A Beginner’s Guide to Opening a Brewery
BY ADAM PEPKA
So you’re ready to take your bathroom brew to the big leagues. If you’re like many beer brew masters, you have a dream to open your very own brewery complete with food trucks and trendy décor. But opening a brewery is no cake walk. If you want to win the acclaim among your brewing heroes, you need more than just beer. Here are the basics that should serve as the foundation of your brewery.
Have Good Beer
It should go without saying, but it can’t be emphasized enough. Your product not only needs to be good—it needs to be excellent. You need to have complete belief in the worth of your beer. Before you begin, do as much research as possible. Learn all you can about the brewing process, how to make different kinds of beer, and the technology you need to brew beer on the scale you wish to produce. If you can, attend beer networking events and get to know local brewers to learn all you can from them. Established brewers will let you in on techniques and secrets you couldn’t learn from a simple “How-To” manual. You can also learn a lot about the business itself. Finally, practice brewing as much as possible and attend events that allow professional brewers to taste your product. Be open to critiques so you can create a beer that’s unique and polished.
Create a Concept
There are so many breweries in the market today that it can be difficult to stand out. If you want to set yourself apart you need to come up with a creative concept that makes guests remember you. Some large breweries, like Stone Brewing, have full service restaurants with a beer garden. Other small breweries will employ food trucks or other unique food services that attract customers. Get creative by pairing your food with your beer and theme. You should also determine what kind of clientele you wish to attract. If you want to entice the 9 to 5 crowd, establish your brewery central to an industrial area where coworkers can unwind after work. If you want a large venue that can host events, invest in a larger venue.
Purchase a Liquor License
You will have to make a lot of costly investments, but your liquor license is the most crucial. The correct liquor license can make all the difference in the profitability and success of your restaurant. Of course, as a brewery you must at least have a beer and wine license. A beer and wine license guarantees that you can sell both beverages to your guests to be consumed onsite. If you’re a large brewery and restaurant, you may want a license that includes liquor. A beer, wine and liquor license allows you to sell spirits and cocktails. Interested in making beer cocktails? This license is best for you. Hunting for that elusive liquor license can be quite difficult. Each state and county has a limited number of liquor licenses allowed per region, which can make finding a license at a reasonable price seem nearly impossible. Most licenses are in the hands of private sellers and the fluctuating market can make it difficult to find the best offer. If you’re struggling to find the right license for you, consider hiring a service like License Locators, Inc. to help do all of the hard work for you. They will help you find the best deal at a price you can afford so you can set your business off on the right foot.
Consider a Beer Garden
Outdoor dining space is prime property for a brewery. Beer gardens are an opportunity to immerse your customers in a beautiful environment in which they can taste your broad selection of beers. If you have the chance to invest in a beer garden, cultivate the area with lush greens and water fixtures. Many beer gardens have fountains or koi ponds to create a relaxing ambience. You can also install fire pits and string lights. Create an inviting outdoor environment so you’ll become the hotspot for guests during those warm summer nights.
The brewery business is tough but if you plan ahead you can make it a successful venture. Follow these tips and you’ll be well on your way to creating the brewery of your dreams.
Adam Pepka is a beer connoisseur, most often found scouring the world for new brews. Real estate doyen by day, hops maven by night, Pepka currently resides in Tucson, Arizona. His day job keeps him busy, but his passion for truly delicious brews keeps him happy. His passion for writing has found him penning pieces with unique insights on everything from real estate investing to the best Belgian brews.