[This article was written by Hannah Whittenly.]
As a fan of craft beers, the thought of starting a microbrewery business may have crossed your mind more than once. Since the late 20th century, a craft beer revolution has been brewing across the United States, and this has resulted in hundreds of new breweries opening each year. Sadly, many craft beer startups get stuck because of miscalculations. With this in mind, here are four steps to craft beer success:
Learn the Business
There is a significant difference between making an oatmeal stout in your kitchen and actually operating a brewery. Even if you expand to your garage because your friends love your stout recipes, you would still be far from feeling what running a brewery business is about. To really learn about this industry, you should read books such as “Beyond the Pale,” which deals with the history of the legendary Sierra Nevada brewery.
Consider the Equipment
As of 2018, the tiniest American microbreweries producing only about a barrel a month did so with $100,000 worth of equipment. The equipment required to produce a barrel per day would cost around a million dollars if purchased brand new. Thankfully, used brewing equipment tends to be plentiful and affordable, and quite a few banks offer equipment financing at reasonable terms.
Research the Supplies You Will Need
Successful master brewers will tell you that working with the right suppliers is vital to your brewing operations. For this reason, getting connected with a manufacturer, like Saniclean Strainers, should be one of your top priorities so that you can get a hold of high quality equipment that will help you to produce a high quality brew.
It is often recommended to work with disposable supplies to ensure that your recipes always taste fresh. When you start out brewing small batches at home, you will notice that reusing kits often creates a musky aroma and a pungent flavor. For this reason, you should use disposable filter socks for strainers instead of the washable kind.
Research Possible Locations
If you go on a brewery tour, you may notice that many of these establishments are very spacious, and there is a good explanation for all this space. It is not unusual for a craft beer brand to become an overnight hit, thus pushing breweries to increase production tenfold. If you do not include potential expansion in your business plan, you will get stuck and a competitor will take advantage of the situation with a similar recipe.
In the end, you should not let the complexities of the craft beer industry get in the way of fulfilling your brewing dreams. The key is to gain momentum based on the current demand for craft and artisanal beer.
Hannah Whittenly is a freelance writer and mother of two from Sacramento, CA. She enjoys kayaking and reading books by the lake.