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General Category => Going Pro => Topic started by: denny on July 12, 2013, 06:54:51 PM

Title: So you want to be a brewer
Post by: denny on July 12, 2013, 06:54:51 PM
GREAT article!

http://digboston.com/boston-beer-brewing/2013/07/on-beer-and-brewing-so-you-want-to-be-a-brewer-eh/?utm_source=buffer&utm_campaign=Buffer&utm_content=buffer909e0&utm_medium=twitter
Title: Re: So you want to be a brewer
Post by: duboman on July 12, 2013, 07:24:27 PM
Saw this yesterday and agree! Nice, witty humor to boot!
Title: Re: So you want to be a brewer
Post by: cornershot on July 12, 2013, 07:48:03 PM
People always say,"good beer! You should open a brewery!"
I can cook but I don't want to be a chef.
I love my garden but I don't want to be a farmer.
I can drive but I don't want to be a bus driver.
Why ruin a perfectly good hobby?
Title: Re: So you want to be a brewer
Post by: majorvices on July 12, 2013, 07:49:13 PM
The article didn't mention anything about the groupies or blow. You get 45 year old pot bellied groupies and the job blows.
Title: Re: So you want to be a brewer
Post by: klickitat jim on July 12, 2013, 07:54:04 PM
Awesome! It now sounds even more enticing. Becoming a professional brewer is on my bucket list right after Alaskan Gold Miner, sword boat skipper like George cluney, and astronaut
Title: Re: So you want to be a brewer
Post by: denny on July 12, 2013, 07:54:13 PM
The article didn't mention anything about the groupies or blow. You get 45 year old pot bellied groupies and the job blows.

Hey, to some of us, 45 is young!
Title: Re: So you want to be a brewer
Post by: dannyjed on July 12, 2013, 11:46:15 PM
The article didn't mention anything about the groupies or blow. You get 45 year old pot bellied groupies and the job blows.
Ha ha!  You made me spit beer all over my screen.
Title: Re: So you want to be a brewer
Post by: HoosierBrew on July 13, 2013, 02:49:28 AM
The article didn't mention anything about the groupies or blow. You get 45 year old pot bellied groupies and the job blows.
Ha ha!  You made me spit beer all over my screen.
+1.  Think I strained a stomach muscle laughing.
Title: Re: So you want to be a brewer
Post by: HoosierBrew on July 13, 2013, 02:57:59 AM
Awesome! It now sounds even more enticing. Becoming a professional brewer is on my bucket list right after Alaskan Gold Miner, sword boat skipper like George cluney, and astronaut
Dude you rock!  Just gotta add rodeo clown, skyscraper window washer, and the guy paid to clean the inside of campground in-ground toilets (assuming he exists). At least there is a payoff in brewing.
Title: Re: So you want to be a brewer
Post by: klickitat jim on July 13, 2013, 03:18:53 AM
Totally
Title: Re: So you want to be a brewer
Post by: majorvices on July 13, 2013, 12:43:47 PM
There are some seriously cool perks involved with owning your own brewery, especially if you ignore you initial investment (which you hope to get paid back, eventually, right?): free beer, free brewing ingredients, lots and lots of free brewing gadgets. Beer trips are tax deductible. And probably the coolest part, you get to meet a lot of very cool people and have a back stage pass to just about any brewery in the country. It's kinda like getting to sit with the cool kids at lunch in your high school cafeteria.
Title: Re: So you want to be a brewer
Post by: yso191 on July 13, 2013, 05:39:42 PM
Man, I hate finding out I'm a stereotype.  I've asked to volunteer in a brewery - and got the same bored response.  Me, a 50+ year old pot-bellied groupie.  Sad.

I'm going to go buy a lottery ticket.  That'll show em.
Title: Re: So you want to be a brewer
Post by: edvinjonsson on July 13, 2013, 06:21:54 PM
I'd go with the winning the lottery and opening a brewery option.
Title: Re: So you want to be a brewer
Post by: HoosierBrew on July 13, 2013, 06:38:12 PM
Man, I hate finding out I'm a stereotype.  I've asked to volunteer in a brewery - and got the same bored response.  Me, a 50+ year old pot-bellied groupie.  Sad.

I'm going to go buy a lottery ticket.  That'll show em.
+1. Same here.  The closest I ever got was washing kegs for a brewery for awhile, but the the brewer moved after getting a new job , and the new guy brought in his own staff. So far the brewery lottery fund hasn't come through yet.
Title: Re: So you want to be a brewer
Post by: klickitat jim on July 13, 2013, 07:07:18 PM
Looks like the boss may have an interest once his term is up

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dygQrX8FI3Q&feature=youtube_gdata_player
Title: Re: So you want to be a brewer
Post by: thirsty on July 14, 2013, 04:21:53 AM
People always say,"good beer! You should open a brewery!"

Yeah, I've gotten that a few times. My response is something like "thanks, but I don't want to borrow 50-100k from anyone to open a brewery."
Title: Re: So you want to be a brewer
Post by: majorvices on July 14, 2013, 11:48:56 AM
People always say,"good beer! You should open a brewery!"

Yeah, I've gotten that a few times. My response is something like "thanks, but I don't want to borrow 50-100k from anyone to open a brewery."

