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mongo
11-03-2006, 10:06 AM
Hi,

I'm looking for the state that's most hospitable to new microbreweries, in your opinion. Specifically, which state or states have the least regulation and number of hoops to jump through to open a new micro?

Cheers,

K

frigatebay
11-03-2006, 10:09 AM
I have no idea but judging by the # of breweries Colorado and California maybe? Seems like some state are easier than others in that people have bee able to open breweries in former residential areas, ie their garage.

CallerFromLA
11-03-2006, 10:39 AM
My understanding of the chain brewpubs is that opening a California restaurant is a tough proposition these days. They are slowing down their California openings. The obstacles?

- Workers Comp. A few years ago, workers comp was a broken-system in California. It's getting better, but still is expensive, and can be a risk.
- Insurance. Due to the number of illegal immigrants and uninsured people, the cost of healthcare is high.
- Labor. Finding inexpensive, skilled labor that can LEGALLY work gets more difficult the more south you go in California. Once you find a legal worker, there can be a tremendous amount of forms to fill out. Foreign-born labor sometimes just leave without a two-week notice.

Having said that, I would like to open a brewery in California - I just thought I'd give fair warning.

Cheers,
--Jake Tringali

Michael Murphy
11-03-2006, 10:46 AM
PA has some good perks to owning a brewery. for instance if you want to open a production brewery your allowed a bar with food served, no liquor license needed, Of course you could only sell your beer and perhaps some wine. great for cash flow!
Much better than NJ laws

AlexisScarlett
11-03-2006, 11:07 AM
State regulations are just half of the battle!

Colorado is probably one of the moderate states as far as regulation for a microbrewery. And more than semi-lax regulation, it seems we have very lax enforcement (don't tell Liquor Enforcement I said that! they have been very helpful so far and I don't want to see them at my door unless to have a beer)
Colorado has had several years of budget cuts and has not spent money on inspectors in general. While that means you maybe able to do more-- it also means that meal you eat and that elevator you are riding on has not been inspected

City reg's on health, zoning, water use, and cost of business are perhaps paramount in Colorado with weaker state regulatory agencies. The regulations and licensing on a city level can be daunting and idiosyncratic. But at city level-- you usually can speak to the people directly that are compelling certain actions.

Just pursue a brewery not a brewpub because the hassle of food increases your input($$$) and regulations exponentially. And I would rather take a bullet than have waitstaff!

More than regulations though, you want a state and a city that will be loving and drinking the beer. Colorado is good for the loving! A good market is worth learning pages of liquor law and zoning requirements and effluent limits!

tsewong73
11-03-2006, 11:11 AM
Hey, I'll second that about Pennsylvania. I'm starting a brewery in PA right now. Your brewer's license allows you to self-distribute and retail your own beer. You can also get a separate retail license if you want to sell wine, liquor and other people's beers. Plus, there's a big push in PA to attract new business to the state. There are plenty of financing programs offered by state and local governments as well as some grants.
Pennsylvania's blue laws can be a real bummer, though. I've lived in PA, VA and MA, and PA, by far, has the most restrictive blue laws that consumers and retailers have to follow that I've experienced. They end up restricting the choices that retailers and consumers have. Sucky.

Tsewong

Wyrdbrew
11-03-2006, 12:52 PM
Another concern would be the beer market. There are places, even fairly metropolitin places, where craft beer isn't popular. One could think of these places as being untapped markets but then again you might struggle there.

In Toledo, OH there is only one brew pub that I'm aware of. Toledo is a rather large town not to have more than one brewery.

I think the state of VT has about the same population as Toledo. We have nearly 20 brew pubs and several production breweries. A number of the pubs are in towns with a population of less than 5,000. Even Joe Sixpack drinks Harpoon here.

MattB
12-05-2006, 06:03 AM
Does anyone know if Colorado is a self distribute state for microbreweries? I know it is for a brewpub license. Thanks in advance.

