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Yes, this is another thread about selling beer... but on a tiny scale.

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iamwhatiseem

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MODERATOR's NOTE and WARNING:
I'm going to allow this thread as long as the discussion remains on topic, civil, informative, and merely hypothetical, and doesn't escalate into actually selling or promoting to sell beer, legally or illegally.

Anyone grazing or crossing those boundaries will be eligible for a vacation from HBT.
I'm keeping a close eye on this thread.

IslandLizard,
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Great time of year to get fresh vegetables from farmers markets and the Amish. They have stands everywhere.
They also sell baked goods, and at the weekend markets... home roasted/ground coffees... hot chocolate... lemonade... all kinds of ingestable ware.
But not beer. Oh no. Can't do that.
It's public safety right? Can't have someone making people sick? Well... as we all know, it certainly isn't public safety. The chance of getting sick, even really sick, are infinitely higher eating someone's baked goods/food than drinking someone's home brewed beer. The chance of getting sick from beer is almost non-existent. As most here know, virtually no known pathogens can exist in beer. The PH is too low, and...well.. it contains alcohol.
So, what else then? And why enforced so vigorously? I mean you can't make money in ANY way from home brew. Including bartering.
In my state there are two kinds of brewery license - small and large. But small is not really small.
I want a license for TINY.
Why doesn't there exist a license in which you can sell beer, but only very small amounts. Let's say you can't sell more than 120 gallons a year. Or 10 gals a month. And getting that license should be much-much easier than getting even the "small" license which requires, as we all know, many hurdles and expenses.

We need to advocate for a tiny alcohol license.
 
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NTBeer

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Why? In a word, taxes.

Sure, the license fee could cover the anticipated production. But is there enough enforcement in place to make sure that's all you are selling? Who's going to make sure that what you claim is personal consumption isn't sold? So as a smart congressman, let's tax all malt instead of the finished product...

For me, way too many potential pitfalls to mess with our hobby. it's a solid no.
 
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iamwhatiseem

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Why? In a word, taxes.

Sure, the license fee could cover the anticipated production. But is there enough enforcement in place to make sure that's all you are selling? Who's going to make sure that what you claim is personal consumption isn't sold? So as a smart congressman, let's tax all malt instead of the finished product...

For me, way too many potential pitfalls to mess with our hobby. it's a solid no.
I disagree.
Let's take the example again of farmers markets. Most of the vendors there are not actually farmers of course, you can't possibly earn a living doing this.
But make no mistake, there is a LOT of untaxed money exchanging hands at these markets. In my small city, absolutely five figures every weekend. No doubt. Yet no one goes after that. Then you add in flea markets, yard sales (there are many "professional" yard salers) - there are many ways where people buy and sell, without taxes, now.
How are we different? If every homebrewer in my area, probably about 100 - 150 of us, if all of us sold the max 10 gals a month - it wouldn't even begin to scratch the surface of the un-taxed monies exchanging hands in ONE day of a farmers market.
We are talking extremely small amounts of money. At best maybe $250 /mo.
 

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Same reason you can’t grow and sell tobacco. Same reason you can’t machine and sell a firearm. ATF. It’s regulated and taxed. Tomato’s and corn aren’t regulated for the most part.
 

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A license to produce and sell alcohol on any scale invariably comes with periodic inspection of the brewery premises, and from what I have read about craft distilling licenses, the brewery/distillery building cannot also house living quarters, etc. It would be kinda nuts to jump through all the hoops and set up a dedicated brewery building to produce only 10 gallons per month, which is probably why a TINY license does not exist.
 
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iamwhatiseem

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A license to produce and sell alcohol on any scale invariably comes with periodic inspection of the brewery premises, and from what I have read about craft distilling licenses, the brewery/distillery building cannot also house living quarters, etc. It would be kinda nuts to jump through all the hoops and set up a dedicated brewery building to produce only 10 gallons per month, which is probably why a TINY license does not exist.
Au Contraire' - I would be "nuts" then.
I have a separate "brew house", not even connected to the house. I think there are more folks with brew sheds, garages etc. than you think.
 

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MODERATOR's NOTE and WARNING:
I'm going to allow this thread as long as the discussion remains on topic, civil, informative, and merely hypothetical, and doesn't escalate into actually selling or promoting to sell beer, legally or illegally.

Anyone grazing or crossing those boundaries will be eligible for a vacation from HBT.
I'm keeping a close eye on this thread.
 