Tryy 500-1000k and you will be way closer to the mark. You need at least 250k to really even consider making enough beer to kinda even think about paying anyone even min. wage.
Title: Re: So you want to be a brewer
Post by: denny on July 14, 2013, 03:30:16 PM
I'd go with the winning the lottery and opening a brewery option.

A guy around here did that maybe 15 years ago.  Within a few years, both the money and the brewery were gone.
Title: Re: So you want to be a brewer
Post by: Pawtucket Patriot on July 14, 2013, 05:07:02 PM
I know this guy speaks some truth, but he also sounds seriously jaded.  I like this comment left by one of the readers:

I hope this article doesn’t leave every aspiring professional brewer leave them as jaded as the author. Consider his point of view – he has brewed at White Birch and now Henniker (as far as I know). White Birch makes sub-par and often flawed beer. Henniker is a production facility that makes uninspired grocery store beer – anyone up for a dusty IPA? I would write as negative of an article if I were wearing his rubber boots.

Think of Richard Norgrove of Bear Republic. He invites homebrewers to his brewery to give him inspiration. Think of Tony Magee of Lagunitas who was a home brewer and still has major impact on all the recipes created with his brand. Think of Sam Caglione who is a spokesperson for SABCO. The list goes on….

Brewing is hard work. Anyone who has mashed, boiled, fermented, and packaged knows that. Anyone with the intuition to use google knows brewers and cellarman make a minimal amount of money. I’m just wondering why in an industry that demands innovation and passion why anyone would write an article like this…
Title: Re: So you want to be a brewer
Post by: majorvices on July 14, 2013, 07:31:34 PM
I think if people really want to be involved in the industry, they should be involved, but they should go in with their eyes open. I knew what I was getting into when I started Yellowhammer. I knew there was a high chance that the brewery would fail and I knew that it would be quite some time before it would become profitable, if at all. I knew it was going to be hard as work. I knew that in the summer it would be hot as hell.

Problem is, a lot of people don't know those things. They see the brewery from the tasting room side and it looks so awesome they think it must be a dream job.

As a general rule I try to dissuade people from getting into the industry. Especially people who say "I'm going to open a brewery!" because they think they will make lots of money. I know a lot of brewery owners and none of them are rich and all of them made more money before they quit their day job. I make less money now than my first job out of college in 1991, and I work more hours!

I have a 23 year old kid working for me now who wants to open a brewery someday. He wanted to come by to just watch for a day and by the end of the day he was working and hired. I explained to him before the first day that it wasn't probably what he thought it was going to be and that it was hard as hell work. But I really thinks he loves the job, so there are some people out there that are just meant to be brewers. I like to think I one of them, too. :)
Title: Re: So you want to be a brewer
Post by: hopfenundmalz on July 14, 2013, 08:20:43 PM
At a wedding reception I talked to a guy who is going pro. He has been brewing dice Christmas, on a Mr. Beer system. He has made four batches, all awesome. 8)
Title: Re: So you want to be a brewer
Post by: klickitat jim on July 14, 2013, 08:28:43 PM
Dang, got what it takes. He will knock it out the park.
Title: Re: So you want to be a brewer
Post by: anthony on July 15, 2013, 02:37:39 AM
The days I am brewing are the days I am happiest. All the CIP, transferring, carbonating, keg-filling, sample-glass washing, scheduling, opening/closing, growler filling, etc. are all the things that wear me down.

Nothing compares to the feeling of eyeing that hydrometer and making a note of the starting gravity before I pitch some yeast. Serious anticipation, pride, and a feeling of a job well done. Then coming in 8 hours later to a serious gurgle in the air-lock bucket is just icing on the cake.
Title: Re: So you want to be a brewer
Post by: Pawtucket Patriot on July 15, 2013, 01:33:40 PM
As a general rule I try to dissuade people from getting into the industry. Especially people who say "I'm going to open a brewery!" because they think they will make lots of money. I know a lot of brewery owners and none of them are rich and all of them made more money before they quit their day job. I make less money now than my first job out of college in 1991, and I work more hours!

Oh, I totally agree.  I was in my LHBS a few months ago, and one of the sales people I know there had just been helping out this customer who was buying his first kit.  This guy had never brewed beer before in his life.  After the guy paid for his kit and left, the sales rep said to me: "that guy scared me!"  I asked why, and he said, "he says he's going to open a brewery."   :o
Title: Re: So you want to be a brewer
Post by: boulderbrewer on July 15, 2013, 01:38:09 PM
Yep, looking over from the tap house side, it is a great job. Nobody realizes at 7 pm that you have been there before 7am. I would not give it up for anything.
Title: Re: So you want to be a brewer
Post by: majorvices on July 15, 2013, 03:39:19 PM
The days I am brewing are the days I am happiest. All the CIP, transferring, carbonating, keg-filling, sample-glass washing, scheduling, opening/closing, growler filling, etc. are all the things that wear me down.

Nothing compares to the feeling of eyeing that hydrometer and making a note of the starting gravity before I pitch some yeast. Serious anticipation, pride, and a feeling of a job well done. Then coming in 8 hours later to a serious gurgle in the air-lock bucket is just icing on the cake.

