Breweries have grown far more popular over recent years as more people have taken an interest in drinking microbrews. Similar to wine tasting rooms, microbreweries have gained a following with limited-edition beers, specialty brews, tasting events, and brewery tours. If you have a love for beer and a desire to share that love with others, opening a brewery may be the ideal business for you.
Here are seven steps to follow when opening a brewery.
1. Learn about other breweries in the area to see what works and what doesn’t
Networking with other shop owners will help you learn a lot about the day-to-day operations, as well as some significant decisions or problems you may not have thought of on your own. Getting to know other shop owners will also enable you to get involved in the local brewery community.
2. Choose your initial microbrews
There is no rule stating you can’t try different things and experiment once your brewery opens and you are more comfortable in the business. But when you are just starting out, you should do the research and determine ahead of time the beers you plan to make and offer when you open so you can focus on perfecting your methods for those beers. The company Microbrewery is an expert in everything related to craft beer, breweries, the brewing process, and all the different types of beers, so they are an excellent resource for your research and ongoing needs as you get started.
3. Research everything you need to know to develop your business plan
Loving microbrews and knowing how to run a brewery are two very different things. Your research should include all the costs associated with brewing including equipment, supplies, and raw materials. Brewing equipment alone will consist of kettles, boilers, kegs, bottling lines, labeling machines, storage tanks, and fermentation tanks. It should also include the ongoing business expenses of running a brewery, including staffing. You will need to decide if you are going to run a full restaurant or an abbreviated version with a smaller menu. Once you make that decision, you will also need to research everything that goes with running a restaurant. You will need to research all the rules and regulations associated with opening and running a brewery.
4. Write your business plan
The business plan should include all the pertinent information gathered from your research, including a detailed budget, information regarding vendors, an outline of your marketing plan, the proposed structure of your business, and operational policies and procedures. The more research you put into the business plan, the more helpful it will be to you later. The business plan serves two valuable roles: First, it can be utilized to pursue business loans to investors. The second is it can be used as a blueprint as you start your business. Once you start moving forward, things may move quickly and feel overwhelming.
5. Pursue funding for your new business
With all of your research done and spelled out in your business plan, you can pursue the financing you will need to get started. It is estimated that the cost of opening a brewery starts at $250,000, but can be upward of $2.5 million. Your proposed funding route should be detailed in your business plan.
6. Put your plan into action
Once you get the funding you need, the only thing left to do is put your plan into action. Go back to your business plan, start contacting vendors and suppliers, set up your location, work on hiring your staff, and make sure you apply for all necessary permits and inspections.
7. Plan a grand opening tasting event
Since microbreweries are as unique as the brews they offer, planning a grand opening tasting event is vital to get people to check out your business and get a sampling of what you have to offer.