What to Know Before Starting a Brewery

With the success of so many micro-breweries, many beer connoisseurs are wondering if their own home brew might be good enough to go public.

It’s More Than Just Making Beer

Perhaps the first thing you should know before opening a brewery is that you’ll often feel like you’re not making beer. Often, you’ll feel like you opened a janitorial service. The reason is that brewing beer involves cleaning. A lot of cleaning. Kegs, tanks, hoses, drains – the floor – everything has to be cleaned all the time.

It’s also a lot of paperwork. You have to keep records on everything you do so that any slight variation in the beer can be checked in the brewing log.

If you think opening a brewery is about drinking beer, forget it. It’s about cleaning and data entry and sometimes sipping the beer for quality control.

Know The Industry

The process of opening a brewery is also more difficult and longer than most people think because it is one of the most heavily regulated and taxed industries. Because it typically takes longer than you expect to get the first six bottles filled and out the door, many brewers faced the problem of undercapitalization. Most microbrewers will tell you that you need to have more funding than you probably expect.

Maintaining quality beer is also vital because competition is so heavy. Micro-breweries in 2015 made up 8 percent of the market, and that number is continuing to grow.

Having a clear understanding of the supply chain network is also important.

The good news is, most micro-brewers say that starting out you should plan to have to expand sooner rather than later. Because new micro-brews are so popular in the marketplace, many brewers find that their capacity can’t meet initial demand. Planning in advance for the necessity to expand is important, because when the time comes, if you have a plan, you’ll be able to respond quickly.

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