I'm with you. I love brewing. Don't care for much of the other stuff. Luckily I have employees that now clean all kegs (I haven't cleaned a keg in months) and also employees that take care of all tasting room duties. Still wash dishes from time to time, but only to "lead by example", as they say. Wish I had the hassle of filling growlers.
Title: Re: So you want to be a brewer
Post by: majorvices on July 15, 2013, 03:45:53 PM
As a general rule I try to dissuade people from getting into the industry. Especially people who say "I'm going to open a brewery!" because they think they will make lots of money. I know a lot of brewery owners and none of them are rich and all of them made more money before they quit their day job. I make less money now than my first job out of college in 1991, and I work more hours!

Oh, I totally agree.  I was in my LHBS a few months ago, and one of the sales people I know there had just been helping out this customer who was buying his first kit.  This guy had never brewed beer before in his life.  After the guy paid for his kit and left, the sales rep said to me: "that guy scared me!"  I asked why, and he said, "he says he's going to open a brewery."   :o

The worse beer in the industry is from people who had the idea to start a brewery before they learned to brew. And it's epidemic. And it really hurts the craft as a whole.
Title: Re: So you want to be a brewer
Post by: boulderbrewer on July 15, 2013, 03:55:47 PM
I'm with you. I love brewing. Don't care for much of the other stuff. Luckily I have employees that now clean all kegs (I haven't cleaned a keg in months) and also employees that take care of all tasting room duties. Still wash dishes from time to time, but only to "lead by example", as they say. Wish I had the hassle of filling growlers.

After about a thousand the charm of growlers wears off.
Title: Re: So you want to be a brewer
Post by: bluesman on July 15, 2013, 04:37:35 PM

As a general rule I try to dissuade people from getting into the industry. Especially people who say "I'm going to open a brewery!" because they think they will make lots of money. I know a lot of brewery owners and none of them are rich and all of them made more money before they quit their day job. I make less money now than my first job out of college in 1991, and I work more hours!

I have a 23 year old kid working for me now who wants to open a brewery someday. He wanted to come by to just watch for a day and by the end of the day he was working and hired. I explained to him before the first day that it wasn't probably what he thought it was going to be and that it was hard as hell work. But I really thinks he loves the job, so there are some people out there that are just meant to be brewers. I like to think I one of them, too. :)

Agreed.

Business is tough...and risky. I established a home inspection business that did well. I've recently dissolved that business to start a brewery. Starting a business is no easy endeavor. It takes guts, and passion, not to mention lots of hard work. For me, it really boils down to one thing, and that is self satisfaction. Working for someone else is a lot less work (in many cases), but building a business of your own is much more gratifying in the end. It's definitely a passion, a desire and a LABOR of love.
Title: Re: So you want to be a brewer
Post by: majorvices on July 15, 2013, 04:47:21 PM
I'm with you. I love brewing. Don't care for much of the other stuff. Luckily I have employees that now clean all kegs (I haven't cleaned a keg in months) and also employees that take care of all tasting room duties. Still wash dishes from time to time, but only to "lead by example", as they say. Wish I had the hassle of filling growlers.

After about a thousand the charm of growlers wears off.

I'm sure. But I could use the $$$$. Plus, I'd pay someone to do it. ;)
Title: Re: So you want to be a brewer
Post by: majorvices on July 15, 2013, 04:48:45 PM

As a general rule I try to dissuade people from getting into the industry. Especially people who say "I'm going to open a brewery!" because they think they will make lots of money. I know a lot of brewery owners and none of them are rich and all of them made more money before they quit their day job. I make less money now than my first job out of college in 1991, and I work more hours!

I have a 23 year old kid working for me now who wants to open a brewery someday. He wanted to come by to just watch for a day and by the end of the day he was working and hired. I explained to him before the first day that it wasn't probably what he thought it was going to be and that it was hard as hell work. But I really thinks he loves the job, so there are some people out there that are just meant to be brewers. I like to think I one of them, too. :)

Agreed.

Business is tough...and risky. I established a home inspection business that did well. I've recently dissolved that business to start a brewery. Starting a business is no easy endeavor. It takes guts, and passion, not to mention lots of hard work. For me, it really boils down to one thing, and that is self satisfaction. Working for someone else is a lot less work (in many cases), but building a business of your own is much more gratifying in the end. It's definitely a passion, a desire and a LABOR of love.

You will succeed because you are as hard headed and ugly as me! ;) Plus you are a good brewer. Or so I've been told.
Title: Re: So you want to be a brewer
Post by: denny on July 15, 2013, 07:48:33 PM
At a wedding reception I talked to a guy who is going pro. He has been brewing dice Christmas, on a Mr. Beer system. He has made four batches, all awesome. 8)

Jeff, send him the link to the article before he hurts himself!
Title: Re: So you want to be a brewer
Post by: Three on July 15, 2013, 08:17:03 PM
If I was an owner of or an investor in the brewery that this author is employed I would let him go.  If it's his brewery he will fail.  There are plenty of people that have this as a passion and have no problem putting in whatever it takes.  I know the owner(s) of breweries here in Indy that were passionate and I mean PASSIONATE about their homebrew(ing).  Best damn homebrew I ever had.  Anyway, they followed that passion and have hugely successful brewing businesses.  When I run into them you know what?  They still have that same passion and love for what they are doing. And they are working their asses off.......
Title: Re: So you want to be a brewer
Post by: majorvices on July 15, 2013, 08:33:44 PM
If I was an owner of or an investor in the brewery that this author is employed I would let him go.  If it's his brewery he will fail.  There are plenty of people that have this as a passion and have no problem putting in whatever it takes.  I know the owner(s) of breweries here in Indy that were passionate and I mean PASSIONATE about their homebrew(ing).  Best damn homebrew I ever had.  Anyway, they followed that passion and have hugely successful brewing businesses.  When I run into them you know what?  They still have that same passion and love for what they are doing. And they are working their asses off.......

