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Thread: Nanobrewery - The Lessons I've Learned

  1. #151
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    Location
    Birmingham, AL, USA
    Posts
    75
    Quote Originally Posted by Coolhand View Post
    More like 2,000 bbl retail rather than 8,000 bbl wholesale! (smiley emoji not working...)

    If I was doing 2,000 bbl retail I'd be a darned happy camper. That's a lot of full price pints...
    2,000bbl at retail would be a very happy business indeed!

  2. #152
    Join Date
    Oct 2017
    Location
    Gila, New Mexico, USA
    Posts
    1

    Historic Old west Saloon needs beer..

    Out here in the wilds of New Mexico we have an Historic old ranch, a massive adobe compound, dating back to 1810. I am building a nano-brewery so we can serve a beer in the old west saloon, which is gorgeous. New Mexico liquor laws are stupid, and the only license I can consider is the small brewery license, which allows a tap room, growlers and any other N.M. micro brew or wine. SO it is a pretty good license for only $750 per year. By contrast a real liquor license in New Mexico is $500,000.
    There is no rent, but no natural gas. I have a perfect existing space directly behind the saloon, we will run tap lines through the wall into the bar. I am putting in a new concrete floor with trough drains and a waste disposal pond. Square footage is not an issue, this place is huge, so I am planning a spacious 1,000 sq. ft for the 1Bbl and 2 Bbl systems. I have a bunch of SS tanks, including 2-7 bbl brite tanks, TC fittings, valves, and, am an experienced welder with a new TIG & plasma cutter.
    Profit potential isn't the primary focus for the nano, a catalyst for marketing the entire ranch is. History and alcohol compliment each other nicely. Museums can be pretty dry, and don't get many repeat customers, beer can change that. It's a Museum, and under booked, sleepy Airbnb now, Promoting events, weddings, horse trail riding, OHVs, hunters and history buffs is what we are working on. There is a theater that seats 140 people, a jail, chapel, swimming pool, bath house with hot tub. It is a mini-resort of sorts, that once headquartered a million acre ranch. Check it out on Facebook, L.C. Ranch or online at www.LyonsCampbellRanch.com
    Location is the biggest issue, at 200 miles from Tucson, or Phoenix, or Albuquerque or El Paso, it's a long drive to an unknown area. SO marketing is key. Micro targeting on Facebook will start as soon as it warms up.
    So, penny for your thoughts?

  3. #153
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Location
    Ten Sleep, WY
    Posts
    100
    Make sure the wastewater pond is far, far away. Downwind. With big fans. (That is a joke.) And out of sight. Did I mention ALWAYS downwind? Nothing will ruin the historic experience like the smell of rotting brewery waste. My $.02. (It's cost me a lot more than that...)

  4. #154
    Join Date
    Feb 2014
    Location
    west coast
    Posts
    274
    Quote Originally Posted by Fourlix View Post
    no natural gas.
    So, penny for your thoughts?
    solar water heating. saves tons of electric/propane. even in winter.

  5. #155
    Join Date
    Oct 2017
    Location
    Fairbury
    Posts
    7

    Thumbs up

    So here's a scenario... Let me know if you think this model could work:

    - We own the building that is holding the brewery (A remodeled Dairy Barn).
    - We did not have to take out a loan for anything.
    - I am brewing on a 1bbl electric system, with 4 x 1bbl fermenters and 3 x 2bbl fermenters, so 10bbl of fermenting space, and plan to brew 15 days a month or so (can double batch the 1bbl brewhouse)
    - I am the only employee that is paid, besides a bartender or two making $5 (+ tips) during operational hours.
    - I can self distribute if I can't sell all the beer from the taproom, and also have a taproom open 4 days a week.

    Thanks in advance!