NTBeer

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Add into that all of the people out there who already are predisposed to think what we are doing is illegal. I have seen d dozens of statements by HTBers that some passersby had called the cops on them to say they have a meth lab in their driveway. Do we want to make those conversations more "gray area"? Doing this would take us one more step towards having to have a license for our own consumption.
 

Jayjay1976

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Au Contraire' - I would be "nuts" then.
Well, you'd know I guess.

I have a separate "brew house", not even connected to the house. I think there are more folks with brew sheds, garages etc. than you think.
The "shed" would have to meet food safety standards for cleanliness, proper ventilation, etc.; I really don't think your brew space will meet the requirements.

Add to that, anyone purchasing from you would be putting a lot of trust in your sanitation practices and I'm not talking about pathogens in the beer, but overall cleanliness of your operation. How much would they be willing to pay for questionable beer? Have you racked up a bunch of competition medals or something to demonstrate that you even know what you're doing?

You can give away all the beer you want, but selling it is just not going to happen. Besides, a mere 10 gallons/month isn't going to amount to much profit.
 
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iamwhatiseem

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Well, you'd know I guess.


The "shed" would have to meet food safety standards for cleanliness, proper ventilation, etc.; I really don't think your brew space will meet the requirements.

Add to that, anyone purchasing from you would be putting a lot of trust in your sanitation practices and I'm not talking about pathogens in the beer, but overall cleanliness of your operation. How much would they be willing to pay for questionable beer? Have you racked up a bunch of competition medals or something to demonstrate that you even know what you're doing?

You can give away all the beer you want, but selling it is just not going to happen. Besides, a mere 10 gallons/month isn't going to amount to much profit.
I get that, but why not then laws governing sanitation etc. in selling baked goods???
Again, you can get sick, really sick from eating contaminated food, obviously. But you cannot get sick from beer, even if contaminated. You would basically have to literally add something bad to your beer in order to make someone sick.
Making beer/wine is inherently safe simply because of the low ph in beer/wine, and of course - alcohol.
The point I am making, is drinking home brew beer is monumentally safer than eating food made who knows where, sitting who knows where and who knows how long.
You tell me whose area/practices are cleaner - an experienced home brewer, or any Tom, Dick or Mary who decides to sell food? In Indiana, along with numerous other states, there are exactly zero regulations on selling baked goods. You are only required to label what it is. ex: "Banana Bread".
"Cottage Foods" are essentially almost unregulated. Yet there is 1,000 times the risk than that of consuming home brew.
 
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Maxkling

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It is a misconception that you cannot get sick from home brewing beer. Chances are extremely low, but it is still possible. Also safety of product for consumers probably plays nothing into ATF regulations

“Cottage” baking still has laws and regulation. Where I live you are old allowed certain foods, have to take a food safety programs, and pay fees. Now I’m here to say 99% of people selling baked good probably have no clue there are rules in place and aren’t following them, but it’s still not free game.

I would agree with you there should be another tier, but the juice just ain’t worth the squeeze.
 
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iamwhatiseem

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It is a misconception that you cannot get sick from home brewing beer. Chances are extremely low, but it is still possible. Also safety of product for consumers probably plays nothing into ATF regulations

“Cottage” baking still has laws and regulation. Where I live you are old allowed certain foods, have to take a food safety programs, and pay fees. Now I’m here to say 99% of people selling baked good probably have no clue there are rules in place and aren’t following them, but it’s still not free game.

I would agree with you there should be another tier, but the juice just ain’t worth the squeeze.
Thank you... that is at least a valid argument.
To me, it seems to make sense there should be a "lower" tier - than what will cost you a minimum of $75,000 to comply. And that doesn't include the facility. Easily surpass $150,000.
 

Brew_Dude41

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I am not sure about the farm markets in your area but ours seem to be a bit more regulated. All the vendors are registered and posting permits issued by the city.

Any legitimate business is going to have to go through inspections to get licensed. Earnings and taxes will need to be reported quarterly.

Cutting hair, baking bread, or brewing beer there is a process required to enter the market legally. If the cost is too high for your "tiny" business model than you probably need to rethink trying to enter the market.
 

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Just from the practicality side, let's look at some numbers.

