Going Pro: Ask me anything! - Home Brew Forums
Register Now For Free!

Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > General Beer Discussion > Going Pro: Ask me anything!

Reply
 
Thread Tools
Old 10-24-2013, 03:58 PM   #1
CharlosCarlies
Senior Member
HBT_LIFETIMESUPPORTER.png
 
CharlosCarlies's Avatar
Recipes 
 
Jan 2009
Conroe, TX
Posts: 713
Liked 9 Times on 7 Posts



Hey all,

I know there's been a few theads like this in the past, so I hope there's still some interest. I wanted to do a post like this several months ago when we were just starting up, but with how crazy things have been lately it just fell on the back burner. We're about 3-4 weeks out from starting production if nothing goes terribly wrong *knocks on wood*.

Our brief story: My brother and I started homebrewing in college about 7-8 years ago. I was an engineering major, so the technical side of brewing always really appealed to me. We were maybe brewing once a month until the beers actually started getting good, we had friends bugging us to brew more, etc. Unfortunately around this time, our jobs took us out of the country and we didn't have a chance to brew for a few years. Like many of you, we had always talked about opening a brewery, but didn't have the cash and/or know anybody willing to invest. After my parents retired, they came to us and suggested we actually do it for real this time. Naturally, we were ecstatic, quit our job and flew back to the states as soon as possible. We were fortunate enough to find another investor along the way, and here we are. I know we're in a very fortuitous situation and are incredibly thankful for having awesome family that is just crazy enough to think we can do this.

I'm realizing I could go on for hours, so I'll try and cut this short and get to answering any questions you guys have about the whole process. I am by no means an expert, but we were forced to learn a **** ton of stuff along the way. I'm always joking w/ some brewer friends that if we ever opened a second brewery, we would save a ton of money and could eliminate many, many of the headaches!

I'll try and get some pics up here in a minute but the basics of our brewhouse/equipment:

- 20 BBL 2-vessel brewhouse (DME)
- 40 BBL Hot/Cold liquor tanks
- (3) 40 BBL Unis
- (1) 40 BBL Brite

Given how helpful/supportive the entire brewing community has been, I'm really looking forward to helping anybody thinking of taking the same path. Ask me anything! There's (almost) no question I won't answer.

If any of yall are interested in following us on Facebook, we'd be very appreciative: www.facebook.com/b52brewing

 
Reply With Quote
Old 10-24-2013, 04:14 PM   #2
LovesIPA
Recipes 
 
May 2012
Sacramento, CA
Posts: 1,518
Liked 205 Times on 154 Posts


What beers will you have on tap? How often will you brew? How much time and money did it take to get this far?
__________________
Immature: A word boring people use to describe fun people

 
Reply With Quote
Old 10-24-2013, 04:21 PM   #3
chrishanson
Recipes 
 
Jun 2013
Posts: 46
Liked 8 Times on 8 Posts


40 BBL to start? You don't screw around do you?

Best of luck!

 
Reply With Quote
Old 10-24-2013, 04:22 PM   #4
kenny_d
 
kenny_d's Avatar
Recipes 
 
Feb 2013
Woodbridge, VA
Posts: 207
Liked 14 Times on 13 Posts


What was the process from brainstorming to implementation? You don't have to go in to any detail. What were some of your biggest challenges?

 
Reply With Quote
Old 10-24-2013, 04:24 PM   #5
MindenMan
Recipes 
 
Aug 2012
Carson City, Nv
Posts: 2,553
Liked 384 Times on 297 Posts


Okay, do you have a chef in mind yet? Are you serving pub grub, gastro pub, or burgers fries, pizza, that kind of food? Is there an area away from the bar area, for families to sit at? Do you have something in mind to keep the kids busy after they eat while Mom and or Dad finish their nectar of the gods? Will the kids games be free, or costly? Are you on a public transportation line? Are going to have seasonal rotation beers? Are going to "always " have the same five or more on tap all year long? Are you only going to make Ales? Will there ever be entertainment? Are you ever going to do/join/create projects that benefit the community? How many different types of home brew soda will you have on tap? Will there be opportunities for a Science trip for kids/students to see how soda is made? Are you interested in making available fund raisers for different groups? Have you thought about supporting a specific or multiple charities? Have you considered doing a "money match" type of fundraisers, where all the participants get something, ie. a free pitcher of soda, or a burger, etc.? The top 3 or 5 get a free dinner for their family, or something else, like a free pitcher of soda a week for (x) weeks? Gee if the family is already there, I doubt they will just drink and dash... I'm working on a few more, and I have not yet been to your Facebook page. I didn't know there were such bitchin' business sites like the one you have. And, since you are in Texas y'all will have Brisket sandwiches, right?

