want to open a small brewery...any input/experience???

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Tresden

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I'm seriously considering investing money earned in college into my own operation after college. I guess what I'm unsure of is how much should I realistically expect to have to invest to get things started? I'll probably start with a 40 Gallon fermenter just to see how things go. That's the scale I'm talking about here. Thoughts? Experience?
 

upperNY01brewer

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Im curious myself, Ive been having the same idea but unsure where and how to get the funding. Im thinking he best idea at this point would be to speak to someone who has already done it. Im going to a local micro and see if I can catch up to the owner who from all indications is a very personable individual and is willing to talk to people. Keep me posted if you get any info.
 

ColonelForbin

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i would suggest visiting probrewer.com try getting a small job in a brewery or brewpub even if it is for volunteer and once a week for a few hours. expect it to cost more than you think it will cost. a lot more. i am planning on going pro in a few years. in the mean time i am in the process of getting registered for the american brewers guild and starting to brew some 30 gallon batches at my local brewpub. looking for a job at a brewery right now.
 

pericles

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TheBrewingNetwork has a show on nano-breweries that you should definitely listen to if you're serious.

My first response, however, is that 40 gallons is far too small a fermenter to make your plan work. You'll have to pay a fortune in licensing fees to both the federal and state regulatory commissions, and you'll have to comply with both state and local health regulations (which means money on equipment, space, testing, etc.) 40 gallons, moreover, isn't even enough to keep a single bar supplied for a month.

I just don't see a way to recoup your costs. I'd definitely push for you to take Colonel Forbin's suggestion and get started working in a brewery for a while first, even if only to discover all the hidden costs involved before you make the plunge.
 

broadbill

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I'd do a search on here since plenty of other people have had the same thought as you, a few have pulled the trigger and done something about it.

FYI...I seem to remember a figure of 500K as a realistic estimate for a microbrewery startup.

Then there is the old joke: How do you become a millionaire brewing beer?


Answer: Start with 2 million!


Good luck!
 

Sigafoos

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40 gallons would put you firmly in the realm of nanobrewer. It's what we're doing right now, but you should understand that it won't make you any money. We're starting off nano as sort of a soft launch: if things go well, we'll expand to where we can start getting paid for the insane amount of work we'll have to do.

So if a few years of working another job while spending all your free time brewing sounds good, I say go for it. Though GA? Aren't they pretty restrictive on alcohol there?
 

glockentalk

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I was thinking about doing this a while back, and went to see a local small commercial brewer for advice. He said, "Tell you what. Come over to my place, bring your money, and we'll burn it in my fireplace."
 

pericles

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I've been seeing a lot of these replies in my in-box, and now I feel bad for being as pessimistic as I was. Like I say, there was a show on the brewing network about opening nano-breweries, which you should listen to. The mp3 is here.

Something else to consider is contract brewing. You could pay a local microbrewery an hourly rate to use their equipment during their off-production days. If you work the situation right, you could even do it without a permit. (For instance, they might produce the beer under their own permit, keep a small version of their logo on the label, and call it a different LINE of beers.) Doing that becomes complicated, and you should DEFINITELY consult with an attorney who specializes in that field before you go forward, but it is another option.
 
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Tresden

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yeah I think I'll pursue the contract brewing. That sounds pretty sweet. That's also how the microbrewery in my town got started. Although all the replies about making no money seem slightly unbelievable to me. I think microbreweries are pretty lucrative...
 

DrawTap88

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Great microbreweries are pretty lucrative (Sam Adams, Sierra Nevada, Bell's, Three Floyd's). Good microbreweries break even. Decent microbreweries go broke.

But, you'll never know until you take a shot at it. I'd suggest starting out with reading Beer School and Brewing Up a Business. Then writing a business plan so you have a road map as to the path you'd like the business to go in.
 
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