At 10 gallons per month, you're talking just over 100 12oz beers. For non-hyped beers, $3 is about the top end for that size bottle. So, you're talking a max $300 in sales per month before figuring in costs. Subtract out your recipe costs, amortization on equipment, cost of permits and complying with alcohol regulation, and let's just say at a best case you've still got $200 (yeah, right!) of "profit" left. Now, figure in the 5 hour brew day and let's say another 15 hours of your time to attend two farmer's market a month (including prep, travel, setup, etc.), and you're looking at $10/hr at best.

Now, what are the distribution laws in your state? Are you fully subject to a 3-tier system (you have to sell to a distributor who has to sell to a retailer) or are direct sales allowed? If so, there goes 50% or more of your profits. If there is an exception for direct sales, does that only apply for "on premise" sales from the brewery itself? There goes your farmer's market idea, people have to come to your house to buy it...

Honestly, I think a lot of the puritanical laws around alcohol are problematic. I know a lot of us have this "man, I wish I could sell this" idea in the back of our heads. Just trying to say that the "tiny" license you isn't exactly the problem. Just like your farmer's market is comprised of "small" farmers with probably dozens of acres of land at the least, not your next door neighbor growing a dozen tomato plants in their back yard, at the super small scale you're suggesting there'd be really no point in trying to brew for profit.
 

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They also sell baked goods, and at the weekend markets... home roasted/ground coffees... hot chocolate... lemonade... all kinds of ingestable ware.
Nothing they sell at the Farmers Market is illegal (and frequently unsafe) for 25% of the population - those under 21 years old. Food items at the Farmers Market seems like a bad analogy. A better analogy would be selling home grown tobacco cigarettes at the Farmers Market or out of your home (even in low volume). You could also substitute firearms, marijuana and quite a few other things. It ain't happening.
 

Sammy86

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I am not sure about the farm markets in your area but ours seem to be a bit more regulated. All the vendors are registered and posting permits issued by the city.
Same here, in my state and our neighbor states all have permit requirements for being able to set up shop at a farmers market.

To play devils advocate here, why do you think a farmers market bakery or home made pickle guy is clearing $10,000 on a weekend?

There is a reason for the ATF to regulate why they do...might not make sense to you but it does to them and they make the rules.
 
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iamwhatiseem

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Just from the practicality side, let's look at some numbers.

At 10 gallons per month, you're talking just over 100 12oz beers. For non-hyped beers, $3 is about the top end for that size bottle. So, you're talking a max $300 in sales per month before figuring in costs. Subtract out your recipe costs, amortization on equipment, cost of permits and complying with alcohol regulation, and let's just say at a best case you've still got $200 (yeah, right!) of "profit" left. Now, figure in the 5 hour brew day and let's say another 15 hours of your time to attend two farmer's market a month (including prep, travel, setup, etc.), and you're looking at $10/hr at best.

Now, what are the distribution laws in your state? Are you fully subject to a 3-tier system (you have to sell to a distributor who has to sell to a retailer) or are direct sales allowed? If so, there goes 50% or more of your profits. If there is an exception for direct sales, does that only apply for "on premise" sales from the brewery itself? There goes your farmer's market idea, people have to come to your house to buy it...

Honestly, I think a lot of the puritanical laws around alcohol are problematic. I know a lot of us have this "man, I wish I could sell this" idea in the back of our heads. Just trying to say that the "tiny" license you isn't exactly the problem. Just like your farmer's market is comprised of "small" farmers with probably dozens of acres of land at the least, not your next door neighbor growing a dozen tomato plants in their back yard, at the super small scale you're suggesting there'd be really no point in trying to brew for profit.
That is the thing though, I am not interested in the money. I don't want to own a brewery at this time in my life.
However, I would love to have the opportunity to have people taste, and hopefully appreciate, my beer.
(BTW - in Indiana you can direct sell)
Yes I can host a tasting, but the experience of many is you get a bunch of idiots that just hear "free beer!!!" And if you do it with any regularity, they start showing up and literally knocking on your door for 'free beer!!"
I may very well be wishing out of my ass... I would just like more people than family/friends try my beer. If I say so myself, it is quite good.
I have a minimum of $10k in equipment/beer house. I wouldn't do that if it was only so-so.... just sayin.
 