Those people aren't the ones the author is talking about though. It's the guy who never even set foot in a brewery or who has 4 Mr. Beer kits (as mentioned above) under his belt and has decided to open a brewery or apply to Stone.

And really glad you aren't my boss. You're pretty quick to fire someone. Just sayin'. ;)
Title: Re: So you want to be a brewer
Post by: Three on July 15, 2013, 08:52:29 PM
Those people aren't the ones the author is talking about though. It's the guy who never even set foot in a brewery or who has 4 Mr. Beer kits (as mentioned above) under his belt and has decided to open a brewery or apply to Stone.

And really glad you aren't my boss. You're pretty quick to fire someone. Just sayin'. ;)

It's his attitude that gets me. It can't be contained to just "I'm only this way at the end of a long shift".  That's when the real whoever you are shows itself. 

From what I have picked up in this thread.  "You're hired"!  When I open up my new brewery.  After I finish up this 6 gallon batch of......
Title: Re: So you want to be a brewer
Post by: tonyp on July 15, 2013, 08:54:00 PM
I hate reading articles like this when there are several successful breweries near me in NJ that started with nothing. Cape May Brewing started with a 12-gal homebrew system and they are now on their 3rd or 4th expansion and just installed a 15-bbl brew house and a brand new tap room, all in less than 2 yrs.

There are several other similar stories and hearing about underdogs making it is much more satisfying than listening to some jaded unfulfilled disgruntled employee with an obvious chip on his shoulder complain about people asking him questions about beer and brewing.

It can be done, and if i had the extra disposable cash I would try it myself. So what if you fail, trying and failing is a hell of a lot better than never trying at all because you're scared or you were turned off by an angry pessimist.

Title: Re: So you want to be a brewer
Post by: duboman on July 15, 2013, 10:38:53 PM
I think they article is a pretty good reality check although jaded as mentioned.

I've been seriously considering this for about a year and also have two good brewing friends that are both about a month away from their grand openings

There is not a day that goes by where reputable drinking friends and strangers are telling me my beer is great. I even had discussion with a few venture capitalists that would bankroll the project. I've handed out 100's of bottles of beer to be enjoyed by I don't even know how many friends and strangers and get the same comments

The real issue is the reality of it all. I love brewing beer! In the end though, right now, I have one kid off to college in a year, another entering highschool and another coming into middle school. I can't quit my on my current business And there are not enough hours in the day to successfully run 2 businesses, one being a start up brewery/taproom/pub.

One day perhaps it will all come together but right now I will love my passionate hobby, enjoy the responses I get and help out my friends in their new ventures as time allows and live vicariously through them:)

Title: Re: So you want to be a brewer
Post by: Thirsty_Monk on July 16, 2013, 01:13:29 AM
The days I am brewing are the days I am happiest. All the CIP, transferring, carbonating, keg-filling, sample-glass washing, scheduling, opening/closing, growler filling, etc. are all the things that wear me down.

Nothing compares to the feeling of eyeing that hydrometer and making a note of the starting gravity before I pitch some yeast. Serious anticipation, pride, and a feeling of a job well done. Then coming in 8 hours later to a serious gurgle in the air-lock bucket is just icing on the cake.

I'm with you. I love brewing. Don't care for much of the other stuff. Luckily I have employees that now clean all kegs (I haven't cleaned a keg in months) and also employees that take care of all tasting room duties. Still wash dishes from time to time, but only to "lead by example", as they say. Wish I had the hassle of filling growlers.
Is that what I need to do now?
Employees?
My original Business Plan was to work 3 days a week.
Boy I was wrong.
Title: Re: So you want to be a brewer
Post by: klickitat jim on July 16, 2013, 01:25:04 AM
I'm going pro as soon as I figure a way to clear $50k a year on three 5 gallon batches a week. That's only about $10 a pint. Would need low overhead though. Hmmm, maybe a roadside card table and a picnic tap.
Title: Re: So you want to be a brewer
Post by: jeffy on July 16, 2013, 01:30:17 AM
I'm going pro as soon as I figure a way to clear $50k a year on three 5 gallon batches a week. That's only about $10 a pint. Would need low overhead though. Hmmm, maybe a roadside card table and a picnic tap.

Mom!  Mom! There's a beer stand!  Can I have $10?
Title: Re: So you want to be a brewer
Post by: narvin on July 16, 2013, 01:33:41 AM
I'm going pro as soon as I figure a way to clear $50k a year on three 5 gallon batches a week. That's only about $10 a pint. Would need low overhead though. Hmmm, maybe a roadside card table and a picnic tap.

Just make a 20 bbl batch once a year and sell 750ml bottles from your tasting room for $20 a pop.  Profit!!!
Title: Re: So you want to be a brewer
Post by: majorvices on July 16, 2013, 01:48:30 AM
The days I am brewing are the days I am happiest. All the CIP, transferring, carbonating, keg-filling, sample-glass washing, scheduling, opening/closing, growler filling, etc. are all the things that wear me down.

