Advice to sell home brew??

HomeBrewTalk.com - Beer, Wine, Mead, & Cider Brewing Discussion Community.

Help Support Homebrew Talk:

z987k

Well-Known Member
Joined
Feb 13, 2007
Messages
3,512
Reaction score
35
Location
Anchorage
All the advice from people who have made it, tend to say 150-200 thousand dollars is bare minimum(and probably not enough) for a brewpub. Micro... even more.

Remember the #1 killer of a brewery is running out of capital.
 

Yankeehillbrewer

Well-Known Member
Joined
Dec 7, 2008
Messages
1,561
Reaction score
38
Location
Meridian, ID
You can't make money making 1bbl at a time, let alone 5 gallons.

You might squeak by with 5bbl batches and working your ass off. 7+ would be more ideal starting.

I mean at 1 bbl, you can make roughly 100bbl a year depending on the number of fermenters you have. At that point you would never become profitable as a business.
Do you speak from experience? Or are you just spewing the negativity that you have read on the internet? Your attitude really seems to contradict your sig.
 

farmbrewernw

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 12, 2008
Messages
1,574
Reaction score
6
Location
Richland, WA
I know of a couple up in the Portland area that sells like a keg a week, they don't do it for the money, more for the fun of it and to get their name out there. I'm pretty sure they do this in there garage or something. It probably doesn't really help the OP as he probably wants to make money but I know it's possible, at least here, to brew at your residence.
 

TwoHeadsBrewing

Well-Known Member
Joined
Feb 28, 2008
Messages
3,949
Reaction score
52
Location
Chico, CA
I know that if you really wanted to be rolling in the dough, you'd go get a MBA and a really nice office job. However, if you're willing to make ~20k/year and work your a$$ off I don't see why you can't make this happen. Let's just do some rough figures...some of which I'm pulling out of thin air (or a less pleasant place).

Cost per 11 gallon batch: $25 (this could be less or more depending on your supplier, power bill, or recipe)
Cost per gallon: $2.27
Cost per 6-pack: $1.28
Cost per 12oz. bottle: $0.2136 + cost of bottles (help here for cost)
Cost per 5g cylinder: $11.36 + cleaning/sanitizing (help here for cost)
Maximum batches per 10 hour day: 4 (5 hours per double batch from setup->cleanup)
Average batches per day: 2 (different recipes, back to back)

Price to customer
6-pack: $4.99 (remember the early SN days anyone?) = $0.8317 per bottle
5g Cylinder: $38 (equiv cost compared to multiple 6-packs would be $44.35)

Margin
6-pack: $3.72
5g Cylinder: $26.64

So for arguments sake, let's just assume you can sell every bit of what you make, and you make one batch per day. This of course is WAY less than how much you could brew, but let's just start there:

11g = 1408 ounces = 117.33 bottles = 19.55 6-packs
OR 2.2 cylinders

If you sold it all you'd make:
19.55 - 6-packs @ $4.99 each: $97.55
OR
2.2 - 5g cylinders @ $38 each: $76.00

And your profit would be:
6-packs: $72.55
OR
Cylinders: $51.00

If you spent 8 hours/day working making one batch of beer, ordering supplies, making phone calls, cleaning the brewery, making deliveries, cleaning bottles/kegs, bottling and kegging:
Your hourly wage would be between $6.38 - $9.07 per hour.

Keep in mind none of these calculations include health insurance, taxes, business and alcohol licensing, health inspections, fire inspections, broken equipment, stupid customers that want a refund for no good reason, bad batches that you have to throw out, etc. If I didn't have a family, I would think about it seriously even at that low wage. Even in Chico, where SN would tower above me like a Dubai hotel. I love brewing, but I have to earn a decent wage to provide for my family, and making good money just isn't going to happen quickly if at all. I'd plan to not be profitable for 2-5 years, and be working my tail off from 7am to 7pm every day of the week. And most nights would be spend visiting local bars, restaurants and keg parties to promote my goods. Sounds like fun, but I'd only do it if I were a single guy with nobody to worry about but myself.
 

