This is one of the original threads that got me thinking about opening my own nanobrewery. It has been a couple of years and up until a few months ago I was really excited about the nano concept. I did a ton of research and talked to some licensed nanobrewers. It became pretty apparent though that nano's as a business model is a break even proposition and that you need to have some sort of "end game" in mind. The successful nano's aren't staying small...they are expanding into being full fledged micros. That is the beauty of nanobreweries...the ability to start small and turn it into something bigger. My problem was that my city wouldn't let my use my detached garage as the brewery ala Healdsburg, Old Hangtown, Chappell, etc....An attempted zoning variance would cost several thousand dollars. I also wasn't looking for a career change or even a side business. As cheesy as it may sound I just wanted to get the beer to the people!!
Anyways.....here is my point. I do have a nanobrewery!! I just call it a non-commerical nanobrewery. I brew beer, pour at beer festivals, sell t-shirts, donate brewing sessions for charity auctions, etc... I do everything EXCEPT sell beer. I think in so many ways it is easier. No paperwork, licensing, taxes, zoning laws, stress, rent etc....I have lots of friends who come by for growlers. They know I don't charge for the beer but they still feel obligated to pay me back. They have bought me lunch, given me gift cards, help with brewery maintence, and occasionally left a "funny piece of paper" on my workbench. I think it is awesome what the "professional" nanobrewers are achieving and maybe someday I will join them. But for right now I am pretty happy being a "non-commercial nanobrewer" Cheers!!