Nothing compares to the feeling of eyeing that hydrometer and making a note of the starting gravity before I pitch some yeast. Serious anticipation, pride, and a feeling of a job well done. Then coming in 8 hours later to a serious gurgle in the air-lock bucket is just icing on the cake.

I'm with you. I love brewing. Don't care for much of the other stuff. Luckily I have employees that now clean all kegs (I haven't cleaned a keg in months) and also employees that take care of all tasting room duties. Still wash dishes from time to time, but only to "lead by example", as they say. Wish I had the hassle of filling growlers.
Is that what I need to do now?
Employees?
My original Business Plan was to work 3 days a week.
Boy I was wrong.

Employees are great. You pay yourself a lot less. But I frankly don't want to do all this crap! ;)
Title: Re: So you want to be a brewer
Post by: klickitat jim on July 16, 2013, 01:55:38 AM
I'm going pro as soon as I figure a way to clear $50k a year on three 5 gallon batches a week. That's only about $10 a pint. Would need low overhead though. Hmmm, maybe a roadside card table and a picnic tap.

Just make a 20 bbl batch once a year and sell 750ml bottles from your tasting room for $20 a pop.  Profit!!!

I'll be looking for a 20 bbl brewery laying around with a FREE sign on it.
Title: Re: So you want to be a brewer
Post by: hopfenundmalz on July 16, 2013, 02:47:43 AM
At a wedding reception I talked to a guy who is going pro. He has been brewing dice Christmas, on a Mr. Beer system. He has made four batches, all awesome. 8)

Jeff, send him the link to the article before he hurts himself!
No idea how to contact him. He was not listening to me.
Title: Re: So you want to be a brewer
Post by: jamminbrew on July 16, 2013, 03:51:18 AM
I'm coming in here behind the ball, but here is my take on it:
I've been homebrewing for 3 years, and have been rather successful at it. Numerous gold medals, a silver, and more HMs than I could count. I've had the "Your beer is great! When do you open your brewery?" question many times. So I contacted a few wealthy friends about the idea, and one of them was very enthusiastic about it. Well, until it came time to actually put down some money for it, then he was strangely absent. Needless to say, I was pretty discouraged. I had spent a LOT of time, researching, meeting with other brewers, talking to city officials, etc...
So I decided to stick with just homebrewing.
But I never gave up my belief in, and desire for, becoming a pro brewer. 
I was lucky enough to meet with a local pro brewer through my club, and he mentioned that they needed an assistant. Who do you think was jumping up and down, shouting "Me! Me! Me!"? He then contacted me, after talking to several of the officers of the club, and offered me the job. It was a tough decision, to step away from a decent paying job, and start at the bottom in a new profession. But I did it, and have been the happiest I've ever been.
It is a lot of time spent cleaning. And cleaning. And cleaning. And cleaning... You get the point. It is many many hours in a hot and humid environment. Even with boots on, my feet are constantly wet. Grain get very freaking heavy, after you've lifted 10,000 lbs worth to sort and stack in the grain room. It is very dusty and dirty, after milling a batch. Then cleaning the mash tun, when 1000 lbs of grain becomes almost 2000 lbs of wet, hot grain.
But you know what? Best decision of my life. I couldn't be happier, working a hard, labor intensive job for a smaller paycheck.  So you want to be a brewer? Better know what you really want. If you want all this, then good luck. A lot of people think they can handle this, but don't know what they are getting into. The head brewer where I work told me they have fired or let go of many assistants who thought it was all fun and drinking beer.
If you want to open your own brewery, better have a lot of capital to back you up. And be prepared to work harder than you ever have. If you truly love it, it won't be work.
I love my job, and go home more tired and sore, but ultimately more satisfied, than I ever have.
Thanks
Title: Re: So you want to be a brewer
Post by: klickitat jim on July 16, 2013, 03:59:18 AM
Cool story. Good for you.
Title: Re: So you want to be a brewer
Post by: hopfenundmalz on July 16, 2013, 02:39:26 PM
I'm coming in here behind the ball, but here is my take on it:
I've been homebrewing for 3 years, and have been rather successful at it. Numerous gold medals, a silver, and more HMs than I could count. I've had the "Your beer is great! When do you open your brewery?" question many times. So I contacted a few wealthy friends about the idea, and one of them was very enthusiastic about it. Well, until it came time to actually put down some money for it, then he was strangely absent. Needless to say, I was pretty discouraged. I had spent a LOT of time, researching, meeting with other brewers, talking to city officials, etc...
So I decided to stick with just homebrewing.
But I never gave up my belief in, and desire for, becoming a pro brewer. 
I was lucky enough to meet with a local pro brewer through my club, and he mentioned that they needed an assistant. Who do you think was jumping up and down, shouting "Me! Me! Me!"? He then contacted me, after talking to several of the officers of the club, and offered me the job. It was a tough decision, to step away from a decent paying job, and start at the bottom in a new profession. But I did it, and have been the happiest I've ever been.
It is a lot of time spent cleaning. And cleaning. And cleaning. And cleaning... You get the point. It is many many hours in a hot and humid environment. Even with boots on, my feet are constantly wet. Grain get very freaking heavy, after you've lifted 10,000 lbs worth to sort and stack in the grain room. It is very dusty and dirty, after milling a batch. Then cleaning the mash tun, when 1000 lbs of grain becomes almost 2000 lbs of wet, hot grain.
But you know what? Best decision of my life. I couldn't be happier, working a hard, labor intensive job for a smaller paycheck.  So you want to be a brewer? Better know what you really want. If you want all this, then good luck. A lot of people think they can handle this, but don't know what they are getting into. The head brewer where I work told me they have fired or let go of many assistants who thought it was all fun and drinking beer.
If you want to open your own brewery, better have a lot of capital to back you up. And be prepared to work harder than you ever have. If you truly love it, it won't be work.
I love my job, and go home more tired and sore, but ultimately more satisfied, than I ever have.
Thanks
Thank you for posting that.
Title: Re: So you want to be a brewer
Post by: boulderbrewer on July 16, 2013, 03:14:46 PM
People actually get paid to do this? Heck I do it for free.  ;)
Title: Re: So you want to be a brewer
Post by: thirsty on July 16, 2013, 03:21:28 PM
This thread has made me realize that I'm far too old, weak, and lazy to be a pro brewer.
Title: Re: So you want to be a brewer
Post by: redbeerman on July 16, 2013, 04:27:38 PM
This thread has made me realize that I'm far too old, weak, and lazy to be a pro brewer.