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Let's take the example again of farmers markets. Most of the vendors there are not actually farmers of course, you can't possibly earn a living doing this.
But make no mistake, there is a LOT of untaxed money exchanging hands at these markets.
I don’t know about the laws in your area, but that’s not a blanket statement. My family used to sell grass fed beef, natural pork and lamb, fresh eggs and garden vegetables at our local farmers market. We had to maintain a retail food license, use state inspected scales, keep all the frozen meat frozen and the eggs could be no warmer than 42°. All the meat had to be weighed and labeled. The eggs had to be washed and sanitized, graded and must have been in new unused cartons. For the few miscellaneous items we would occasionally sell, we had to collect state and county sales tax. We were visited more than once by the health department and State Weights and Measures for spot inspections.
I’ve looked into the permits and licensing to be able to sell and it’s ridiculously expensive/ prohibitive for me at this time. I’ll just continue as a hobby and give away trades for fun.
I would just like more people than family/friends try my beer. If I say so myself, it is quite good.
If this is all you want, why not ask to be included in some of the trade threads here on HBT?
 

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I have no interest in selling my beer and the idea of owning a brewery doesn’t interest me at all so I’m voting no on a tiny license.

If you want to share your beer there are lots of ways, are you a member of a home brew club? What about pouring at a beer fest? And competitions are a a great way to get your name out there. And quite honestly you could just give it away, I’m sure where you work you could find people that would take it.

If you are that determined to sell your beer look into contract brewing, that might make more sense and less of an investment.
 
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iamwhatiseem

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I don’t know about the laws in your area, but that’s not a blanket statement. My family used to sell grass fed beef, natural pork and lamb, fresh eggs and garden vegetables at our local farmers market. We had to maintain a retail food license, use state inspected scales, keep all the frozen meat frozen and the eggs could be no warmer than 42°. All the meat had to be weighed and labeled. The eggs had to be washed and sanitized, graded and must have been in new unused cartons. For the few miscellaneous items we would occasionally sell, we had to collect state and county sales tax. We were visited more than once by the health department and State Weights and Measures for spot inspections.
I’ve looked into the permits and licensing to be able to sell and it’s ridiculously expensive/ prohibitive for me at this time. I’ll just continue as a hobby and give away trades for fun.


If this is all you want, why not ask to be included in some of the trade threads here on HBT?
Thanks... I actually didn't know this was here!
 

IslandLizard

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In our wider area we have a few homebrew (club) based fundraisers each year (sadly, not this year). Some events also feature micro breweries serving their (donated) beer alongside homebrewers.

That's as close as a homebrewer can get to having the "general public" taste (your) homebrew. We've always been getting great feedback, people frequently asking where they can buy our beer... sorry, we can't sell it.

Through sales of admission tickets and vendors paying for a spot at the events, where available, money is raised for charities. For example, last year we raised $10,000+ and $2000+ for 2 animal shelters, resp.

My stance:
I don't want to sell or get paid for my homebrew, I enjoy sharing it where I can, usually with fellow homebrewers, and the occasional guests. When it can raise money for some noble cause, I'm all in. That feeling is better than a few lousy, extra green backs.

Over the years a few of our club brewers have won certain competitions where they get to brew their (winning) beer on a local brewery's larger system and put in the tap room, available to the general public. I'm not convinced those beers are always the greatest sellers, though. The ones I tasted were usually much better as homebrew.

A homebrewer can always hook up with a micro or nano brewery and see if they can get their recipe brewed and put in the tap room or even distributed. That beats (hard) selling at the Farmers Market, IMO.
 

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I appreciate the tenacity of the OP for sticking to the topic and not getting frustrated with the naysayers!

Where I'm at in California, folks selling at farmers markets do pay sales taxes, they are regulated by appropriate authorities (depending on whether they are selling fresh fruits/veggies, baked goods, canned jams/jellies, meat products, cooked food, and even beer/wine by the glass), and they need a business license - all that and more just to qualify to rent a space at the market. It is not just a hobby for the vendors - most are full-time small-scale farmers or producers utilizing commercial kitchens, but for some it is a second profession. Most also go from one farmers market to another on different days so they sell several days a week - I think all the farmers markets in my area have a waiting list for vendors - you pay every week whether you show up or not or you lose your spot.

On the other hand, I like the OP's overall premise - a campaign to reduce the hurdles and costs associated with starting a tiny (or nano) brewery. Nano brewing may be a bit larger scale than the OP was thinking but is a close fit and an industry for which there are lots of resources. I attended NanoCon 2019 last year and it was both eye-opening and encouraging.

