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View Full Version : Starting a Nano Brewery- Different Perspectives on How it can be done



portland_kettleworks
08-20-2015, 04:22 PM
The purpose of this thread is to focus on the different business models and success we have seen in the craft brewing industry while brewing on a nano system. We define this as a brewery that has a five bbl or smaller brewhouse. Though the majority of our customers' stories are using our Hop Master 3.5 bbl steam system. For anyone who is interested in starting their own nano brewery we try to offer guidance and answer questions that you may have. We are also going to post summaries of our different nano client and invite them to further elaborate on their business and also offer guidance.

The first client we will bring into this conversation is Old Bus Brewing in San Francisco, California. Please feel free to read about them with the link below and ask any questions you may have.

http://portlandkettleworks.com/make-sure-you-hop-on-this-bus/



Portland Kettle Works
503-236-4500
http://portlandkettleworks.com/

JWbrew
08-21-2015, 08:36 PM
The link is dead

admin
08-21-2015, 09:00 PM
Both links work for me.

JWbrew
08-22-2015, 09:27 PM
Hmm, I still get a blank page, I'll try from my computer and see what happens

wlw33
09-14-2015, 05:32 PM
We run a 1.5 bbl brewhouse as a two man operation. If you are OK with working full time elsewhere and working full time at the brewery, start here. Otherwise go larger.
Our mission has been to create a brewery in a sustainable way while we basically learn the industry. We started as home brewers (probably obvious) and are pretty much home brewers who are licensed to sell. We sell most of our beer in growlers and have a few tap accounts for brand recognition.
We do not advertise outside of social media, but our presence there is pretty considerable in my opinion.
We opened July of last year and are in the planning stages for our first expansion this fall/winter/spring. We are in planning to add a new partner whose contribution will help with the expansion, as well as seeking financing/grants/etc. We started the brewery self funded with a couple fairly lame crowd funding campaigns and operate under minimal debt (we have a credit card with a $2k limit that we are pretty much always at). Obviously, tiny.
I will say that with a year of "guerilla marketing" and some big successes and failures in quality we have come a long way and can justify our expansion.
This route is not for the faint of heart, but we do it because we enjoy it (and have other paying jobs)
Our hope is that within the next year we can go full time at the brewery.
Cheers

populuxe
09-15-2015, 07:52 AM
1.5bbl brewery here with 20bbls of fermentation capacity. I do around 25 to 30 bbls of volume monthly, with 80% of that out of the tasting room in the summer down to 60% in the winter. 2.5 years in and I still have my day job.

I miss my wife, and my dog. I think I have sciatica? Is that a thing? The pain is crippling but I don't notice it as much these days since my wrists and elbows started hurting. It keeps me up at night but since I'm only at home for about 6 hours a day I'm not missing out on much.

Seriously though, if the quality of the beer is there, you can never make enough. The only real question is, how much beer is enough for you to quit the day job? I live in Seattle which is a very expensive city. I appreciate the Amazon, Google, Microsoft and Facebook engineers who come into my tasting room to drink, but those folks also represent the "average" salary in this city and you've got to sell a lot of beer if you want to match that.

If I had to do it over again I would not have gotten the 1.5. It's just too small and there's been too much time between startup and quitting the day job. 3.5 and doubling into 7s at the very least. I got the doors open at my place for about 30k, but I wonder how many years I shaved off my life with that bargain basement price.

I've got a 7bbl brew house now and plan to brew on it for the 1st time next week. I've got room for a 15 and 7bbl fv bringing my total fv to 40ish with the old plastic conicals still in play. No more nano, and with luck, no more day job.

sharperbrewer
09-17-2015, 04:08 PM
1.5bbl brewery here with 20bbls of fermentation capacity. I do around 25 to 30 bbls of volume monthly, with 80% of that out of the tasting room in the summer down to 60% in the winter. 2.5 years in and I still have my day job.

I miss my wife, and my dog. I think I have sciatica? Is that a thing? The pain is crippling but I don't notice it as much these days since my wrists and elbows started hurting. It keeps me up at night but since I'm only at home for about 6 hours a day I'm not missing out on much.

Seriously though, if the quality of the beer is there, you can never make enough. The only real question is, how much beer is enough for you to quit the day job? I live in Seattle which is a very expensive city. I appreciate the Amazon, Google, Microsoft and Facebook engineers who come into my tasting room to drink, but those folks also represent the "average" salary in this city and you've got to sell a lot of beer if you want to match that.

If I had to do it over again I would not have gotten the 1.5. It's just too small and there's been too much time between startup and quitting the day job. 3.5 and doubling into 7s at the very least. I got the doors open at my place for about 30k, but I wonder how many years I shaved off my life with that bargain basement price.

I've got a 7bbl brew house now and plan to brew on it for the 1st time next week. I've got room for a 15 and 7bbl fv bringing my total fv to 40ish with the old plastic conicals still in play. No more nano, and with luck, no more day job.

Without getting to "in your business" I am curious to know how the numbers break down.

My wife and I are in the early planning stages of a brewery of the same size and with the numbers we've come up with for overhead, 25 bbls a month works. Our plan does include expanding after the first year, but the 1.5 bbl model seems to work.
We have always had our own businesses, so I feel like we know what it takes to get something up and running, although this is a new field for us.
Any and all info. and advice is greatly appreciated,

Thanks in advance,

Scott