How to start a brewery: tips from 4 founders and owners

With the growing number of craft breweries, maybe it’s time to consider opening your own brewery. But there are a lot of things to consider before you dive in – market saturation, your personal industry experience, and the overall cost are just a few of the main considerations.

We broke down some industry numbers on the craft beer scene and spoke to experts in the field to ask them what they would like to know before opening their own breweries.

In this article we will cover:

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Brewery opening and closing statistics

The Brewers Association Annual Reportstates that there were 8,764 breweries, taprooms, microbreweries and regional breweries in the United States in 2020. And while retail sales of craft beers fell 22% to $ 22.2 billion, that’s largely due to an increase in packaged beer sales in 2020 and a decrease in restaurant and bar sales, which have higher markup.

And while overall dollar sales were on the decline, the number of newly opened breweries and bars outnumbered those that were closed permanently, showing that there is still a strong demand for locally made craft beers.

Number of craft breweries in the United States by type

Source: Brewers Association

Statistics of the craft brewing industry

Additional statistics from the Brewers Association report include:

  • Craft beer accounted for 12.3% of the total beer market, including 19.5% for imported beers and 68.2% for other domestic varieties.
  • In 2020, taprooms (9.9%) and large non-craft breweries (8.1%) saw the strongest growth, while microbreweries (1.8%) and breweries (1.5%) saw the strongest growth. experienced the slowest growth.
  • The only segment that posted negative growth was regional craft breweries (-8.3%).

Millennials are the target customers of breweries

  • Be active on social networks:62% of millennials are more likely to become loyal customers if they interact with your brand online.
  • Offer flights and promotions:Millennials have lower disposable income due to lower wages and increased student debt.
  • To be involved: 67% say they are more interested in supporting a brand that gives back to the community.

How much does it cost to open a brewery?

Start-up costs can vary widely depending on the size of your brewery, whether you want it to be a brewery only or a brewery, and location. Incfile estimates it will cost between $ 250,000 and $ 2.5 millionto open a new brewery, taking into account the following costs.

  • Brewing equipment (from $ 100,000 to $ 1 million) such as kegs, kettles, boilers, bottling or canning lines, labeling machines, fermentation tanks, storage tanks, etc.
  • The lease or rental on your space.
  • The amount of construction you will need to do in your new space, including things like plumbing, flooring, electrical upgrades, bar and / or kitchen construction, decorations, light fixtures, furniture and more.
  • Licenses to serve and brew alcohol, serve food, and possibly more, depending on your location.
  • A bar point of sale systemto help you manage staff, track loyalty rewards, accept online orders and more.

How to start a brewery: tips from four founders

We asked four brewery owners to tell us what advice they would give someone looking to break into the industry and what they would like to know before starting their business.

Get to know the craft beer industry

Cooper:Spend time ahead of time getting to know others in the craft beer community. Spend time at local breweries and pick the brains of everyone who works there, from the guy who cleans the toilets to the business owner.

Create a brewery business plan

Seto:Have a really solid plan and try to account for as many bumps in the road as you can. Things never turn out exactly the way you plan thembut having a really solid plan and sticking to it helps when problems arise.

When we first started our business, we had tons of schedule issues, equipment failures, and technology issues. This has sometimes resulted in problems with our customers. I can’t stress how important it is to be prepared for anything and be prepared for the worst. Business for us today is much smoother operationally and that makes all the difference in the world.

Get industry experience before going on your own

Roth:The first thing I recommend to anyone starting a business is to first make sure they have experience in the industry. Getting behind a bar in a tasting room, spending time following a professional brewer, meeting an executive in a brewery to understand finances – the more hands-on experience you have as an owner, the faster you can diagnose issues , earn the trust of your staff and, for those seeking capital, give you the training in the space that will be necessary to attract investors.

What I would like to know before opening a brewery

Cooper:I wish I had my own financial house in order. My previous career was in the mining industry and I knew I wanted to make the change. I was paying off a personal debt while planning to open a brewery.

One day I was fired from my job (for bringing homebrews to coworkers) and instead of looking for another job, I chose to devote all my efforts to opening a brewery. On several occasions during startup and opening I had to forgo a salary to pay something for the business and started a game of “What bill can I lay down this month?” “

Seto:There are a lot of things I wish I had known before HolyCraft started, but the most important would be distribution and packaging costs. Distribution in the beer world is quite complex and expensive, as is the packaging. It would have been much more helpful to have a sense of all these separate costs of making and selling beer.

As HolyCraft grew we could no longer self-distribute from personal cars because the demand was too high. The cost of a distributor and their willingness to help also play a big his consideration. The results are not always positive, and knowing that it would have helped us to better plan around these situations.

Schwarz:Make sure you have a solid business plan and good corporate documents. It is important to put them in place and complete them correctly so that everyone involved knows what the roadmap is and how to deal with disagreements if they arise.

Roth:This may not apply to many others, but we started our own distribution company and I would have liked to spend more time in this spacebefore embarking on this business. We ended up building this business really well, but we made a ton of mistakes early on that could have been avoided had I known what I know now.

5 ways to make your brewery tasting experience stand out

For a guest, one of the best parts of visiting a new brewery is a tasting, where they can taste all that you have to offer. Here are five tips to make your brewery tasting experience stand out from the crowd.

1. Hire the best “beer makers”

The real success or breakdown of an entire tasting depends heavily on your beer. You want someone who knows your beers and the industry as a whole, who has a friendly and social personality. A good conversation with a bartender will create a positive experience and many lifelong customers.

2. Have something special on hand

Having a selection of specialties that customers can’t get in bars or liquor stores is a great way to bring them to your tasting room. Host exclusive tastings at the Experimental Small Batch Brewery or invite guests to taste a seasonal beer a few months before its release. Don’t forget to promote!

3. Give people as many options as possible

Offer anyone who has finished a tasting a reduction on a flight or half-verses. Maybe they didn’t find anything they really liked in the first round, so give them as many opportunities as possible to find their favorite.

4. Set the mood for your brewery

Do you want to run a brasserie and offer full meals or do you prefer a ‘hanging out in the basement playing pinball’ vibe? If you’re not sure which way you want to go, take a look at the demographics of the area you want to open and what other breweries are doing nearby. Find out what is missing and how you can fill it.

5. Let the guests take the experience home.

The limited edition beers you have on tap will draw guests in, so let them take that part of the experience home. Give away special growlers or mixed six-packs so they can bring back their favorites to share with friends and family. This allows them to share their tasting experience with others and create free word of mouth advertising for you.

Along with the customer experience, the right technology partner helps streamline day-to-day operations so you can focus on what really matters: your staff, your guests, and your beer. Talk to one of our experts today to find out more how Lightspeed can help you.


Lightspeed Commerce Inc. published this content on November 02, 2021 and is solely responsible for the information it contains. Distributed by Public, unedited and unmodified, on 02 November 2021 14:39:07 UTC.

About Michael B. Billingsley

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