Obviously federal, state, and local authorities are never going to let any business get away with not paying taxes, having permits, securing a bond, and having insurance, but they can lower fees and reduce some of the regulation as long as public safety is not compromised.

OP (iamwhatiseem) and anyone else interested - I recommend signing up for NanoCon 2020 (online this year), and joining both the Brewers Association and the Master Brewers Association.

-Cheers
 

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I have no interest in selling my beer and the idea of owning a brewery doesn’t interest me at all so I’m voting no on a tiny license.
We’ve all seen SO many startup breweries and brewpubs fail, even locally let alone nationally. It’s a tough business. Even more so right now with this COVID thing. Breweries are not selling beer to restaurants that are not allowed to be open.

Also, not related to COVID but malt beverages like White Claw and Truly are taking a big percentage of the market and are buying a bigger percentage of aluminum and cans so there is a national shortage of aluminum cans right now. I guess Truly is the reason Sam Adams stock is almost $900 a share now. I wish I had bought that years ago.

I was looking through my beer coaster and pint glass collections recently. I have no fewer than 14 from small breweries and brewpubs that I had visited at some point that now no longer exist.

The industry giants are buying materials in quantities we can’t even fathom, brewing in quantities that are astronomical to us, and operating on a cost scale we’ll never, ever be able to come close to. They spill more beer in a day than we as tiny batch homebrewers would produce over our lifetimes.

How can you compete with someone who is selling the product for less than you can produce it for? Why would someone buy your beer when they can get nationally recognized brands cheaper almost everywhere? I live in PA, which was a “case state” for the longest time - meaning you had to buy beer only from a beer distributor and by the case. Thankfully, that has all changed and we can get 6 packs in the supermarkets now like many other states have enjoyed for a long time. But my point to the story is that Coors Light was the #1 selling beer in PA for a very long time. Because it’s cheap, known, and mostly inoffensive. And that’s what a large percentage of casual beer drinkers want. Especially when they have to buy a case. Nobody wants to take a chance on the unknown - and that is why many startups fail. They never even get a foot in the proverbial door.

I used to own a homebrew shop and found competition to be fierce even in that arena, from both other brick and mortar shops nearby and giant online retailers who are buying in tens of thousands quantities and again getting price breaks us little guys can’t because we simply don’t have the resources. I owned the store for about 4 years before I ran out of funds and had to close. And I never really made money, it was a struggle the entire time I owned the shop. I was the 4th and last owner in a string of failure - the shop no longer exists.

If somebody wants to run a brewery, in addition to the tax issue, there are also things to consider like health inspections, cleanliness of your operation and also weights and standards. Who will verify that your bottle actually contains 12 oz as it says on the label? How are you calculating your alcohol percentage and who will verify it is what you put on your label? Most breweries have a lab. Do you have pets in your house? That would also be a no-no. Without even going into the COVID thing. Lot to think about.

The best analogy I can think of is more like the people who do “pop up” restaurants, if that is even still a thing. They are selling meals out of their homes. Do they have any license, any inspections to make sure they are not selling spoiled food or poisoning people? Do they pay any taxes on their sales? Is there even any license they can get? I honestly don’t know.

Mods: I do not advocate selling homebrew without the proper licences in any capacity.
 
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OK, I don't do farmer's markets, flea markets, whathaveyou, but I still sell an "homemade" product. Eggs. Specifically duck (mallard) eggs from my own backyard flock. I advertise locally (craigslist) and there are *zero* regulations on my selling eggs (or even small batch processed duck), as long as I'm up front about selling a straight-from-the-farmer agricultural product. I take all the appropriate precautions to help ensure my eggs are clean and in good physical condition - bad eggs can literally end this for me - but it's not a requirement. I don't sell honey anymore, but it was the same with that as well.

I don't make money at this - I'm only selling my excess eggs, because I'll frequently have more than I can use - but it does help offset my costs and requires minimal effort on my part. I could totally get behind a tiny "farmhouse" brewing license.
 

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I appreciate the tenacity of the OP for sticking to the topic and not getting frustrated with the naysayers!
I agree with that sentiment.

This has been an interesting thread with some enlightening posts.