As far as toledo goes, there has been many pubs to come through and go out of business too. Blackswamp brewing is gone, whatever there was on holland-sylvania is gone. I think maumee bay is still there. It might be a decent sized city, but its very very blue collar.

matt

frigatebay
12-05-2006, 06:34 AM
I would say yes. Several micros also have distribution companies.

MattB
12-05-2006, 07:21 AM
Yes, but are they holding a micro license or a pub license? Colorado only needs 15% from food to get a pub license, so I think some have gone this route. Cant seem to get clarification on this. The law seems to say no (or at least, it doesnt say they can, but it doesnt say they cant; the pub license states self distribute specifically.). Can anyone clarify this for me? It sure seems like it might be ok. Thanks.

AlexisScarlett
12-05-2006, 08:29 AM
You can distribute with a Microbrewery liscense (2080) to retailers and customers: 12-47-402 Manufactor Liscense on page 41 at www.revenue.state.co.us/liquor_dir/pdfs/2004-julcode.pdf
or http://www.revenue.state.co.us/liquor_dir/home.asp

Now for a brewpub liscense you have to make 15% on a full meals meaning you need a complete kitchen for what 15% of the money?! I think kitchens sink brewpubs here. Same slim profit margins as regular restaurants

Let their mommas feed 'em-- just give 'em beer!

MattB
12-05-2006, 08:49 AM
Thanks. This is new since I last looked. They used to have a Brewery License, Microbrewery License, and Brewpub License. It would seem they have done away with the micro license.

PsiWulf7
01-09-2007, 02:23 PM
Now for a brewpub liscense you have to make 15% on a full meals meaning you need a complete kitchen for what 15% of the money?! I think kitchens sink brewpubs here. Same slim profit margins as regular restaurants

Let their mommas feed 'em-- just give 'em beer!

But you know, if you did a micro-kitchen like some small coffee shops do, you could offer sandwiches and chips and really basic "man-food." When I was building capital for a coffee shop and wine bar, we looked into getting a mini kitchen. All you really need is a hood, a couple mid-size deep fryers, and a sandwhich press/grill, and a small walk-in cooler (if that). Compared to the overall cost of starting a brewery it's a fairly small percentage of start-up, and it brings a lot of lunchtime interest if you're in a good area.

AlexisScarlett
01-09-2007, 04:03 PM
Same question, same time, different thread
http://www.probrewer.com/vbulletin/showthread.php?t=6143



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gruntingfrog
02-27-2007, 08:28 AM
In Texas, breweries with a production of less than 75,000 bbls/year can self-distribute and the guys at Saint Arnold Brewing have joined forces with a few other breweries to push the state to allow direct sales to the public (up to 5000 bbls/year) since Texas wineries just got that passed. That way when you're doing tours and hit the tasting room, people can buy a six-pack (or case :D ) to take home.

For more info, check out...

http://www.starnoldgoestoaustin.com/blog/

mongo
10-11-2007, 03:44 PM
So far, not a peep from anyone on the east coast. However, I just spoke to someone who works in the New Hampshire liquor control, they seem to have very few regulations---other than brewery owners have no felony convictions, and one pays them $1200 a year plus $.30 a gallon in tax, for over the counter sales. Anyone want to comment? I'm curious; if it's so easy to do there, why aren't there more microbreweries?

K

Carpeiem
10-16-2007, 11:36 AM
What about Utah with all the ridiculous 3.2% laws. Anybody have any experience with the great state of non-drinkers?



Thanks

Alexmc2
10-16-2007, 03:59 PM
What's the word on Rhode Island?

I'm not exactly in the industry yet, but I do live in RI. There are 3 brewpubs in the state, two in the capital of Providence, one in Middletown/Newport. There is also one on Block Island I think?? Which may operate seasonally. As far as laws go, I know RI breweries/brewpubs can sell Growlers of beer the same hours that liquor stores can sell beer. Keep in mind, if you want to distribute here, we don't do Supermarket/non-liquor store beer sales.