  6. #156
    Join Date
    Sep 2014
    Location
    Culpeper, VA
    Posts
    21
    Yes it can be done that way IMO. If your overhead is low, and it sounds like it is, than you are in a good position to make a go of it. Brewing 5x a week is a lot. Whatever infrastructure you put it make sure it can grow to the next step of at least a 3BBL. So if you need to put in a hood over the kettle, go slightly larger so you can put a bigger system there later. Same goes for electrical, plumbing... You will want to upsize sooner than you think and many of the things you will put in dont cost much more to build larger (eg 50A panel vs 100A)
    If its just you and some tipped people youre in good shape staffing wise.
    If you have to distribute to get rid of your beer, you are losing and will go out of business (at the 1BBL level).
    I did something similar except: went 5BBL, cheap rent instead of free, loans from my savings. Been three years last week and things are going swimmingly. Brew once or twice a week and I work the tap room at least one shift per week. The lifestyle is nice and the money is decent.
    Best of luck to you.

    Quote Originally Posted by lrslagel View Post
    So here's a scenario... Let me know if you think this model could work:

    - We own the building that is holding the brewery (A remodeled Dairy Barn).
    - We did not have to take out a loan for anything.
    - I am brewing on a 1bbl electric system, with 4 x 1bbl fermenters and 3 x 2bbl fermenters, so 10bbl of fermenting space, and plan to brew 15 days a month or so (can double batch the 1bbl brewhouse)
    - I am the only employee that is paid, besides a bartender or two making $5 (+ tips) during operational hours.
    - I can self distribute if I can't sell all the beer from the taproom, and also have a taproom open 4 days a week.

    Thanks in advance!

  7. #157
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Posts
    32

    Look At the Numbers

    lrslagel;


    I am in a very similar situation as you! We own the property, the brewery is going into an old 5,000+ sqft dairy barn which we own across the street from our home. I have three part time jobs, (2 Consulting and 1 other), and am retired from the Army and have a set steady income that pays the bills!

    So here are my thoughts for what its worth and just my uninformed opinion!!!

    "We did not have to take out a loan for anything." This is GREAT!!!

    "I am brewing on a 1bbl electric system" You are going to want to get a bigger system ASAP 3-5 BBL

    "4 x 1bbl fermenters and 3 x 2bbl fermenters, so 10bbl of fermenting space" If you are actually going to brew 15+ times a month I don't think you have enough FV space to put all that liquid! Do the math real quick... at 1BBL 15 times a month you are looking at 780 BBLs annually! So if you keep each beer in FV for lets say on average 10 days, (some might be quicker others longer) with you tank set up now you are looking at @415 BBLs a year tank space....so realistically I don't see how you are going to brew 15 plus times a month? You might want to relook at that...and you have not factored in your BT or number of kegs for conditioning etc, not to mention cleaning and sanitation all the above! Just take a step back and crunch some numbers I think that you'll find your numbers are slightly skewed and unrealistic.

    "I plan to brew 15 days a month or so (can double batch the 1bbl brewhouse)" See above...I am starting with brewing on a 3 BBL electric system with 6 3 BBL FVs and 1 3 BBL BT with plans with in the first year to expand to 2 additional 6-7 BBL FVs and 1 6-7 BBL BT...my first year I will only produce between 150-300 BBLs, year 2 450 BBL, year 3 600 BBLs probably the max for this set up, time will tell?

    "I am the only employee that is paid, besides a bartender or two making $5 (+ tips) during operational hours." Can you afford NOT to pay yourself? And if so, for how long? I am not going to pay myself for the first 12 months....somethings are more important than money, success of the business, family time, etc...

    "I can self distribute" DO NOT DO IT!!! You will leave money on the table and that is a bad thing!!! Like I said I do some consulting work, and last year I flew out west to help a buddy with the final push to get the doors open for his brewery...after running his trunk line I saw his beer pricing on the wall behind the bar, and I said dude....your pints are priced too low!!! He said no that is the going rate around here!!! I said don't be a sheep and do stuff just because someone else is...its not there brewery its yours!!! I told him you need to factor in your cost of goods, time, overhead all of that in the cost of a pint...I would raise them all $1...he argued with me all weekend about it....but before I left he started doing the math and found out how much money he would lose over the course of a year...

