Breweries have boomed in popularity in recent years, with even the most humble becoming larger players almost overnight. That’s made it much more attractive to start a brewery. As appealing as it is, however, it takes a lot of work to achieve success.
Simply because the niche is booming doesn’t mean anyone can become a large industry player. You’ll need to know how to start a successful brewery, which can be more complicated than you’d expect.
It doesn’t need to be overwhelming and it certainly isn’t impossible. While you’ll need to put in the work, there are a few steps to take that can better position you for success.
How to how to start a successful brewery
1. Plan Out The Basics
Before you can properly plan out your brewery, you’ll need to cover the basics. Many of these can be quite obvious, although they’re relatively easy to overlook. Everything from brewery floor drain ideas to your sales and marketing strategies will need to be thought of and finalized.
Without these, you’ll have nothing to build on. The major components you’ll need to plan out at the start are:
- Your brewery name and logo.
- Figuring out your startup costs.
- Developing a business plan.
- Choosing a company structure.
- Registering your business.
- Creating financial forecasts.
Figuring out how to start a successful brewery involves taking care of each of these – and much more. You’ll need to plan out as much as you can while also allowing for enough flexibility to adapt, when needed.
While this can seem like an overwhelming process, it’s something you’ll need to get done. It could be worth speaking with a legal professional when you’re doing this, as they can provide much-needed assistance while ensuring everything’s done right..
2. Know How Much It Costs
Starting a brewery costs anywhere between $500,000 and $1 million, although this can vary dramatically depending on your specific circumstances. Location, equipment needs, production levels, and more can all have a significant impact on how much it costs to start your brewery.
You’ll need to be prepared for these and have a budget in place for them, which will be vital for obtaining any outside funding you might need. If you find that the costs of starting a brewery are too large, you could always consider starting a microbrewery. While that’ll mean taking longer to grow to the size you want, it’ll be a more cost-effective approach.
That can also be recommended if you have relatively little experience running a microbrewery and want to take a less risky approach. You can scale this up over time to become a full-scale brewery in a sustainable manner.
3. Create Your Brand
With the wealth of competitors you’ll have, you’ll need to stand out. Perhaps the most effective way of doing so is by having a brand. When you’re creating this, you’ll need to make sure that it’s eye-catching and appeals to your target market.
Developing an attractive aesthetic is a key part to this. You should determine what your main competitors are doing and aim to go with something a bit different. Doing so will help you grab your potential customers’ attention much better than you otherwise would have.
Your marketing materials should be complementary to this branding and work to enhance it.p
4. Put Together Your Business Plan
A business plan is vital to your brewery, regardless of whether or not you already know how to put it together. You’ll need to spend time on this to make sure it’s as comprehensive as possible. It’ll be vital to obtaining funding, alongside guiding you on your business journey.
You’ll need to have multiple sections in this, including:
- An Executive Summary – The most important part of your business plan, it summarizes its main points.
- A Business Overview – As the name suggests, this includes your company’s basic information.
- A Company Description – A more in-depth outline of your business goals, including its goals, visions, mission statement, and more.
- Market, Consumer, and Competitor Analyses – An in-depth view of your market and main competitors.
- Marketing – An outline of how you’ll advertise your brewery.
- Financials – One of the more important parts of your business plan, it includes your forecasted expenses, profits, and more.
It can take you quite a while to put together your business plan, as you’ll need to perform a lot of research beforehand. The time investment is more than worth it, however, as it helps you obtain funding while letting you determine the best path forward for your company.
5. Get All Of Your Equipment
Getting brewing equipment is one of the most fundamental parts of starting the company. It’ll also be one of your largest costs, so you’ll need to make sure you get the right equipment for you. You should make sure it’s high-quality to ensure you can maintain the quality of your beer, alongside sustain operations.
When you’re choosing your brewing equipment, you’ll need to keep several factors in mind, including:
- The available space in your brewery, alongside whether you’ll be expanding.
- What your production levels will be.
- Whether you want specific brands.
- If new or used options will be more appropriate.
The cost of your brewery equipment will likely take up a significant part of your budget. You’ll need to put in the research time and speak with vendors to get the right option for you. While cost will be a large part of your decision, remember to keep value in mind when you’re deciding, alongside each of the above factors.
Maintenance, durability, and other elements will also play a role in this, so make sure to spend time researching and making sure you get the right equipment for you.
6. Manage The Legalities
Like any other business, you’ll need to get through multiple legalities when starting your brewery. There can be more of these than you’re aware of, although they can often vary from state to state. Typically, you should expect to need a:
- Federal Brewer’s Permit
- State Liquor License
- Brewer’s Bond
- Operating Agreement
- Retailer’s License
Without obtaining these, you run the risk of hefty fines, alongside the possibility of being shut down. Avoiding that is a necessity, so it’s best to obtain them as early as you can. It might be worth hiring a legal professional for this, especially if you haven’t been through the process before.
It’s easy to make mistakes when you’re managing the legalities. These can be costly to fix, so make sure you get them done right the first time.
Top Tips For Starting A Successful Brewery
Once you know how to start a successful brewery, it’s tempting to jump straight in. You should take a step back before doing so; being as informed as possible before starting your brewery is vital to achieving success.
Keeping a few tips in mind when you’re doing so is recommended, with these including:
- Know Your Market – While you’ll already have a passion for brewing before starting your brewery, that mightn’t be enough to carry you to success. You’ll need to know your market as intimately as possible to ensure you can properly position your company. That includes knowing what potential customers’ needs and wants are, what your competitors are doing, and more.
- Understand The Distribution Process – Making a great beer is one thing; getting it to people is quite another. You’ll need to fully understand the distribution process, especially if you plan on growing nationally. You have to know how to get your beer from the brewery to the bars, restaurants, and retailers. It’s best to start local with this until you understand how to scale effectively and sustainably.
- Have A Niche – With how large the beer industry has become, even with the niche brewery scene, your brewery will have a lot of competition. You’ll need to know how to stand out. While your brand helps with this, you’ll also need to find a niche. You mightn’t gain much traction against leading industry players that make pilsner-style ales. You could, however, gain a decent market share by focusing on dark, fruit-flavored ales.
Starting a successful business takes a lot of work and will take time. You’ll need to manage multiple things while ensuring everything is going as smoothly as possible. As vital as each of the above steps are, keeping a few tips in mind can be as important.
To properly position yourself for success, you’ll need to be as prepared and informed as possible. Once you are, you shouldn’t have a problem starting a successful brewery.
How To Start A Successful Brewery: Wrapping Up
Figuring out how to start a successful brewery can seem overwhelming. There are multiple moving parts to worry about, both figuratively and literally. You’ll need to juggle quite a few things, but it can be more achievable than you’d expect.
While there’ll still be hard work and persistence needed, you can get there in a simpler way than you’d expect. By keeping the above in mind, you shouldn’t have a problem starting a brewery that generates a decent return on investment.