The thing about turning a hobby into a job is ... that once it becomes a job it is not so much fun anymore! I am just happy that I can brew beer without having to worry about the sheriff breaking in and chopping my fermentor into pieces. It is amazing to me that we got the laws about home brewing and wine making relaxed enough to do that legally. I just do not see any possibility at all of allowing alcohol in any form to be sold under a relaxed standard. I am 66 years old and have a pure white beard and I still have to show an id to buy beer at the store. Selling beer as if it were cookies just is not going to happen, however we might like for it too, I think.
 

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I just do not see any possibility at all of allowing alcohol in any form to be sold under a relaxed standard.
It is easy to think that, but in your 66 years a lot has changed - beer laws have changed dramatically allowing the microbrewery industry to explode and in many states you can buy and use weed legally - unthinkable when I was young. At one time they actually made all booze illegal in the USA - can you believe that? Laws can and do change.
 

Sammy86

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The best analogy I can think of is more like the people who do “pop up” restaurants, if that is even still a thing. They are selling meals out of their homes.
This is not true, pop up restaurants are not selling meals out of their homes. They are required by law (depending on state) the same rules and regulations as a normal restaurant. Most use the equipment from the restaurant they are popping up in while others are using industrial kitchen spaces to make their creations because you can't just make it at home.

Source: My Cousin did pop ups for his donut shop and just opened a brick and mortar. Voted best donut in Boston 2020!
 

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Oh, this looks like a fun thread to wade into...
I have a question for @iamwhatiseem...
What is the endgame for Tiny Beer Sales?
In other words- is it principle? Or is a stepping stone to larger dreams?
In other words- are you wishing you could go to market for proof of concept? With dreams of a larger brewery down the line? If that is the case, I would think there are other, easy methods to go about this. Contests, Opinions of friends (or better yet- friends of friends, etc.). Maybe try to connect with a local pro and see about getting a recipe brewed or some such cray notion.
If it is indeed a principle conversation, then I think maybe this belongs over in debate forum, as it will inevitably degrade into political thoughts and opinions, as unfortunately everything seems to do in 2020.
I love HBT, home-brewing, and beer in general because i can get away from politics. (Although if it does sneak in, more beer helps chase it away!) :bigmug:
Just my $0.02 worth.

[Mods- if I stepped out of line, please delete my comment before booting me off? Thanks.]
 

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I think you guys are inflating his concept.

It sounds like he honestly just wants a small stand at a small farmers market to offer his home brew for sale, legally. Just as someone sells jellies or fudge or taffy.

His point of view is there should be a lower tier license for the hobby brewer to sell their product. We all know there is no profit there.

I love the idea of doing a collaboration brew with a local brewery, I might take this idea to a few local breweries and have a home brew competition with the winner getting his product on a small run. That sounds like the best way of getting a “home brew” out on the market.
 

rsquared

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I'm not so sure we're inflating the concept (at least as originally stated), just it's impractical because of all the other stuff that also has to be dealt with once you turn it into a business. Those people selling small batch products are either doing a whole lot of work behind the scenes (business licenses, taxes, etc.) or they're skirting the law (a lot of businesses that small don't bother or even know all the license requirements), and they fly under the radar. The thing is, once alcohol gets added to the mix, you HAVE to cross all those t's and do't the i's, because there will be a lot more scrutiny. In other words, the sheer amount of other regulations are a hindrance to the "tiny" brewery idea.

In the end though, it sounds like we've got what in the tech industry tend to call an XY problem:

http://xyproblem.info/ said:
The XY problem is asking about your attempted solution rather than your actual problem. This leads to enormous amounts of wasted time and energy, both on the part of people asking for help, and on the part of those providing help.
  • User wants to do X.
  • User doesn't know how to do X, but thinks they can fumble their way to a solution if they can just manage to do Y.
  • User doesn't know how to do Y either.
  • User asks for help with Y.
  • Others try to help user with Y, but are confused because Y seems like a strange problem to want to solve.
  • After much interaction and wasted time, it finally becomes clear that the user really wants help with X, and that Y wasn't even a suitable solution for X.
In post 18, the X is finally revealed:

That is the thing though, I am not interested in the money. I don't want to own a brewery at this time in my life.
However, I would love to have the opportunity to have people taste, and hopefully appreciate, my beer.
(BTW - in Indiana you can direct sell)
Yes I can host a tasting, but the experience of many is you get a bunch of idiots that just hear "free beer!!!" And if you do it with any regularity, they start showing up and literally knocking on your door for 'free beer!!"
I may very well be wishing out of my ass... I would just like more people than family/friends try my beer. If I say so myself, it is quite good.
I have a minimum of $10k in equipment/beer house. I wouldn't do that if it was only so-so.... just sayin.
So, OP wanted a way to share their beer (with a discerning group, not just freeloaders)[that's the X], decided selling was the best way to do that, and started a discussion about how to go about why a smaller brewery license should be allowed [the Y].