    For example: 240 pints in a BBL at 300 BBLs annually = 72,000 pints at $4 a pint = $288,000 vs $5 a pint $360,000 a loss of $72,000
    now I am no math wize and its been a few days since I graduated with my MBA, however, that is some serious money!!! So IMHO the same goes for any form of distribution!!! Don't give away your beer!!! Make money on it sell it ALL in house and enjoy the profits!!! If you make good beer it will all sell in your tap room, likewise if you make bad beer, it too will probably all sell...maybe not just for long, so make good beer!!!

    I don't know if I helped you any but surely wish you all the luck in the world, hope to hear about your successes, all the best, Cheers!!!!

  8. #158
    Join Date
    Oct 2017
    Location
    Fairbury
    Posts
    7
    Quote Originally Posted by WAORGANY View Post
    lrslagel;



    I am in a very similar situation as you! We own the property, the brewery is going into an old 5,000+ sqft dairy barn which we own across the street from our home. I have three part time jobs, (2 Consulting and 1 other), and am retired from the Army and have a set steady income that pays the bills!

    So here are my thoughts for what its worth and just my uninformed opinion!!!

    "We did not have to take out a loan for anything." This is GREAT!!!

    "I am brewing on a 1bbl electric system" You are going to want to get a bigger system ASAP 3-5 BBL

    "4 x 1bbl fermenters and 3 x 2bbl fermenters, so 10bbl of fermenting space" If you are actually going to brew 15+ times a month I don't think you have enough FV space to put all that liquid! Do the math real quick... at 1BBL 15 times a month you are looking at 780 BBLs annually! So if you keep each beer in FV for lets say on average 10 days, (some might be quicker others longer) with you tank set up now you are looking at @415 BBLs a year tank space....so realistically I don't see how you are going to brew 15 plus times a month? You might want to relook at that...and you have not factored in your BT or number of kegs for conditioning etc, not to mention cleaning and sanitation all the above! Just take a step back and crunch some numbers I think that you'll find your numbers are slightly skewed and unrealistic.

    "I plan to brew 15 days a month or so (can double batch the 1bbl brewhouse)" See above...I am starting with brewing on a 3 BBL electric system with 6 3 BBL FVs and 1 3 BBL BT with plans with in the first year to expand to 2 additional 6-7 BBL FVs and 1 6-7 BBL BT...my first year I will only produce between 150-300 BBLs, year 2 450 BBL, year 3 600 BBLs probably the max for this set up, time will tell?

    "I am the only employee that is paid, besides a bartender or two making $5 (+ tips) during operational hours." Can you afford NOT to pay yourself? And if so, for how long? I am not going to pay myself for the first 12 months....somethings are more important than money, success of the business, family time, etc...

    "I can self distribute" DO NOT DO IT!!! You will leave money on the table and that is a bad thing!!! Like I said I do some consulting work, and last year I flew out west to help a buddy with the final push to get the doors open for his brewery...after running his trunk line I saw his beer pricing on the wall behind the bar, and I said dude....your pints are priced too low!!! He said no that is the going rate around here!!! I said don't be a sheep and do stuff just because someone else is...its not there brewery its yours!!! I told him you need to factor in your cost of goods, time, overhead all of that in the cost of a pint...I would raise them all $1...he argued with me all weekend about it....but before I left he started doing the math and found out how much money he would lose over the course of a year...

    For example: 240 pints in a BBL at 300 BBLs annually = 72,000 pints at $4 a pint = $288,000 vs $5 a pint $360,000 a loss of $72,000
    now I am no math wize and its been a few days since I graduated with my MBA, however, that is some serious money!!! So IMHO the same goes for any form of distribution!!! Don't give away your beer!!! Make money on it sell it ALL in house and enjoy the profits!!! If you make good beer it will all sell in your tap room, likewise if you make bad beer, it too will probably all sell...maybe not just for long, so make good beer!!!

    I don't know if I helped you any but surely wish you all the luck in the world, hope to hear about your successes, all the best, Cheers!!!!

    Thanks for the response! Whereabouts are you from? We're located in central Illinois.