Reason: ADHD

kosmokramer Likes This 
Reply With Quote
Old 10-24-2013, 04:27 PM   #6
CharlosCarlies
Senior Member
HBT_LIFETIMESUPPORTER.png
 
CharlosCarlies's Avatar
Recipes 
 
Jan 2009
Conroe, TX
Posts: 713
Liked 9 Times on 7 Posts


The building is a mess right now, so pardon our dust!
Click image for larger version

Name:	IMAG0109.jpg
Views:	698
Size:	48.1 KB
ID:	155934   Click image for larger version

Name:	IMAG0110.jpg
Views:	697
Size:	44.1 KB
ID:	155935   Click image for larger version

Name:	IMAG0111.jpg
Views:	695
Size:	51.6 KB
ID:	155936   Click image for larger version

Name:	IMAG0112.jpg
Views:	703
Size:	49.7 KB
ID:	155937   Click image for larger version

Name:	IMAG0113.jpg
Views:	691
Size:	34.7 KB
ID:	155938  


 
Reply With Quote
Old 10-24-2013, 04:29 PM   #7
CharlosCarlies
Senior Member
HBT_LIFETIMESUPPORTER.png
 
CharlosCarlies's Avatar
Recipes 
 
Jan 2009
Conroe, TX
Posts: 713
Liked 9 Times on 7 Posts


Our outdoor tasting area. The taps are going to run from the cold storage through the wall of the shipping container.
Click image for larger version

Name:	IMAG0115.jpg
Views:	692
Size:	70.6 KB
ID:	155939   Click image for larger version

Name:	IMAG0116.jpg
Views:	692
Size:	81.9 KB
ID:	155940  

 
Reply With Quote
Old 10-24-2013, 04:31 PM   #8
CharlosCarlies
Senior Member
HBT_LIFETIMESUPPORTER.png
 
CharlosCarlies's Avatar
Recipes 
 
Jan 2009
Conroe, TX
Posts: 713
Liked 9 Times on 7 Posts


Quote:
What beers will you have on tap? How often will you brew? How much time and money did it take to get this far?
We're starting w/ just three beers because of our limited cellar capacity, and it isn't 100% set in stone now but we're looking at a hoppy Pils, a Wheat IPA, and an Oatmeal Stout that we can do a lot of seasonal variations on such as smoke, barrel-aged, peppers, etc. Houston isn't that mature of a market yet, so we decided to keep it simplish and focus on quality control over funky (for now).

Quote:
40 BBL to start? You don't screw around do you?

Best of luck!
Thank you! We are very, very fortunate to be able to start w/ this capacity.

 
Reply With Quote
Old 10-24-2013, 04:44 PM   #9
CharlosCarlies
Senior Member
HBT_LIFETIMESUPPORTER.png
 
CharlosCarlies's Avatar
Recipes 
 
Jan 2009
Conroe, TX
Posts: 713
Liked 9 Times on 7 Posts


Quote:
What was the process from brainstorming to implementation? You don't have to go in to any detail. What were some of your biggest challenges?
Brainstorming was basically just done at various bars over many, many beers. We had been talking about it for 2-3 years, and maybe spent 3-4 months of actual planning before putting money down for the brewhouse.

As far as challenges, the biggest for me was learning about all the equipment. I ended up spending a month interning at a Rahr & Sons in Fort Worth, which helped out tremendously. We also went on as many brewery tours as possible, talked to the brewers/owners whenever they were willing to, and spent countless hours scouring Probrewer for any info we could find. We considered a consultant at one point, and if we weren't so over-budget I would have liked to go that route. If you have the time and are motivated, you can figure most everything out yourself, but we are probably 2-3 months behind schedule because of it. Not a huge deal for some, but it still sucks throwing money at something and not seeing a return!

Edit: Forgot to add, finding (competent) contractors has been a royal PITA. They generally have wanted way too much money and/or don't know what they're doing. We've been fortunate to not have any major F-ups so far, but it really helps to know what they're supposed to be doing and watch them like a hawk. I highly recommend doing as much work yourself as you feel comfortable with. We actually ended up doing our steam and glycol ourselves which was pretty overwhelming at first, but if you're patient and do your research, it's well worth the money saved and knowledge gained for if/when something goes wrong in the future.

 
Reply With Quote
Old 10-24-2013, 04:53 PM   #10
stpug
Recipes 
 
Nov 2012
Posts: 3,619
Liked 671 Times on 565 Posts


How do you intend on staying relevant in what seems like such a flooded market of new breweries and new beers?

Free beer is always good , but when I'm paying for it I want it to really be stellar! I'm sure you feel that your beer is better than the other breweries around you, but is it really? How can you measure this? Have you measured this?

What avenues have you researched or decided upon for selling your beer and/or do you already have contracts for sales? My understanding is that making the beer should be relatively easy but if it doesn't sell then it doesn't matter.

Edit:
BTW, I'm uber jealous over here
__________________
:: St. Pug ::

 
Reply With Quote
Reply
Thread Tools



Forum Jump