No announcement yet.

Best State for New Microbrewery?

  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • Best State for New Microbrewery?


    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?



  • #2
    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.


    • #3
      Regulatin' in Cali

      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.

      --Jake Tringali


      • #4
        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


        • #5
          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!
          Last edited by AlexisScarlett; 11-03-2006, 01:21 PM.


          • #6
            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.

            Mike Hiller, Head Brewer
            Strangeways Brewing
            2277-A Dabney Road
            Richmond, VA 23230


            • #7
              What about the market?

              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.
              Travis Miller
              Brattleboro, VT
              On brewing hiatus as a SAHD


              • #8
                Colorado Laws?

                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.

                Last edited by MattB; 12-05-2006, 08:06 AM.


                • #9
                  I would say yes. Several micros also have distribution companies.


                  • #10
                    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.


                    • #11
                      You can distribute with a Microbrewery liscense (2080) to retailers and customers: 12-47-402 Manufactor Liscense on page 41 at

                      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!


                      • #12
                        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.


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by AlexisScarlett

                          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.


                          • #14
                            Same question, same time, different thread



                            • #15
                              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 ) to take home.

                              For more info, check out...