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Thread: Startup

  1. #1
    Jeff Lockhart Guest

    Unhappy Startup

    I know this is going to seem like a really naive question, but is there a general plan for setting up the brewery? What I mean is, what do I do first? I have the company, name , basic recipes and a general idea of where, what and how much. Plus a decent start on a business plan. What I don't know is what order do I really need to be doing this in.

    Any help would be appreciated, I'm feeling a bit overwhelmed right now if you can't tell. I'm in GA if that helps.

    Thanks in advance,
    Jeff

    does this make sense at all? AAAAAAARRRRRRRRGGGGGHhhh!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2002
    Location
    USA/Taiwan
    Posts
    32
    Sounds like you need a consultant

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2003
    Location
    Hayward, CA, USA
    Posts
    13

    Start Up

    The First Order of Business is to get your hands on a brewery planner from IBS in Colorado(3034470816). They are also very helpful if your a member. Then you need to raise the capital, but you need to have completed your business plan and visited your state and local agencies.( City, ATF, State alcohol, Fire dept etc.) This info along with demographics of your local should be included in your BP. Once you have the capital in hand hire a consultant or brewmaster that has been involved in a start up before. This will save you huge bucks!!!(Brewers Publications, Division of the Association of brewers, PO Box 1679, Boulder, CO 80306-1679,Tel3034470816)

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2003
    Location
    Austin, Texas
    Posts
    351
    Good thread here:

    http://www.probrewer.com/vbulletin/s...&threadid=1554

    Some things to do:

    1. Raise the money. Lots of it. At least three times what you think you need.
    2. Find the location.
    3. Get all the necessary permits.
    4. Get the needed equipment.
    5. Brew a lot of test batches at home, and bottle them for sales samples!
    6. Arrange your distribution, and line up your initial accounts.
    7. BATF!
    8. Brew your first batches. Prayer optional.
    9. Sell your first GOOD beer.
    10. Keep on brewing...

    Cheers, Tim

    ps - feel free to contact me if you need a consultant!
    Last edited by tarmadilo; 05-25-2004 at 07:20 PM.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2004
    Location
    Los Angeles, CA
    Posts
    2
    I print gang runs of paper labels and pressure sensitive labels for beer and other beverages. Please send me an email if I can be of service.
    www.r-dprint.com

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2002
    Location
    USA/Taiwan
    Posts
    32
    Tarmadilo usually gives good advice, but this time I'm gonna have to disagree. Unless you have a home brewery that really kicks some serious ass and I've seen 1 in my entire life, then I'd refrain from homebrewing commercial samples. You only get one chance to make a first impression as the saying goes. If you're giving samples to friends and family to try to show them your enthusiasm, great. If your going to potential accounts to try to get them to buy your products, WHOA there big fella. This is a business, not a hobby. These are professionals with whom you are competing.

    Just a thought.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jun 2003
    Location
    Austin, Texas
    Posts
    351
    I guess I should be more specific!

    My suggestion is to brew small test batches to zero in on recipes, and use the beer from the batches you're planning on duplicating for samples. We did this at one startup, and it helped us line up several accounts before we had any product. I made the sales calls with our owner/salesman, and we were very careful to explain that this was beer brewed in very small test batches, and that our full-scale brewery-brewed beer would probably be similar but not identical.

    Having something tasty for them to drink while talking directly to the brewer gave us a lot more credibility to potential accounts!

    It's essential to be able to brew consistently and accurately reproduce the smaller batch beers! This goes to what Ted said, and I'd note that I was an experienced professional brewer when I did that.

    Cheers, Tim
    Last edited by tarmadilo; 05-26-2004 at 07:25 AM.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Oct 2003
    Location
    Santa Rosa CA USA
    Posts
    962
    If you want to not just open a brewery but also be successful, I would stop all your plans immediately, and get a job in the type of brewery you wish to start. If you have no clue what sort of planning it takes, you will probably have no clue about operations either. The knowledge gained from one year of volunteering or even getting paid in a brewery will save you at least a third of start-up costs, steer you in a more viable direction, and perhaps keep you from jumping off a bridge.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Oct 2002
    Location
    Davis, CA, USA
    Posts
    1
    Jeff,

    I run Beer Czar Consulting and provide management and marketing services to craft breweries. Please see www.beerczar.com for complete information. I would be happy to help you in any way I can.