I mean, I think it turned into an interesting discussion anyways, but if they'd led with "Hey guys, got any ideas how I can get my beer in front of more people who will actually appreciate it and don't just get excited because it's free beer??" I'm sure a lot of interesting discussion in that direction could have been had as well.
 

MMP126

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Man, I have thought long and hard on this subject...have tried to think of everything to be able to get my beer in the hands of others.

The biggest question for me is, What is your goal? To quit your day job and sell beer? To just share beer with people and have the experience of others enjoying what you make? Just having a side hustle with your beer?

Believe you me man, I have had ALL of these same thoughts. Mad that I cannot just sell my beer. People can start little jewelry shops, and sell LuLuRoe and crafts and little things like that, which require MINIMAL effort to get going. Maybe pay $200 for an LLC, open a bank account and buy some supplies. Pay sales tax. Most businesses can be that simple. But beer just is not.

But for me, what it turned into was facing facts...

You want to open your own brewery? Cool. Hope you have $1/2M to get everything you need. And that is really it. As others said, you cannot be profitable brewing 10gal at a time. And oh man, I have done that math. A few times. It just doesn't work. The margin isn't there to make money. You may be able to pay for the next batch, but that is about it. There is no chance of growing, expanding, or saving money when you brew such a small amount of beer.

Just want to get beer into the hands of others? Share and taste, and see what others think? That is great, and I LOVE that part of this. So here's what I do:

1. Enter BJCP competitions. I just find them on google and enter them. Its fun, and I get, most of the time, decent people that are experienced at tasting beer. And if you do good, you get some cool awards. Medals and such, maybe even a plaque! If you do REALLY well, maybe you can brew one of your beers at a professional brewery.

2. Participate in tastings for charity. These are so much fun! Its pretty much like participating in a beer festival. People try your beer, you meet other brewers, you try others beers, meet people, and help a good cause. I have done about 3-4 of these, and they are always a blast!

3. Just trade some beers. There are threads on this website. Start an Instagram and reach out to other home brewers there, and see if they want to trade a few bottles. I have traded with a few people there, and its great. Hit me up if you want to trade some beers (my instagram is in my signature below).

4. Invite people over to your place. Chill, get some food, have some beers. Laugh, have fun.

5. Just bring your beer places. I, for some reason, was always afraid to do this. Until a brewer friend of mine was just like "Yeah man, I always have a clean growler, a cooler and a bag of ice ready to go, just so I can share my beer.". Get a few growlers (If you dont have them already), a decent cooler, and take beer places. Its great fun, and a great way to meet and talk to people. You now have subject matter for your favorite thing, BEER!

I am friends with a couple pro-brewers, and man, I have talked their ears off about wanting to go pro. They tell me to do it! But, for some reason I have a hard time making the leap. Its not like other things or businesses. Beer is different.

Its funny, I sometimes get mad that I chose beer as the thing that I want to be good at and potentially want to make a living at. Why did I pick a thing that isn't profitable without a big investment (in my eyes). Why couldn't I just want to go buy a Cricut, and make iron-on T-shirts for soccer moms and shirts with silly sayings for little kids. But, I chose beer, and I love it. Will I go pro? Maybe one day. Well see. But for now, I will enjoy my beer, and when I can, try to have others enjoy it also!
 

Rob2010SS

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I have no interest in selling my beer and the idea of owning a brewery doesn’t interest me at all so I’m voting no on a tiny license.

If you want to share your beer there are lots of ways, are you a member of a home brew club? What about pouring at a beer fest? And competitions are a a great way to get your name out there. And quite honestly you could just give it away, I’m sure where you work you could find people that would take it.

If you are that determined to sell your beer look into contract brewing, that might make more sense and less of an investment.
This is actually what we started doing - giving it away to people at work. We started out with (24) howlers that we had customized with our logo. We had a few friends we were always sharing beer with and we knew of others that wanted to do the same. So we bought the 24 thinking that we'd keep about 8 of them. Word got out and all 24 are out to people at work. My wife sends out a regular email to the "howler club" as far as whats on the schedule to be brewed and when beers are available. We don't hound people, it's up to them to bring the howlers in if they want what was released. We clean them, sanitize them, fill them and seal them with a heat wrap so there are no problems with driving them home or anything.