Yankeehillbrewer

Well-Known Member
Joined
Dec 7, 2008
Messages
1,561
Reaction score
38
Location
Meridian, ID
I know that if you really wanted to be rolling in the dough, you'd go get a MBA and a really nice office job. However, if you're willing to make ~20k/year and work your a$$ off I don't see why you can't make this happen. Let's just do some rough figures...some of which I'm pulling out of thin air (or a less pleasant place).

Cost per 11 gallon batch: $25 (this could be less or more depending on your supplier, power bill, or recipe)
Cost per gallon: $2.27
Cost per 6-pack: $1.28
Cost per 12oz. bottle: $0.2136 + cost of bottles (help here for cost)
Cost per 5g cylinder: $11.36 + cleaning/sanitizing (help here for cost)
Maximum batches per 10 hour day: 4 (5 hours per double batch from setup->cleanup)
Average batches per day: 2 (different recipes, back to back)

Price to customer
6-pack: $4.99 (remember the early SN days anyone?) = $0.8317 per bottle
5g Cylinder: $38 (equiv cost compared to multiple 6-packs would be $44.35)

Margin
6-pack: $3.72
5g Cylinder: $26.64

So for arguments sake, let's just assume you can sell every bit of what you make, and you make one batch per day. This of course is WAY less than how much you could brew, but let's just start there:

11g = 1408 ounces = 117.33 bottles = 19.55 6-packs
OR 2.2 cylinders

If you sold it all you'd make:
19.55 - 6-packs @ $4.99 each: $97.55
OR
2.2 - 5g cylinders @ $38 each: $76.00

And your profit would be:
6-packs: $72.55
OR
Cylinders: $51.00

If you spent 8 hours/day working making one batch of beer, ordering supplies, making phone calls, cleaning the brewery, making deliveries, cleaning bottles/kegs, bottling and kegging:
Your hourly wage would be between $6.38 - $9.07 per hour.

Keep in mind none of these calculations include health insurance, taxes, business and alcohol licensing, health inspections, fire inspections, broken equipment, stupid customers that want a refund for no good reason, bad batches that you have to throw out, etc. If I didn't have a family, I would think about it seriously even at that low wage. Even in Chico, where SN would tower above me like a Dubai hotel. I love brewing, but I have to earn a decent wage to provide for my family, and making good money just isn't going to happen quickly if at all. I'd plan to not be profitable for 2-5 years, and be working my tail off from 7am to 7pm every day of the week. And most nights would be spend visiting local bars, restaurants and keg parties to promote my goods. Sounds like fun, but I'd only do it if I were a single guy with nobody to worry about but myself.
the best price I found on a 12oz longneck was from a supplier down in L.A. 25cents per bottle, and that's in bulk, buying by the pallet. Turned out to be the same guy that Butte Creek and Feather River get their bottles from. Caps are gonna cost you about a penny. I figured you could make about 20-25 cents per bottle selling retail. That would put your price per 6 pack at about $7.99. That's with a stores 40% markup.
 

dontman

Well-Known Member
Joined
Oct 11, 2008
Messages
2,401
Reaction score
32
Location
Philly, PA
Figure about another $1.00 per bottle for packaging + .50 for enclosures +.50 for cases.

Then you got fixed costs of a few grand per month minimum + equipment amortization. Costs of sales, vehicle lease, marketing costs. This is just the beginning of the grocery list of fixed costs really.

Figure minimum 10K per month in fixed costs which would have to be amortized over the cost of each unit sold. So if you sell 1000 six packs per month then you would have to divide that 10000 into the costs of those. So your cost is $13/ six pack.

