Twittering another 1 bbl brew day, Sunday 09/06

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Gordie

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Yup, we're going again.

Should be starting at about 7 am PST or so. If you're into the twitter thing, follow along at "Healdsbrew". I'll be putting together the new-and-improved Healdsburg Blonde. 55 lbs of grain and a pound of crystal hops. Good times.

For those who don't know, I made the homebrewer to nano-brewer transition and my garage is a licensed and bonded commercial brewery known as the Healdsburg Beer Company. And now - the beer I drink is tax deductible. Really.

Follow along and feel free to chime in and keep me awake and whatnot. I figured out how to do pictures last time and I'm also happy to answer any questions about what I'm doing or what I needed to do to get licensed. Or ask here. Whatever. I'm easy.

Kevin
 

Hunlock

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Yup, we're going again.

Should be starting at about 7 am PST or so. If you're into the twitter thing, follow along at "Healdsbrew". I'll be putting together the new-and-improved Healdsburg Blonde. 55 lbs of grain and a pound of crystal hops. Good times.

For those who don't know, I made the homebrewer to nano-brewer transition and my garage is a licensed and bonded commercial brewery known as the Healdsburg Beer Company. And now - the beer I drink is tax deductible. Really.

Follow along and feel free to chime in and keep me awake and whatnot. I figured out how to do pictures last time and I'm also happy to answer any questions about what I'm doing or what I needed to do to get licensed. Or ask here. Whatever. I'm easy.

Kevin
This is great news! I really don't use twitter, but I hope to catch your updates on HBT.

Good Luck!

Tim
 

LTS

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A little late this time but I am following now. Very curious how you went through setting everything up in regards to licensing, etc.
 
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Gordie

Gordie

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Hey LTS. I'm in California, so it might be a bit different in NY, but the basics of turning your garage or whatever into a commercial brewery are as follows:

1. Find a structure for your brewery that is not a residence or an attached garage. Detached garages work and so do barns.

2. Contact your local planning department and convince them that your brewery is not a zoning violation. Offer to voluntarily limit your production if they give you a hard time. Beg if you have to. This is the biggest obstacle.

3. Go to your local ABC. In California, apply for a type 23 "Small Beer Manufacturer" license. It allows you to commercially brew up to 80,000 bbl a year. I takes about 45 - 60 days and will cost you about $450 with the first year's fee. After that its about $150 a year. You have to meet with them and they'll give you a sign for your window. Hope no one in your neighborhood sees it and if they see it they don't file an objection.

4. Apply to file a Brewer's notice with the TTB. This is more of a nuisance than an actual pain - its a lot of paper. You will need to post a tax bond of about $1,000. You can either post cash or get a bond issued. They've got a list of places that issue bonds. This takes about 45-60 days.

5. Apply to your excise tax board and to pay.gov to open excise tax accounts. Learn the federal and state reporting systems and how to fill out the brewery operations reports.

6. Learn the COLA system and how to get label approval.

If you sit down and take it seriously you can get the TTB application done in a weekend. The ABC stuff in CA is basically two 15-20 minute interviews at the ABC office and a waiting period. TTB and ABC can and will work with you (and are actually quite helpful) to get your notice and license issued - don't underestimate starting every question with "I've never done this before and I need your help...". The planning department is the biggest obstacle - if you get a planner who doesn't like the idea of having a brewery in your garage you are dead in the water or are going to burn some cash in legal fees to appeal (which wouldn't be worth it).

All the instructions and info are available on line and the instructions are actually pretty good for government docs.

Gordie
 

LTS

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Gordie - thanks. I've looked at the NY documents and will be speaking to a few other people. Right now location would be the biggest hassle. I've got time but figured I should get into looking now so I can be better prepared. I'll be following you on Twitter to see what you come up with.

I'm also curious how you are going about distributing. I saw your other thread and I wouldn't want to keep the same conversation happening in two places. I'll hit you up there or later on.
 

bhatchable

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what are you making this time? btw, i hate you ( not really). congrats on the start up man. what is your distribution like?
 
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Gordie

Gordie

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Hey LTS - let me know if you have any issues with the TTB stuff and I can walk you through it. I'm actually a lawyer by day (but I'm trying to go straight).

Bhatchable - I put together a blonde ale and went through a full pound of crystal hops. Good times. Next brew is going to be an IPA again. I'm trying to stick to an every-other-week brew schedule and that way I can roll out a bbl worth of kegs every two weeks. Distribution hasn't been a problem - the bigger problem is making enough beer. Bottling is time and space consuming, and more of a logistic pain than just kegging, but by just kegging I only have a half-dozen 5 g kegs to spread around and then I'm out of inventory. Bottling would be easier to sprinkle a few here and there and I could get into some stores and whatnot and have a broader presence in town, but only making 1 bbl at a time and having a day job, spouse and a daughter its not worth it.

In the meantime, I'm delivering 4 kegs to Johnny Garlic's in Windsor CA later today. If anyone is in the area, head on over and have a pint and let me know what you think. They're pouring my IPA and my blonde. Its Guy Fieri's place (from the Food Network) and their address is 8988 Brooks Rd. So., Windsor, CA 95492.


Kevin
 

bhatchable

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Nice, I drive to SF a few times a year.. i'll plan a pit stop on my next trip. congrats again.
 

LTS

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So curiously.. how did you get your beer in the door? Just asked them to try it or did you know people?
 
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Gordie

Gordie

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Hey LTS. You'd be surprised how readily a lot of places are to accept a new brewery or something local and home-grown and whatnot. This area has a lot of love for that kind of stuff too. The attitudes around this area are all "local local local" with all things food and wine and beer is no exception. 99% of the time the local establishments will want to pour the local product. And at 5 gallons at a time its not a real heavy investment. I had an in at Johnny Garlic's, but the other spots I've placed my beer it was basically down to making an appointment with the bar manager, pouring a sample and telling the story of the brewery... that's about it. Big advantage in meeting with them as the owner/brewer and not a distributor's sales guy, by the way.
 

bhatchable

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man, really, that is amazing. should you decide to step up production, I'd like to apply. ha ha ha. great job, I look forward to updates
 

LTS

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I'll have to see what happens. I'm nowhere near ready for prime time yet. Still have a lot going on with work and school (MBA) and two kids. Still, I have the support of those who matter, now it's just a matter of getting building up to that smaller scale. I do have the luxury of potentially contracting a larger batch from a place down the street. They specialize in those things and I've made some good connections there. I'm probably going to be going in on an apprenticeship there as well just for the experience (yea, when I have the time!)

Well, I am following you on Twitter, we'll see what the updates bring. Keep up the hard work.
 
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