I will say that its been a while since the Warwick/West-Warwick area has had a brewpub/brewery...maybe that should change...

mongo
10-17-2007, 06:06 AM
What about Utah with all the ridiculous 3.2% laws. Anybody have any experience with the great state of non-drinkers?

I am a homebrewer debating the possibilities of opening up a micro in Utah, so any info would be appreciated.

Thanks

At least you would save money on grain! But what would be the point? 3.2 Belgians? Ick.

K

brewbong
03-26-2008, 08:05 AM
PA law is very attractive to a new brewery, but state requirements are such that you may not have any ownership in a brewery until you have been a resident of the state for two years.

tsewong73
03-26-2008, 09:17 AM
Brewbong is not entirely correct. This was an issue with us because I grew up in Pennsylvania, but lived in Boston for 5 years prior to moving back to PA and starting Bavarian Barbarian Brewing Company. The paragraph in the liquor code pertaining to residency requirements clearly states an exception for brewers/manufacturers of malt brewed beverages. I believe this exception exists to allow large brewing companies to build or buy breweries in Pennsylvania. For instance, Boston Beer Company has (correct me if I'm wrong) two brewing facilities in Pennsylvania now.

millerag
03-26-2008, 09:49 AM
PA has some good perks to owning a brewery. for instance if you want to open a production brewery your allowed a bar with food served, no liquor license needed, Of course you could only sell your beer and perhaps some wine. great for cash flow!
Much better than NJ laws

I have spent some time looking at the Pa regs and have not come across anything that would indicate that you do not need a liquor license to opperate a brew pub. I may sound a little demanding but do you know the specific section of Title 40 that states what you have above?

pennbrew2
03-26-2008, 10:59 AM
I have spent some time looking at the Pa regs and have not come across anything that would indicate that you do not need a liquor license to opperate a brew pub. I may sound a little demanding but do you know the specific section of Title 40 that states what you have above?

You don't need a liquor license. You need a "brewery pub" license, it allows a licensed brewery to operate a tap room. With the brewery pub license you can sell your own-brewed beer and PA made wines. 30 seats minimum, and food service is required. I have an electric chafing dish I bought at a restaurant auction for $60 in which I heat hot dogs.

Pennsylvania is truly friendly for breweries. I can (if I choose), bottle and keg for distribution; self-distribute; operate a tap room; sell bottles (by the case out of the brewery or by the six-pack out of the pub), growlers or kegs to-go; purchase a liquor license to operate a full bar; operate a full restaurant. All options are open.

millerag
03-26-2008, 02:24 PM
You don't need a liquor license. You need a "brewery pub" license, it allows a licensed brewery to operate a tap room. With the brewery pub license you can sell your own-brewed beer and PA made wines. 30 seats minimum, and food service is required. I have an electric chafing dish I bought at a restaurant auction for $60 in which I heat hot dogs.

Pennsylvania is truly friendly for breweries. I can (if I choose), bottle and keg for distribution; self-distribute; operate a tap room; sell bottles (by the case out of the brewery or by the six-pack out of the pub), growlers or kegs to-go; purchase a liquor license to operate a full bar; operate a full restaurant. All options are open.

I take it you have a Pub/opperate a pub? If so where is it i would love to visit as i live in Pa.

pennbrew2
03-26-2008, 03:36 PM
Yup, in Berwick. Grand opening was January 26th, I'm currently open Saturdays 1 to 9pm and Sundays 1 to 6pm.

---Guy

tsewong73
03-27-2008, 05:34 AM
I've been hearing great things about your place there, Guy. People who come from out your way to our tasting room have said good things, and I've been sending people out to see you from here. Hopefully, you'll start getting some Williamsport folks at One Guy.