So according to the figures you would be earning $9.07/hour against a $50/hour nut.
 

z987k

Well-Known Member
Joined
Feb 13, 2007
Messages
3,512
Reaction score
35
Location
Anchorage
Do you speak from experience? Or are you just spewing the negativity that you have read on the internet? Your attitude really seems to contradict your sig.
Well I looked into it quite heavily...as a dream if you will. Have I taken the plunge? No. Will I, no, as I don't consider myself experienced enough nor can I come up with the capital...I'm too young to have that much money.

Go spend some time on probrewer and read anything and everything you can get your hands on. Read some business plans to see what other people have done. There are quite a few out there in pdf if you know where to look.

The thing is a business is not something you go into half assed. There is a lot on the line and the simple FACT is with a pico brewery you are never going to make much money (I wouldn't consider it enough to live on). Numbers are what they are and I'm just trying to say, look into what this really costs. You time is not free(like it is with a hobby) and licenses are very expensive for such a small operation. Bottling machines are outrageous ($60,000+). Return on bottles and keg accounts are fractions of what you get from the tap at your place.(usually the return there is north of 200-300%, where bottles and kegs go for more around 25-40%) The place you buy will not be fitted with damn near anything you need, so there's construction. If you use your garage somehow(which is possible, but there goes your highest profit margin(pints in your place)and you don't have the water or electrical demand in your house for it. You really need 3 phase for pumps and coolers, and possibly the steam system for the steam jacketed kettle (good luck getting the power company to run 480 to your garage), but if you are that small maybe you don't need glycol chillers, temperature control or pumps. And you need at least a 2" water pipe coming in to be able to fill the HLT AND provide sufficient water for a fire system at the same time. You know what it costs for the city to come run you a new pipe to your place? The local place opening up was quoted $30k all said and done. That is a hell of a surprise cost.
So say you open up a 2bbly brewery. You have 1 kettle and 1 mlt, 6 fermenters(non temp controlled) and 6 bright tanks. Kettle is probably copper unless is steam jacketed and everything else is probably stainless. You're looking at 35k+++ not installed. Throw in licenses, construction (even for your garage), paying yourself, installation, raw materials, and surprises and we'll pretend you can do it for $100,000 cause there's more I didn't list.
Now say 3 week turn around from kettle to bottle or keg and you can only make 208bbls/yr. Lets say it costs $40(that's a low alcohol/hop beer with house yeast) per 1/2 barrel to make and you sell those to a distributor for $80. So on 208bbl/yr you make $40 416 times a year. $16640 a year gross. Get those 1/2bbl up to $150 to the distributor. Now you gross $45760,but that's some damn expensive beer. The customer will probably see $6+ per pint at that point.
See why small doesn't work?
If you'd like to throw alternate numbers or think mine are all wrong, I'd love to hear differently.

I'd love to do it.. but I just don't see how I could at this point in my life.
 

Kaiser

Well-Known Member
Joined
Nov 1, 2005
Messages
3,895
Reaction score
167
Location
Pepperell, MA
My question was whether commercial brewers have many different fermenters and you confirm my suspicion by saying that they would have 16.
They may also use double batch brewing which allows them to use fermenter that hold multiples of their brewhouse capacity. But yes, fermentation space is the real limiter in brewery capacity and why most micro breweries can't do lagers right. This is also the case why even in Germany lagers take only 3-4 weeks these days.

Kai
 

Dwain

Well-Known Member
Joined
Feb 15, 2009
Messages
1,135
Reaction score
7
Location
Hill Country, TX
bassguitarfishing,
All of this is good advise. However, the vast majority of the threads were reasons why not. I've looked into this at different times, places and levels. I too ran across a lot of negativity. Here's my $.02. Make an appointment with the ATF for your state. Most of the time, they have offices in several cities throughout the state. Sit down and have them go through with you exactly what is necesary for you to do what your goal is. Remember, they aren't doing you a favor,"IT'S THEIR FREAKIN' JOB". I would suggest you make a list of things you think you need to know. Ask whatever you want to and let them guide you. Remember, "IT'S THEIR FREAKIN' JOB". I have read some interesting articles on Pete's Wicked Ale and Sierra Brewing. Pete had the idea from the beginning to make it big and get out. Apparently, he's making chocolate now. Sierra has been around a lot longer than I had any idea so they must have been pretty successful as a small market beer before they branched out. My point is, don't let me or anyone else on this board pi$$ on your Post Toasties. You will never know unless you ask first hand. Go for it Brother and let us know where we can buy some of your awesome brew! Good Luck - Dwain
 

