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Thread: Contract Brewing

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2006

    Contract Brewing

    I have developed an innovative beer recipe and spent considerable time formulating a strategy to brand it and sell it. I am having trouble with two major decisions (I'll post the second one separately as the two may fall in separate categroies):

    Should I use a contract brewer to brew my product? I would like to brew the beer in-house, but I currently do not have a "house" and would have difficulty in obtaining the capital to build one. Other considerations are time - I would like to bring my product to the market as soon as possible to take advantage of certain trends and credibility - I have been brewing at home for over 10 years but lack the expertise that would make a potential distributor feel confident in my ability to deliver (these are all the typical considerations in these discussions I suppose).

    My beer will be targeted towards educated customers, and its success will rely on word-of-mouth marketing. In light of this, I think that my customers might hold it against me if I outsource the production, as it may not be consistent with the message I hope to convey. I know that the quality of the beer would probably be better with a competent contract brewer, but I feel perception is very important in my case. It may be important to note that I am not interested in establishing a brewpub.

    I am currently leaning towards using a contract brewer until I have built up sales and distribution to a point where I can justify the investment in a brewery (and investors are more comfortable lending money). Consumers may not really differentiate this from contract brewing indefinitely, however. If anyone is aware of alternatives or has any experience with taking a beer from contract brewing to in house brewing or even with contract brewing in general, I would greatly appreciate your input.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Henley-on-Thames, England

    Contract Brewing


    If you haven't already, have a read of Beer School by Steve Hindy and Tom Potter of Brooklyn Brewery. I haven't finished it yet, but as far as I can tell, they didn't have a brewery in Brooklyn for a good few years after their launch.

    Jeff Rosenmeier (Rosie)
    Chairman of the Beer
    Lovibonds Brewery Ltd
    Henley-on-Thames, Englandshire
    F: LovibondsBrewery
    T: @Lovibonds

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Contract brewing does not need to be a negative, as long as you are upfront about where the beer is actually brewed. Two good examples of breweries that make great beer and it's brewed somewhere else are Brooklyn and Terrapin in Athens, GA, who brew the beer at Frederick Brewing in Maryland. The downside is that you will not be able to make much money this way. You may be able to establish the brand, but don't count on using the cash flow from contract brewing to establish your own brewery.
    Linus Hall
    Yazoo Brewing
    Nashville, TN

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