    -Adam
    530/400-8297
    Adam Persson
    Beer Czar Consulting
    Management and Marketing Consulting for the Craft Brewing Industry

  10. #10
    Jeff Lockhart Guest
    Wow, thanks to all of you. This place is great! Lots of good info to mull over. Some may be hearing from me in the future about the consulting. I was just feeling a bit overwhelmed and needed to vent my frusrtation. I'm doing this by myself and the info. overload finally caught up.

    All of this is info. I need. Jay and Tarmadilo, thanks for the step by step.

    Moonlight, that is a very good sugestion and I agree with you 100%. I've been working for SweetWater BC for 4+ years (part time) and although I haven't brewed for them, I have done most everything else a couple of times. As well as plumbing, wiring (a bit) and repairing / maintaining most of their equipment as they expanded.

    If they weren't so busy now, with the new place, I wouldn't hesitate to use their knowledge. They have been supportive when they can and I hope to pick Kevin's brain in the future.

    Anyway, forgive my rambling and I look forward to talking with those who have offered their services.

    Jeff

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Oct 2002
    Posts
    21

    startup

    Definately sounds like you need to talk to a consultant before you do anything else. Choose one carefully. I've been involved in a number of start-ups. Contact me if I can be of any assistance.

    Doug

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
    Posts
    6
    It needs to be stated that hiring a consultant doesn't necessarily take all the blood sweat and tears out of starting a micro. Jeff, I would suggest that you do a lot more research - which it sounds like you are doing - and prepare yourself to take as much control of your business as you can - which in my own experience can be quite a lot. For example, a consultant can't give your brewery the 'look' which you are after - I'm talking about labelling of product etc. You as managing director need to form very strong opinions about everything, and see them carried out. If you do hire a consultant, hire carefully - This industry, like any other, is full of people who think they know, who have the best intentions, and who are incompetant when it comes to running successful businesses. You will make mistakes, because you have never done it before. The mistakes I have made occurred under the watchful eye of well meaning consultants -

    I hired a hose and pump guy to design a set up for transferring from tank to tank - the fittings were a disaster, and I was left feeling that if I had done the research and the work myself, I would have saved a couple of thousand, and would have had a better result, made some useful wholesale equipment contacts, and been in a better position.

    Consultants are very good at spending your money, but remember, you probably only get one go at this, so you need to do it right. The most valuable information you can glean comes from those who have tread the path before you. I am yet to meet a brewer or owner who won't offer advice and share his/her experiences with you. Brewers are wonderful people like that, and this advice is free - we are all just primarily interested in better beer.

    Good luck, it sounds like you are on the right path - asking questions on probrewer.

    Mr Brau

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Location
    Nashville
    Posts
    681
    Yeah, what David said...
    Linus Hall
    Yazoo Brewing
    Nashville, TN
    [url]www.yazoobrew.com[/url]

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Florence, Oregon, USA
    Posts
    350
    Quote Originally Posted by lhall
    Yeah, what David said...
    Why reply to a thread from 2004? Oh, well; it is good start up information and contains some spot-on advise. Too bad the forum doesn't have a library where threads of significant value can be moved to!

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Nov 2002
    Location
    Polson, Montana, USA
    Posts
    1,089
    Very good insights.

    I would add that one of the first steps to begin AND complete is your business plan. This, often-overlooked, document is the plan and roadmap (at least the first three-five years) of your potential business. You need to determine what type of brewery you'll be (production, brewpub, kegs, bottling, tap room, etc), you'll need to establish a product line with beer names, labels, marketing, reasons why those beer types will succeed where you are. You'll need to establish your production hardware (size, capacity, needs, potential). Where will the business be and what local, regional, interstate, etc market are you going for and why. Where is your money coming from? In reality, not "I'll find investors". Trying to convince anyone, from your mother to the SBA, to loan or grant you several hundred-thousands of dollars is a real neat trick even with a bombproof biz plan and financials. In my opinion, biz plan needs to be at least 89% complete before you further any other aspect. But ditto what others have said, especially raise three times as much capital as you think you'll need, breweries tend to be money hungry.
    As my experience has hammered into my brain; it's not that you planned to fail, you just failed to plan.
    Luck to ya'
    Dave

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