z987k

Well-Known Member
Joined
Feb 13, 2007
Messages
3,512
Reaction score
35
Location
Anchorage
bassguitarfishing,
All of this is good advise. However, the vast majority of the threads were reasons why not. I've looked into this at different times, places and levels. I too ran across a lot of negativity. Here's my $.02. Make an appointment with the ATF for your state. Most of the time, they have offices in several cities throughout the state. Sit down and have them go through with you exactly what is necesary for you to do what your goal is. Remember, they aren't doing you a favor,"IT'S THEIR FREAKIN' JOB". I would suggest you make a list of things you think you need to know. Ask whatever you want to and let them guide you. Remember, "IT'S THEIR FREAKIN' JOB". I have read some interesting articles on Pete's Wicked Ale and Sierra Brewing. Pete had the idea from the beginning to make it big and get out. Apparently, he's making chocolate now. Sierra has been around a lot longer than I had any idea so they must have been pretty successful as a small market beer before they branched out. My point is, don't let me or anyone else on this board pi$$ on your Post Toasties. You will never know unless you ask first hand. Go for it Brother and let us know where we can buy some of your awesome brew! Good Luck - Dwain
Also talk to a brewer that has made it. The ATF may not know much about your business making it... but they should know a lot about government regulations on alcohol.

Oh and Kai, have you read on continuous fermentation? It seems as if no one has really made it work, but seems like a great idea.
 

double_e5

Well-Known Member
Joined
Dec 24, 2008
Messages
900
Reaction score
2
Location
Kansas City
Figure about another $1.00 per bottle for packaging + .50 for enclosures +.50 for cases.

Then you got fixed costs of a few grand per month minimum + equipment amortization. Costs of sales, vehicle lease, marketing costs. This is just the beginning of the grocery list of fixed costs really.

Figure minimum 10K per month in fixed costs which would have to be amortized over the cost of each unit sold. So if you sell 1000 six packs per month then you would have to divide that 10000 into the costs of those. So your cost is $13/ six pack.

So according to the figures you would be earning $9.07/hour against a $50/hour nut.
One little correction: Equipment depreciates, intangibles amortize. Sorry, I'm just an accounting nerd.

This is exactly the problem with doing this on such a small scale to try to make money. You can't cover your fixed costs. Most people here are forgetting about fixed costs and just trying to cover variable costs. Running something this small would be a cash flow nightmare. Is it possible? Sure, but I wouldn't want to do it to eek out a living.
 

shrades

Well-Known Member
Joined
Dec 29, 2008
Messages
204
Reaction score
1
Location
North liberty Iowa
Well I have along way to go to even try my hand at brewing enough for selling, but hats off to you all that have that dream. I'm turning 43 this March, and if I can think of any advice for younger people, GO FOR IT! There are alot of small breweries that are popping up here in the Midwest, and most of them are taking older breweries or older buildings, and spending there days nights and most of there money getting it done. But they are great places to sit back relax, and enjoy friends and good brew!
 

bdlbrewster

New Member
Joined
Apr 21, 2009
Messages
1
Reaction score
0
Make friends with your local brew shop manager or owner and convince them to buy a case of sixers. Don't worry about the little stuff. I brew at home and manage a liquor store, in which I sell my brews. A few locals buy my brew, and the local government is none the wiser. As long as the rest of the business is legit no one will care. Just make sure you spend time on your packaging and all is well. Costs me between $25-$40 to make two cases, and I sell them at $7.99 a sixer. It's about $20-$30 bucks profit a case. Menial but enough to keep me truckin. https://cdn.homebrewtalk.com/images/smilies/rockin.gif
 

rfoster

New Member
Joined
May 17, 2010
Messages
2
Reaction score
0
Location
California
I have been brewing in my garage for about 5 years now. My friend owns a liquor store and said that he would be willing to sell my beer so as long as I have all my permits, etc. to produce the beer in California.

