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orj

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I'm a chef by trade and today my boss sat me down and asked about the prospect of starting up a brew pub with me as his brewmaster! The thought of brewing beer for a living is a dream come true and I would love to pull the trigger on this project but as a chef, I'm very aware that cooking professionally is vastly different from home cooking so I imagine commercial brewing would be radically different from my humble stove top homebrew set up.

Can anyone point me towards any resources on small scale commercial brewing? Any good books or websites? I need to do some research on this and see if it's something I could feasibly do.

My boss assures me he would handle all the legal and regulatory stuff, I just need to worry about making the beer.

Any advice would be greatly appreciated!
 

thatjonguy

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Start reading, there are a lot of posts asked by prospective nanobrewers.
 
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BrettFitz

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Best of luck to you orj! I hope it falls into place and you kick some serious butt! And most importantly have some fun while doing it.
 
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orj

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Thanks for the links and the encouragement guys! I really hope I can pull this thing off!
 

hypergolic

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Read this, I just read it this morning and this stuck out when I read your post.

7. We have seen many times that adding a brewery to an existing restaurant or bar usually does not work. A brewpub needs to be created from scratch, not added on to an existing establishment. It is axiomatic that adding a brewery will not "fix" an establishment that is "busted" (i.e. not successful), nor will it add meaningful value to one that IS successful.

I know nothing about large scale brewing, I just like to read beer stuff so I don't know how much truth is in that statement.
 

Homercidal

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Read this, I just read it this morning and this stuck out when I read your post.

7. We have seen many times that adding a brewery to an existing restaurant or bar usually does not work. A brewpub needs to be created from scratch, not added on to an existing establishment. It is axiomatic that adding a brewery will not "fix" an establishment that is "busted" (i.e. not successful), nor will it add meaningful value to one that IS successful.

I know nothing about large scale brewing, I just like to read beer stuff so I don't know how much truth is in that statement.
An interesting statement. Locally, I have frequented a "nice" restaurant which had started homebrewing (as a best description of their process and equipment) and it just wasn't very good beer. The food was good, and it was a nice quiet "upscale" (for our neck of the woods) place to eat.

I don't think the small batch brewing necessarily hurt the business, but the low quality beer they made did nothing to help the place IMO. All in all, it was a low cost experiment for them I guess. They did not take out loans on the small equipment and the license fees were probably not very high for the small brewery.

I think what you need to understand is the expectation the owner has for the brewing portion. It's often seen that having your own beer is a benefit to the restaurant, but making low quality beer is definitely not beneficial. The first thing you need to have is a QUALITY line of beers that you know can be made that the quantity needed for the operation. Brewing 5 Gallons at home is not really the same as brewing 25 to 40 gallons or so at the restaurant (You probably WILL have to brew this at the restaurant.)

There are many small batch breweries operating successfully. You need to be like them.
 
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orj

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Thanks guys, I have read that piece. Fortunately we're discussing a brand new business, not tacking on a brewery to our existing restaurant. We're starting completely from scratch.
 

Homercidal

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Just to be safe you could always describe your beers as influenced by the Belgian tradition. That way any odd flavors are not flaws, but rather interesting nuances...
 
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orj

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HA HA!

"That's not mold on your beer sir, That's 'Belgian Mist'. I thought a beer enthusiast such as yourself would know that!"

Might work, who knows?
 

neko

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Just to be safe you could always describe your beers as influenced by the Belgian tradition. That way any odd flavors are not flaws, but rather interesting nuances...
Also remember
There are no bad batches, just one time limited edition seasonals.

Hope things work out. From what I gather it's a ton of work to start and then once you do it's a ton of work to keep going.
 
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orj

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I'm no stranger to a ton of work! I put in about 55 hrs a week as it is, I can't imagine I would need to put in much more than that!

From what I've been reading the job is about 80% cleaning.

@rainyday I need to update my profile, I live in Virginia now! Sorry man.
 

neko

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From what I've been reading the job is about 80% cleaning.
+1

One time I set up an appointment to walk around a brewery and talk one on one with all the brewers. The thing each one brought up was the huge amount of time cleaning. "Glorified janitors" was one comment. "Did you tell him that we spend 70-80% of the time cleaning?" was another. On the other hand, they wouldn't keep working at a brewery if they couldn't handle all the cleaning.
 
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Sam Cologne of Dogfish Head says he started with a 10 gal BrewMagic system brewing 2 or 3 batches 5 days a week and still swears by it. He says they still use it for creating new beers/recipes.
 

CBXBob

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If you don't take the chance of succeeding, you will always ask the what if. Better to try and fail, than to question the missed opportunity, and never know. Everyone that ever succeeded risked failure. And some failed many times before finally succeeding. If you've got the guts to be a Chef, you've got the guts to be a Brewer.
 

kh54s10

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Others have given good advice and links. Get some more equipment and start brewing more styles. Get a handle on the processes. All grain is probably a must for cost reasons.

You have a lot of time to research and learn. I would expect up to a year to get all the permits/licenses, and the place and equipment.
 
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