Advice on opening a brew pub
A very close friend of mine got into home brewing about 4 years ago and absolutely loves every aspect of it. He lives now in MN and I in the New York metro area. He recently visited me and wanted to see some micro brew establishments and some brew pubs. We went to a few. Long story short, he knows I've been scouting to open an upscale sports bar/lounge for awhile and suggested I might look into opening a brew pub instead with that theme. He thought there was definite room for more in the area and thought it would work great in my neighborhood.
I've been doing some research on the subject and have become facinated by the beer brewing process - but I have absolutely no insight to the business of a micro brew establishment. I do know the bar business fairly well though.
1. Would this be too big of an undertaking for a person not familiar with the biz and one who has never been involved in brewing before?
2. Was thinking a 10BBL system would be the perfect size - any thoughts? Have seen some used Bavarian systems for sale and wondered if anyone was familiar with their systems? Also are they recommended. On the brewing scale, how do they rate and what are some other names are considered good systems - taking into consideration both quaility and price.
3. For a small to medium bar would 1 employee for the brewing be sufficient? Best to pay hourly or by salery?
4. Since my knowledge is very limited is it best to hire a brew master to help with the set up or to hire consultants for that just to get up and running?
5. This would be for consumption at the establishment and not for distribution - are ther any special laws or government policy about brew pubs? I realize distribution is a whole other animal.
6. Can any one suggest any other resources for information about opening brew pubs - costs involved, equipment, profit margins, supplies, etc. I would be interested in web sites, books, etc.
Thanks so much for any input. This is a very exciting subject and would love to follow up on it further, but as a business person, I also realize that how interesting a subject is does not mean it translates into a successful business. There seems to be an overwelming amount of information about how brewing is done and I do not want to bite off something that might be too much for someone with limited knowledge to turn into something successful - even if there is a place for this niche in my area.
The first steps I would take is to talk to current owners of brewpubs in your area. Also, contact the BATF (now the TTB) and have them send you the packet of forms you need to start a brewery. After that, I'd get ahold of "The Brewery Planner". Probably available through the Institute of Brewing Studies or Amazon. Beyond that......GOOD LUCK!
Thanks for the info.... I will definitely look into the book and I would not have thought of contacting the TTB... thanks for the good advice and thanks for your help.
I have a free copy
I have a copy of the "Brewery Planner" that I am willing to send you gratis, if you email me with your address. I no longer need it and there is no sense in you spending a bunch of money for it.