    I'll address a couple of your concerns:

    - I did not mean to write 15 times per month, I meant to write 10 days per month. Sorry, but you are totally right, 15 does not add up. I'm scheduling an average of 14 days total fermentation, secondary (if need be), and carbonation (I'm using unitanks) per batch. Thus, double batching, I can fill my 10 barrels in 5 days, then wait two weeks on average, and brew 5 days again. If you take a 260 day work year, divide that by 12, you get 21.666 work days per month. At 10 days of brewing, that leaves 11.666 work days per month for cleaning, sanitization, etc.

    - We went with a 1bbl to start and do some business validation before sinking too much money into it. If it looks like it will work, we will get a larger system and use the 1bbl as a pilot system. It may not make the most total financial sense if you look at the long term, but from a business validation standpoint, lowest cost up front to test an idea is the best. I wish we could be more confident it would sell - I would have gone 3 or 5bbl for sure.

    - Can I afford not to get paid? - Kind-of. The profits will all go to me, but due to my wife's income, they aren't totally necessary. They would be nice, but we can live on her income, so it's not a deal breaker. And, to me, if a 1bbl is all the more that we can sell in our local area, what's wrong with staying that way and just taking the profits as personal. (Disclaimer: I hope to grow past this quickly, but I'm thinking worst case scenario)

    What are your thoughts?

    Thanks,

    Lincoln

  9. #159
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Posts
    32
    Lincoln,

    "Whereabouts are you from?" I am in Northern NY.


    "I meant to write 10 days per month" These numbers make more sense!

    "If you take a 260 day work year, divide that by 12, you get 21.666 work days per month" I hate to be the bearer of bad news but as a brewery owner...you are missing 105 days of work...just saying...be prepared to work way more than you think!!!! Even at the 1 BBL mark..you have taxes, TTB paper work, payroll, daily book keeping...and the list continues....ordering ingredients and supplies..on and on.... Brewing, is a big part of it, but the yeast does the hard work, its the cleaning of kegs and system, and mopping and sweeping and cleaning glassware, stocking SWAG...it is a full time job, even being open at 4 days a week, please prepare yourself for that time commitment!!! I have brewed at commercial breweries as small as 1/2 BBL and as large as 20 BBLs, the work, the amount of time and tasks are identical no matter the size of the vessels and Brew House. You just need to find what works best for you, especially when it comes to a new venture and the work/family life balance.


    "We went with a 1bbl to start and do some business validation before sinking too much money into it." This makes perfect sense and many Nano's I have seen and been to across the country keep it just at this size, however, most find out in less than a year, if you make good liquid and you have a decent customer base that returns and spreads the word..you're gonna need more beer! It is a great problem to have...trying to keep up with demand and selling out. Just don't get caught too bad, because when customers have to wait for beer..they don't understand why and you have to chance to loose them. It is easier and cheaper to maintain a current customer than it is to get a new one!

    "I wish we could be more confident it would sell - I would have gone 3 or 5bbl for sure." If it sells at 1 BBL it will sell at 3-5 BBLs....

    "They would be nice, but we can live on her income, so it's not a deal breaker." Worst case scenario, then this is a great thing!!!

    "And, to me, if a 1bbl is all the more that we can sell in our local area, what's wrong with staying that way and just taking the profits as personal." Nothing wrong with this at all and it makes perfect sense!!!

    For me, I do not plan on expanding past 3 BBLs for the first five years, and if I never get bigger than that then that's OK too. I have a very solid BP that is in place, have sunk a bunch of my money in already, and have committed to the purchase of our property and have begun renovations, not a simple, quick, easy, or cheap endeavor. But I am in no hurry and this will allow us little to no debt going in..which is a great thing. I have one very small investor, than doesn't want anything in return. and we are looking at potentially bringing on another one just for financial stability, that will give us the bump to move the start date a little closer.

    I will send you a PM with my email feel free to drop me a note! All the best, and I wish you lots of success!!! Maybe I can stop by for a pint or three in the future.

    V/r

    Paul

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