I am not looking to make big bucks off this, but more of a hobby as I am approaching retirement. I'll be happy to cover my expenses. I know you can't sell beer that you make in your home.

Thus, can I brew my beer at a local microbrewery and bottle it up for sale?
 

DeathBrewer

Maniacally Malty
Lifetime Supporter
Joined
Apr 9, 2007
Messages
21,787
Reaction score
316
Location
Oakland, CA
From what I've found, you need your own location and an "off sale beer & wine" license to label beer as your own. If you wanted to distribute your beer under their label, then you can get a "beer & wine wholesaler" license, then all you need is a warehouse location and that license is much easier to get.

I'm currently trying to do pretty much the same thing, but we want our own label on the beer so even though we would start by having it done by contract, the wholesaler license will not allow us to put our own label on it for beer (it is ok for wine *shrug*)


Read through the ABC website to begin, here are the license types:
http://www.abc.ca.gov/forms/abc616NR.pdf
 

mkling

Well-Known Member
Joined
Nov 13, 2008
Messages
742
Reaction score
9
Location
Chapel Hill
For anyone interested in doing this, you might want to go over to the Brewing Network. Their Sunday Session radio show on 4-11-2010 was all about how to start a Nanobrewery or Partner brewery (renting an established brewery's facilities). I thought it was definitely one of their most informative shows.
 

billvon

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 29, 2010
Messages
264
Reaction score
6
Location
san diego, ca
My friends keep asking me how much it would cost to make a batch of "________" and that they would pay for it. I figure that so long as they give me money, and I go and buy the ingredients with that money and "donate" my time, thats its pretty much as legal as it can be.
Well, not quite; that is selling beer by any definition. If they brought you the ingredients it might be a bit more legal. Perhaps even just deposited money in a "general brewer" account at the local homebrew store?
 
Joined
Jul 28, 2009
Messages
4,877
Reaction score
260
Location
Keller, Texas
Well, not quite; that is selling beer by any definition. If they brought you the ingredients it might be a bit more legal. Perhaps even just deposited money in a "general brewer" account at the local homebrew store?
I agree -- any thinly veiled plot to cover up selling beer to your friends could be easily uncovered.

It's one thing for your friends to give you cash to buy ingredients and share the homebrew with them, but if people believe they are buying beer and/or if you are receiving an amount from people obviously beyond your costs and then sharing or "sharing" your beer with them, you risk getting into serious trouble.
 

Airborneguy

Adjunct of the Law
Lifetime Supporter
Joined
Sep 24, 2009
Messages
10,741
Reaction score
869
Location
Isle of Staten
If you really want to do this, asking on this forum isn't the best way to get info. Overall, Homebrewtalk tends to be very negative towards this idea.

Lucky for me, I get a full retirement at 43 and will have roughly $200k to blow on my brewpub. Brewpub seems to be the way to go from everything I've seen and read.
 

rfoster

New Member
Joined
May 17, 2010
Messages
2
Reaction score
0
Location
California
Sounds like Colorado is a lot more relaxed on the brewing permits if Golden City Brewery is actually at their home. Maybe they have residential and commercial status?

This leads to my other question, do you need a full brewery permit in your state? Particularly interested in Oregon and Nevada.
 