+1 on the old part anyway.
Title: Re: So you want to be a brewer
Post by: bluesman on July 16, 2013, 04:34:56 PM
I'm coming in here behind the ball, but here is my take on it:
I've been homebrewing for 3 years, and have been rather successful at it. Numerous gold medals, a silver, and more HMs than I could count. I've had the "Your beer is great! When do you open your brewery?" question many times. So I contacted a few wealthy friends about the idea, and one of them was very enthusiastic about it. Well, until it came time to actually put down some money for it, then he was strangely absent. Needless to say, I was pretty discouraged. I had spent a LOT of time, researching, meeting with other brewers, talking to city officials, etc...
So I decided to stick with just homebrewing.
But I never gave up my belief in, and desire for, becoming a pro brewer. 
I was lucky enough to meet with a local pro brewer through my club, and he mentioned that they needed an assistant. Who do you think was jumping up and down, shouting "Me! Me! Me!"? He then contacted me, after talking to several of the officers of the club, and offered me the job. It was a tough decision, to step away from a decent paying job, and start at the bottom in a new profession. But I did it, and have been the happiest I've ever been.
It is a lot of time spent cleaning. And cleaning. And cleaning. And cleaning... You get the point. It is many many hours in a hot and humid environment. Even with boots on, my feet are constantly wet. Grain get very freaking heavy, after you've lifted 10,000 lbs worth to sort and stack in the grain room. It is very dusty and dirty, after milling a batch. Then cleaning the mash tun, when 1000 lbs of grain becomes almost 2000 lbs of wet, hot grain.
But you know what? Best decision of my life. I couldn't be happier, working a hard, labor intensive job for a smaller paycheck.  So you want to be a brewer? Better know what you really want. If you want all this, then good luck. A lot of people think they can handle this, but don't know what they are getting into. The head brewer where I work told me they have fired or let go of many assistants who thought it was all fun and drinking beer.
If you want to open your own brewery, better have a lot of capital to back you up. And be prepared to work harder than you ever have. If you truly love it, it won't be work.
I love my job, and go home more tired and sore, but ultimately more satisfied, than I ever have.
Thanks

Nice summary. :)
Title: Re: So you want to be a brewer
Post by: Thirsty_Monk on July 16, 2013, 04:45:24 PM
People actually get paid to do this? Heck I do it for free.  ;)
This is call volunteering.
I have been doing this for 3 years now.
Title: Re: So you want to be a brewer
Post by: a10t2 on July 19, 2013, 03:59:43 PM
At a wedding reception I talked to a guy who is going pro. He has been brewing dice Christmas, on a Mr. Beer system. He has made four batches, all awesome. 8)
Jeff, send him the link to the article before he hurts himself!

If he's funded, let him buy the equipment, then send him the link!
Title: Re: So you want to be a brewer
Post by: boulderbrewer on July 21, 2013, 02:25:32 AM
TM we are always looking for help
Title: Re: So you want to be a brewer
Post by: roffenburger on July 22, 2013, 01:48:28 PM
For those who have a brewery, arr you able to have volunteers in to work. Does it become a liability for the company? How about "internships" not associated with academia?

Sent from my SCH-I535 using Tapatalk 4 Beta

Title: Re: So you want to be a brewer
Post by: anthony on July 22, 2013, 02:10:02 PM
For those who have a brewery, arr you able to have volunteers in to work. Does it become a liability for the company? How about "internships" not associated with academia?

Sent from my SCH-I535 using Tapatalk 4 Beta

It only becomes a liability if you don't already have the correct things set up. In my mind, before a stranger shows up to help you brew, the minimums you need set up are:

1) Payroll, you will want this person to be an employee, even if just for a day or two for a lot of reasons. The unpaid internship situation is getting a lot more federal attention too. Just add them to the payroll and pay them minimum wage for the day.

2) Workman's comp insurance, hopefully they don't get hurt, but if they do, you don't want to be liable for their injuries.

3) Commercial liability insurance, if this person accidentally blows up your brewery while helping or drops a shard of glass into a bottle while helping you bottle, you don't want to be liable for whatever happens after that if someone manages to drink the shard.