Not saying it's legal, but it's how we're accomplishing the goal of getting our beer out there. There are definitely people in that group of 24 that are friends and maybe just doing to to be supportive, but there are a lot of people in that group that are not really friends but were people interested in craft beer and the feedback has been really great!
 

Nate R

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Man, I have thought long and hard on this subject...have tried to think of everything to be able to get my beer in the hands of others.

The biggest question for me is, What is your goal? To quit your day job and sell beer? To just share beer with people and have the experience of others enjoying what you make? Just having a side hustle with your beer?

Believe you me man, I have had ALL of these same thoughts. Mad that I cannot just sell my beer. People can start little jewelry shops, and sell LuLuRoe and crafts and little things like that, which require MINIMAL effort to get going. Maybe pay $200 for an LLC, open a bank account and buy some supplies. Pay sales tax. Most businesses can be that simple. But beer just is not.

But for me, what it turned into was facing facts...

You want to open your own brewery? Cool. Hope you have $1/2M to get everything you need. And that is really it. As others said, you cannot be profitable brewing 10gal at a time. And oh man, I have done that math. A few times. It just doesn't work. The margin isn't there to make money. You may be able to pay for the next batch, but that is about it. There is no chance of growing, expanding, or saving money when you brew such a small amount of beer.

Just want to get beer into the hands of others? Share and taste, and see what others think? That is great, and I LOVE that part of this. So here's what I do:

1. Enter BJCP competitions. I just find them on google and enter them. Its fun, and I get, most of the time, decent people that are experienced at tasting beer. And if you do good, you get some cool awards. Medals and such, maybe even a plaque! If you do REALLY well, maybe you can brew one of your beers at a professional brewery.

2. Participate in tastings for charity. These are so much fun! Its pretty much like participating in a beer festival. People try your beer, you meet other brewers, you try others beers, meet people, and help a good cause. I have done about 3-4 of these, and they are always a blast!

3. Just trade some beers. There are threads on this website. Start an Instagram and reach out to other home brewers there, and see if they want to trade a few bottles. I have traded with a few people there, and its great. Hit me up if you want to trade some beers (my instagram is in my signature below).

4. Invite people over to your place. Chill, get some food, have some beers. Laugh, have fun.

5. Just bring your beer places. I, for some reason, was always afraid to do this. Until a brewer friend of mine was just like "Yeah man, I always have a clean growler, a cooler and a bag of ice ready to go, just so I can share my beer.". Get a few growlers (If you dont have them already), a decent cooler, and take beer places. Its great fun, and a great way to meet and talk to people. You now have subject matter for your favorite thing, BEER!

I am friends with a couple pro-brewers, and man, I have talked their ears off about wanting to go pro. They tell me to do it! But, for some reason I have a hard time making the leap. Its not like other things or businesses. Beer is different.

Its funny, I sometimes get mad that I chose beer as the thing that I want to be good at and potentially want to make a living at. Why did I pick a thing that isn't profitable without a big investment (in my eyes). Why couldn't I just want to go buy a Cricut, and make iron-on T-shirts for soccer moms and shirts with silly sayings for little kids. But, I chose beer, and I love it. Will I go pro? Maybe one day. Well see. But for now, I will enjoy my beer, and when I can, try to have others enjoy it also!
Great points! I think in my neck of the woods (California) #2 is not legal. Just to distribute one must have licences, etc... Great post. Thanks
 

Maxkling

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I think there is still a place for small batch brewing.

Example: years ago I went to Asheville before the scene really exploded, they were mostly brewpubs with Sabco systems. Now a brewpub is different than a brewery I understand this, but they were really successful with 15-30 gallon systems.

I’m not going to put forth the effort to compare laws a nano breweries vs a brew pubs but it might be a route to lawful small batch brewing.
 

bracconiere

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Its funny, I sometimes get mad that I chose beer as the thing that I want to be good at and potentially want to make a living at.

damn, i always wanted to be a programmer, writing software to make some sort of work easier....now i'm an alcoholic homebrewer...i suck at both.....

and too @IslandLizard in the words of the Spathi from Star Control 2 (a video game from my youth) "Please don't smack me!" lol
 
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