DeathBrewer

Maniacally Malty
Lifetime Supporter
Joined
Apr 9, 2007
Messages
21,787
Reaction score
316
Location
Oakland, CA
Sounds like Colorado is a lot more relaxed on the brewing permits if Golden City Brewery is actually at their home. Maybe they have residential and commercial status?

This leads to my other question, do you need a full brewery permit in your state? Particularly interested in Oregon and Nevada.
If it's anything like Cali, it's possible as long as it is not connected to the house and it is in a neighborhood that is properly zoned.
 

schreck

Well-Known Member
Joined
Dec 7, 2009
Messages
74
Reaction score
0
Location
New York
i agree that there is a lot of negativity toward going pro/starting a business whether it be a brewery or brewpub...

i am only 21, have an entrepreneurial mind (minus the business school/education/etc) which i usually put towards running a tiny business doing what i know.

OPENING A BREWERY IS DEFINATELY DOABLE. The trick is to have a NICHE... not just something that sets you apart (the beers you brew), and not just the name (and beer names). I really see the value of location (by me, Captain Lawrence Brewing Co is a PRIME EXAMPLE.... brewing in Westchester County NY, a wealthy area with a lack of any local breweries!). In addition to location is seems that staying true to who you are, what you like to brew and incorporating your quirkiness and ideals into the plan is equally important - something that will shine through and spread like a bug to other people.

I know some microeconomics, specifically the term that always gets mentioned when it comes to breweries - economies of scale. But as people get more and more interested in knowing their farmer and knowing where the food/drinks they are putting into their bodies are coming from (with increasing transparency - "nothing to hide" mentality - polyface farms is a good example, people are also seeking out better beer, a local brewery/pub and to meet the men/women behind the BEER/wine/mead... Smaller is better, local is better.

Believe it or not, smaller local businesses can cut a lot of costs in other areas of the business. They may pay more for grain/hops/bottles/etc when not buying in huge bulk quantities, but they may have access to great water, local farmers who provide ingredients such as hops, eco conscious ideals such as spent grain removal and composting.

BE PART OF THE COMMUNITY. THE COMMUNITY WILL IDENTIFY WITH YOU AND YOUR BREWERY.

Also smaller requires less investment, startup money, need for outside investers etc etc etc. You can always grow to a size that doesnt compromise your mission (or not...). This should give you the chance to spread the word before investing $200k, and not having the demand or publicity/awareness to stay afloat.

Sorry for the little rant... just pouring out some thoughts and ideas, believes etc regarding the topic. Im trying to convince myself that this has to be possible. Especially when there ARE so many microbreweries popping up, and their market share is growing! ...Call me a local-ist ... actually id love to bring back local yokel (making it a positive term)

oh.. but i would like some legislation in favor of craft brewers... that should really alleviate some of the hardships.
 

ChiN8

Well-Known Member
Joined
Apr 26, 2010
Messages
135
Reaction score
0
Location
North Carolina
Good read;
I agree that HomeBrewTalk is way to negative about going pro. and if everyone was as negative as they are on the site we would not have any new brewers willing to explore it's wonders.

After reading all 7 pages; many people say you will need 8 or so different brews... which makes NO sense to me. In this case; a small brewer will want to build his business vertically: not horizontally. They will not have the funds to spread their brew world wide but rather find a niche like the previous poster said and build verically.

It would be like In & Out in Cali, Portillos in Illinois, Quacker State Lube in PA, CookOut in North Carolina.... you gotta create a niche.

So with that said, why wouldn't someone build off of one beer? Kind of like Land Shark is trying
 

ChiN8

Well-Known Member
Joined
Apr 26, 2010
Messages
135
Reaction score
0
Location
North Carolina
Land Shark is owned by InBev & Budweiser -- It's not a small beer company building off one beer.
Ok.......
Let's use Shock Top then, before picked up by Michelob. Unique and delicious.