4) A reasonable waiver coupled with a non-disclosure agreement, the waiver part of this is a just-in-case. The non-disclosure agreement protects you. Ultimately it shows you took steps to protect your "trade secrets" in case this volunteer starts doing something un-dude-like with the knowledge you are sharing with them.

Even with these things set up, You need to use your best judgement and some of your gut feelings before bringing on random volunteers. I've had situations where volunteers accidentally switch around malt in a recipe, stand in front of the exhaust output from the heat exchanger, accidentally dump a few gallons of wort down the drain, get sprayed with wort, etc.
Title: Re: So you want to be a brewer
Post by: gogreen437 on July 22, 2013, 02:17:03 PM
People always say,"good beer! You should open a brewery!"

Yeah, I've gotten that a few times. My response is something like "thanks, but I don't want to borrow 50-100k from anyone to open a brewery."

Tryy 500-1000k and you will be way closer to the mark. You need at least 250k to really even consider making enough beer to kinda even think about paying anyone even min. wage.

It depends on what you are doing and where you are doing it and what kind of incentives local governments might give you for doing it, but after looking into it extensively you can definitely do it for less than a million. 250k is a good mark, but again, it depends on what you are doing.  A place opened by me recently for about 80 grand and is doing well.
Title: Re: So you want to be a brewer
Post by: majorvices on July 22, 2013, 02:20:20 PM
I agree, we started with about 80K. But that was not going to ever make us a dime until we got loans to get real equipment. Lotsa hard work, no pay (in fact, it was costing us to brew). The question is, how many people are willing to quit their day jobs or work two full time jobs to make it work. If you are, then more power to you.
Title: Re: So you want to be a brewer
Post by: majorvices on July 22, 2013, 02:24:05 PM
For those who have a brewery, arr you able to have volunteers in to work. Does it become a liability for the company? How about "internships" not associated with academia?

Sent from my SCH-I535 using Tapatalk 4 Beta

I only accepted 1 volunteer (have had lots of offers) and he became an employee that afternoon when I let another guy go who was not a very good worker. I made him sign a release form. It basically stated that he understood the risks and would not hold us liable. I also made sure he had his own health insurance.

Volunteers are not helpful, generally. It's a lot of teaching and training.

*Clarify that, I have had some friends help out of bottling days. They were "volunteers" who were rewarded with beers.
Title: Re: So you want to be a brewer
Post by: gogreen437 on July 22, 2013, 02:30:40 PM
The element that I see most often neglected is that most small start ups that actually turn profitable don't just do beer, they do food too.  And they do it well.
Title: Re: So you want to be a brewer
Post by: majorvices on July 22, 2013, 02:48:58 PM
The element that I see most often neglected is that most small start ups that actually turn profitable don't just do beer, they do food too.  And they do it well.

Sure, but that involves a restaurant, which is a different animal. You better have a good chef and you better have a good , experienced manager. I'm not seeing a profitable brewpub starting under 250K, though.
Title: Re: So you want to be a brewer
Post by: wckedpete on July 25, 2013, 09:14:00 PM
So I did all that the article said. I pulled a 12 hour day just yesterday and sweated my ass off in the brewhouse after a couple hours of cleaning brite tanks and a beer transfer. I do understand the appeal of brewing beer and getting paid for it. The first day all you do is keg and stack kegs, you will know if you are cut out for being a pro. The up side is i am getting in great shape, I get free beer (that I made), and I get satisfaction from talking with the male homebrew groupies. To sum it up, Brewing is glamourous, the rest of the s*** that is involved isn't and you never hear anyone talk about it. Just keep the office job, kegs weigh 160 lbs when they are full. You can get a lot of the same results from homebrewing. Plus, then you are the brewmaster!
Title: Re: So you want to be a brewer
Post by: joe_feist on July 30, 2013, 04:27:39 PM
Great discussion. Good points all the way around. I'm a home brewer. That's it. When some one likes my beer and pays me a compliment, I smile and thank them. I have a ton of respect for anyone with the guts to start their own business. Any business. Would I work in a brewery if I just got to play with the equipment, create recipes and flap my gums about beer all day? Hell, yeah! Who wouldn't? But I'm sure there's a lot more than that...see all the comments above.

So, you guys that have the drive, talent, resources...Thanks! I appreciate the effort and I'll  come by and buy a pint.

