So what are everyone's thoughts on this model? CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) seems to be going strong after a decade or two run up. Farmers running CSA's make a heck of a lot closer to a living wage than those working for the wholesale market. They face a lot less risk each year as well already having much of their income pledged or even delivered regardless of actual yield.
Of course a lot of breweries can retail their product easily anyway but they still face the risk of opening the doors to the crickets and sitting on barrels of good beer as it goes bad (although from comments on another thread that may not be a problem right now). Also, many of the CSBs I have seen so far offer a set volume of product for your membership so the brewer does not gain the protection against major product losses that the farmer gets either.
So for the small start up brewer does the CSB model provide any of the benefits that the CSA model does for a small farm? If you could pre-sell memberships could this not provide a big boost over the first major barrier to entry into the business? Namely the cost of facilities/equipment.
I can also see how potential investors, seeing a pre-sold customer base might be more willing to risk their money with a new brewery.
But what about as beer drinkers/lovers. Would you pay up front for a years worth of beer? I imagine a lot of folks would at first at least to support a new brewery, a local brewery, a friend/relative, whatever. But, assuming the beer was good enough, would you re-up at the end of the initial term?
What considerations might make you more or less likely to re-up?
It's an interesting business model especially in this age of the 'local' and 'slow' food movements.
Interesting idea. Hard to say how it would all work out, that's for sure. We have three basic beers that we brew. And the two places that have our beer on tap do order ahead of time, and I brew those beers based on what the customer has ordered. But it's all done on a handshake type deal. In this state, I think prepaying would be illegal on the wholesale side. Not sure about retail.