But way to see past the point Mr. Pessimist
 

schreck

Well-Known Member
Joined
Dec 7, 2009
Messages
74
Reaction score
0
Location
New York
i ordered a shock top at the local bar... i didnt realize it was ABinBev until now. I saw the tap handle, they happened to be out of Captain Lawrence, so i decided to try it out. Well, i guess their plan worked - acquire beers and create names to appeal to and compete with the craft market. Fool me once....

you have sparked my interest in looking into the history of shock top and other flagship beer companies. im just wondering if their business plan and mission was to be acquired/bought out!... sure it was, if they sought venture capitalists and other investment.

BUT for most of us on here, the point of selling homebrew is to do business art and share our creativity, be a part of the community, own and operate a small business (not all of us), etc. It wouldnt be much fun to offer only 1 beer. I think you would be more successful brewing REALLY interesting brews using unique ingredients, locally sourced ingredients, seasonal ingredients etc, be part of the community, and get people excited about trying something new/wierd/intriguing, that is accessible in terms of taste, style...

you can charge more per 750ml bottle as well. limited release/small batches (which we would all be brewing) will help with the hype factor. a reason for them to buy it or try it, for example... a beer released for fathers day with a recipe influenced by a memory of your dad (dedicated to my dad who always loved putting honey on his toast).

small gives you many advantages. You are spending more in one area (ie. ingredients), but spending less in marketing, advertising, bottling, labeling, labor, rent, (overhead in general), distribution, transportation, etc etc etc. You also get the support of the community!
 

ChiN8

Well-Known Member
Joined
Apr 26, 2010
Messages
135
Reaction score
0
Location
North Carolina
i ordered a shock top at the local bar... i didnt realize it was ABinBev until now. I saw the tap handle, they happened to be out of Captain Lawrence, so i decided to try it out. Well, i guess their plan worked - acquire beers and create names to appeal to and compete with the craft market. Fool me once....

you have sparked my interest in looking into the history of shock top and other flagship beer companies. im just wondering if their business plan and mission was to be acquired/bought out!... sure it was, if they sought venture capitalists and other investment.

BUT for most of us on here, the point of selling homebrew is to do business art and share our creativity, be a part of the community, own and operate a small business (not all of us), etc. It wouldnt be much fun to offer only 1 beer. I think you would be more successful brewing REALLY interesting brews using unique ingredients, locally sourced ingredients, seasonal ingredients etc, be part of the community, and get people excited about trying something new/wierd/intriguing, that is accessible in terms of taste, style...

you can charge more per 750ml bottle as well. limited release/small batches (which we would all be brewing) will help with the hype factor. a reason for them to buy it or try it, for example... a beer released for fathers day with a recipe influenced by a memory of your dad (dedicated to my dad who always loved putting honey on his toast).

small gives you many advantages. You are spending more in one area (ie. ingredients), but spending less in marketing, advertising, bottling, labeling, labor, rent, (overhead in general), distribution, transportation, etc etc etc. You also get the support of the community!
Shock Top is one of my favorite brews... and it is QUITE a delicious one at that.

I like your train of thought. It's a shame you weren't so far away, I had a completed business plan approved by a partner for a $850,000 brew pub in Chicago, IL. before a job relocation to North Carolina.

Try reading this book for inspiration; "Brewing Up a Business by Sam Calagione." Sam Calagione is the founder of Dogfish Head Craft Brewery, visit their website and you will see how he made his niche. Unique-Craft-Brews.
 

schreck

Well-Known Member
Joined
Dec 7, 2009
Messages
74
Reaction score
0
Location
New York
I read "Beer School" front to back on the plane to and from Seattle about 2 months ago. I was hooked! It was really strange to learn that Brooklyn Brewery started with this 1 beer model... ive been calling it a flagship beer(?). Not to mention it was being contract brewed up at FX Matt Brewing Co in Utica, NY (Brooklyn Lager, and eventually all of their brews).. does anyone know which beer IS brewed out of their brooklyn location? Hindy had dabbled in homebrewing, Potter was just an entrepreneur looking to invest in a worthwhile project. They were smart businessmen, but NOT brewers.

