business license.

Ask around to people that sell at farmers' markets and they can probably send you in the right direction for regulations for your state and municipality. There are usually provisions somewhere for selling homemade goods.

As far as procedure, the only way you'll be able to do it with yeast is if you pasteurize, which if you're selling stuff you'll want to keep records of your verification that you attain the proper temperature (dishwasher thermometer in test bottles is the best way that I can think of). You'll need some way to prove that it has <0.5%ABV(maybe OG and FG values for a certain number of bottles).

You'll need less documentation with force carbonating, but you will also need a kegging setup and a way to fill bottles without losing much CO2. (Fill from cold keg, or fill cold carbonated water on top of syrup).
Find Recipes on my blog: The Homemade Soda Expert I'd love some feedback!
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Old 10-26-2012, 05:16 PM   #3
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If you have any local microbreweries perhaps they would be willing to partner with you. Plus, they may be able/willing to order 20ounce brown PET bottles for you. Of course, you could consider selling it by the gallon, for those who remember getting RB that way from Dogs nSuds or A&W.

I hope it all works out.
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