I agree with Guy that "Pennsylvania is truly friendly for breweries," and "all options are open." But no one should take that to mean that the PLCB is any easier to deal with than any other state's alcohol control bureau-crazy. The PLCB is such a mass of confusion and miscommunication. I actually had to read a section of the code to the person reviewing our application after the initial investigator passed us and I had to fax her a copy of that section of the code in order for her to accept our assertion on the issue - which had already been resolved by the investigator and his supervisor. You can do a lot of things with a brewery here in Pennsylvania, but be very prepared and well-informed before you begin your ordeal with the PLCB.

Coast
03-27-2008, 06:09 AM
I don't know about the best state, but one of the "not best" states ( i can't bring myself to say worst) is South Carolina. Things are slightly better since we raised the alcohol limit. With the 3-tier system, no onsite growlers, retail or tours/tastings- they really make ti difficult.

GlacierBrewing
03-27-2008, 06:20 AM
I'll throw a vote in for Montana. Now even though we are limited to serving 48 ounces per person per day and only between 10:00am and 8:00pm, we can self-distribute, keg, bottle, can, growler sales, open seven days a week, serve food, host live music, have strippers on the bar! Okay, maybe not strippers, NOT YET!! Getting started is no easy task but as has already been stated, no state is a breeze, it seems. We have approximately 20+ breweries statewide so our populace is educated (mostly) about craft beers.

JayG.
04-08-2008, 06:20 PM
Mongo, if your still looking for the best state to open a brewery. Pennslyvaina is a good state to open but they have restrictions, like blue laws and you can't sell 6 packs only cases. I was talking with John who works at flying fish brewery. He said the two best states would be Califorina or New York. They have the fewest restriction and allow you to do mostly what you want. good luck with your search.

pennbrew2
04-08-2008, 07:24 PM
Pennslyvaina is a good state to open but they have restrictions, like blue laws and you can't sell 6 packs only cases.

Not true. A Sunday license is an additional $300, I have one and can operate the pub 7 days a week if I choose. And (if I bottled) I could sell singles and six-packs out of the pub.

Another nice thing in PA is that, by law, all beer sales must be paid for at the time of the sale. So if you're distributing you don't have to extend credit terms to your wholesalers and/or retail customers. No accounts receivable on your books, no waiting 30 or 60 or 90 days to get paid, no chasing after payments. If you're an ale brewer and have credit terms with your suppliers, you can brew and sell your beer and deposit the money in your bank before you've paid for the ingredients or supplies.

I don't know how PA compares to NY or CA, but there's virtually no restrictions on how a brewery can operate in PA.

OwyheeBrewer
06-06-2008, 12:34 PM
Hello All,
Awesome to see so many great inputs. I was wondering if anyone had some knowledge or advice for starting a brewpub in Idaho - specifically Boise/West Boise area. Any input would be greatly appreciated.
Thanks!

GlacierBrewing
06-06-2008, 12:36 PM
I'D-A-HO once!

Sorry, can't resist

Slats
06-11-2008, 09:57 AM
Hello All,
Awesome to see so many great inputs. I was wondering if anyone had some knowledge or advice for starting a brewpub in Idaho - specifically Boise/West Boise area. Any input would be greatly appreciated.
Thanks!
For purely selfish reasons I suggest you take a look at Idaho Falls rather than Boise. There is currently only one brew pub in a 50 mile radius and the beer is mediocre at best. It would almost be like entering a market with no competition.

BMXFRANK
07-28-2008, 09:31 AM
Rhode Island is an option as there is no state production tax like Mass and RI. Im sure some other states might have the same perk.

farmviking
01-15-2009, 04:14 PM
Curious how the climate is there, with all the brewing history and whatnot. Is it conducive/friendly to brewpubs/microbreweries? Headaches?

mnbrewer
08-06-2009, 12:51 PM
I have to imagine that Washington State is pretty easy.....I see that it's fairly easy to start a nano brewery in a warehouse rental space almost!!! Wish one could do that here in MN! A lost of people who have ambitions here usually go over to Wisconsin to do it where the laws are more lenient than MN's.