Thanks for the book reccomendation, thats the next book on my list. Im about to dive into "The Brewmasters Table" by Garret Oliver.

I've heard some interesting stuff about Sam Calagione from some other craft breweries. Correct me if im wrong, but wasnt he a model before he began bar tending and fell in love with beer! Im starting to realize there are a lot of businessmen turned brewers rather than brewers turned businessmen. Not sure what cat. Sam falls under as i havent stumbled upon much info on him aside from the book ive yet to read, but it seems that Brooklyn Brewery was definitely the case of businessmen turned brewers. Long Trail may be the same way.

---------------------------------

I have also been advised by some of the Breweries i have visited to shy away from a production brewery and focus more on a Brewpub. This was in regards to working for, and starting my own. Hmm, numbers say the opposite, but then again they dont take into account many many factors.
 

ocluke

Well-Known Member
Joined
Aug 31, 2010
Messages
362
Reaction score
19
Location
Orange County
I don't plan on making tons of money or turing it into a big business. All I want is to get my beer into some local pubs that have been asking for it, legally...And again, I don't plan on becoming the next Sam Adams, I just want my beer available outside my home.
This is just a bump to get this thread back on subject to what the original poster was discussing. From the quotes above, it looks like he is not interested in making money or quitting his day job and going pro. He just wants to legally allow homebrew (think still a hobby, not commercially profitable microbrewery) to be sold in a few local pubs that are requesting it.

If anyone has advice from personal experience with legally getting your homebrew on tap at a local brewpub or restaurant, I'm sure everyone would benefit hearing about it.
 

IXVolt

Well-Known Member
Lifetime Supporter
Joined
Apr 23, 2009
Messages
1,715
Reaction score
80
Location
Southern Oregon
There's a local brewpub here in town that features a "homebrewer" every month. The home brewer uses the brewery's equipment. All proceeds go to the brewpub. I've just never been that excited about giving out my recipe's for other people's profit.
 

ocluke

Well-Known Member
Joined
Aug 31, 2010
Messages
362
Reaction score
19
Location
Orange County
There's a local brewpub here in town that features a "homebrewer" every month. The home brewer uses the brewery's equipment. All proceeds go to the brewpub. I've just never been that excited about giving out my recipe's for other people's profit.
Commercial breweries give us their recipes all of the time, even for their highly coveted beer recipes (e.g. Russian River Pliny the Elder) in which they are theoretically losing profit on since we're not paying them any licensing fee to brew it or anything, and people are taking that recipe and developing new versions to brew in commercial settings.

What's wrong with sharing your recipes? Is that not what we do here on this forum and in the craft beer industry in general? I find the open community aspect of the brewing culture to be one of the greatest things about being a homebrewer. I also find it to be something that separates the craft beer industry from the wine or distilled spirits industry. It's much more laid back, open, and collaborative. Instead of suing each other or being tight-lipped about things, brewers collaborate with each other and share their knowledge.

This culture is what moves things forward and creates new, exciting beers. Using the Pliny the Elder example from above, I believe Vinnie's openness about his recipes is one of the major reasons we have so many amazing aromatic hoppy beers today. Breweries take his recipe, tweak it, put their own spin on it, and it is a new expression of the style.

Heck, I would jump at the chance to brew on a commercial setup. There could be a lot of knowledge to be gained from brewing on a bigger system.
 

TripleNad

Well-Known Member
Joined
Sep 20, 2011
Messages
47
Reaction score
2
Location
Williamston
There is a brewpub in my area that has an event called the "Rat Pad". They have a 10 gal homebrew setup and will let homebrewers come in and brew and then sell it on tap.
• All beer produced on the Rat Pad or any other system is the property of Corner Brewery.

That's how they get away with that. I am sure that the OP is looking to make a little money out of this, not just brew for the experience (sounds like he has a bit of that already).
 
Top