Oh, and thanks for the feedback on volunteers. I met a guy who is opening a brewery with tap room and a HBS. I was going to offer to "help." I want him to succeed. He's :30 minutes closer than my current LHBS. Maybe I'll reconsider.
Title: Re: So you want to be a brewer
Post by: ericbee on July 31, 2013, 05:25:46 PM
I am 32, but with no kids in site. Not until the wife finishes up her degree at least. I recently found some commercial property for a good price with a 4 bed 3 bath apartment attached which I could rent out that would be perfect to start. I am also convinced that I can be successful at anything I really put my mind to, but there in lies the problem. I am not 100% sure I could handle it. Without quiting the day job, I could still produce enough beer in the beginning, but it would come to a point where I would have to quit. By that point, the financial still don't quite make sense. I will still be trying to pay off everything while having just said goodbye to most of my income. I think I am stuck waiting for that lottery ticket or wealthy long lost relative that just so happens to think I deserve their vast fortune to pass.
Title: Re: So you want to be a brewer
Post by: dflittle on September 26, 2013, 06:41:04 PM
Good article. A lot like starting a restaurant or being a working, as opposed to TV, chef. Lots of long hard hours. I've done the chef thing...loved it but when I was ready to stuff an associate manager into the steamer one Sunday morning I went back to IT. Still cook, a lot, and recently started the homebrew "hobby". I'm thinking this "hobby" will get out of control like my BBQ fetish did a few years back and I got inot competition...burned out after 5 years and now just cook and que for fun! Working in beer, bbq, or other service/food industries is hard, hot, dangerous, and some of the most rewarding work you can ever do...but it's not for everyone that gets a compliment on the beer/food. Again, good article.
Title: Re: So you want to be a brewer
Post by: denny on September 26, 2013, 06:50:51 PM
Good article. A lot like starting a restaurant or being a working, as opposed to TV, chef. Lots of long hard hours. I've done the chef thing...loved it but when I was ready to stuff an associate manager into the steamer one Sunday morning I went back to IT. Still cook, a lot, and recently started the homebrew "hobby". I'm thinking this "hobby" will get out of control like my BBQ fetish did a few years back and I got inot competition...burned out after 5 years and now just cook and que for fun! Working in beer, bbq, or other service/food industries is hard, hot, dangerous, and some of the most rewarding work you can ever do...but it's not for everyone that gets a compliment on the beer/food. Again, good article.

Thanks for your insights...good to have you here!
Title: Re: So you want to be a brewer
Post by: micsager on September 30, 2013, 09:46:18 PM
I am 32, but with no kids in site. Not until the wife finishes up her degree at least. I recently found some commercial property for a good price with a 4 bed 3 bath apartment attached which I could rent out that would be perfect to start. I am also convinced that I can be successful at anything I really put my mind to, but there in lies the problem. I am not 100% sure I could handle it. Without quiting the day job, I could still produce enough beer in the beginning, but it would come to a point where I would have to quit. By that point, the financial still don't quite make sense. I will still be trying to pay off everything while having just said goodbye to most of my income. I think I am stuck waiting for that lottery ticket or wealthy long lost relative that just so happens to think I deserve their vast fortune to pass.

The TTB gives extra scrutiny to attached residences.  They will approve, but it's a tougher hurdle.  My wife and I are doing the hobby brewer thing.  We brew about 2bbls a week, and sell it all.  And we make a little money at it, but no way can we quite our day jobs.  We are working on a taproom, and unless the gvt shuts down tonight, should have the modified floor plan approved.  But the we have to staff it, and that just adds more complexity to life.   
Title: Re: So you want to be a brewer
Post by: reverseapachemaster on October 02, 2013, 02:05:18 PM
I am 32, but with no kids in site. Not until the wife finishes up her degree at least. I recently found some commercial property for a good price with a 4 bed 3 bath apartment attached which I could rent out that would be perfect to start. I am also convinced that I can be successful at anything I really put my mind to, but there in lies the problem. I am not 100% sure I could handle it. Without quiting the day job, I could still produce enough beer in the beginning, but it would come to a point where I would have to quit. By that point, the financial still don't quite make sense. I will still be trying to pay off everything while having just said goodbye to most of my income. I think I am stuck waiting for that lottery ticket or wealthy long lost relative that just so happens to think I deserve their vast fortune to pass.

The TTB gives extra scrutiny to attached residences.  They will approve, but it's a tougher hurdle.  My wife and I are doing the hobby brewer thing.  We brew about 2bbls a week, and sell it all.  And we make a little money at it, but no way can we quite our day jobs.  We are working on a taproom, and unless the gvt shuts down tonight, should have the modified floor plan approved.  But the we have to staff it, and that just adds more complexity to life.   

So it can/should be pointed out that the shutdown has closed the TTB for approval of labels and permits.
Title: Re: So you want to be a brewer
Post by: narvin on October 02, 2013, 02:32:27 PM
No one to enforce the selling of unlicensed beer.   Everyone over to my house, $3 pints!

If the state asks, it's a private club for bearded men only.
Title: Re: So you want to be a brewer
Post by: Pawtucket Patriot on October 02, 2013, 03:08:27 PM
No one to enforce the selling of unlicensed beer.   Everyone over to my house, $3 pints!

If the state asks, it's a private club for bearded men only.

On the flipside, no one to process and approve Brewers Notices right now, which does not make me happy. >:(
Title: Re: So you want to be a brewer
Post by: micsager on October 02, 2013, 03:37:26 PM
No one to enforce the selling of unlicensed beer.   Everyone over to my house, $3 pints!

If the state asks, it's a private club for bearded men only.

On the flipside, no one to process and approve Brewers Notices right now, which does not make me happy. >:(

Yep, we've got a revised floor plan and new trade name application in.  Both were at Managers Disposition.  Floor plan is no big deal, but we could sure use that new trade name.  uuggghhhh

 
Title: Re: So you want to be a brewer
Post by: bluesman on October 02, 2013, 04:31:45 PM
No one to enforce the selling of unlicensed beer.   Everyone over to my house, $3 pints!

If the state asks, it's a private club for bearded men only.

On the flipside, no one to process and approve Brewers Notices right now, which does not make me happy. >:(

It's a harsh reality. I really didn't think the shutdown would occur. Hope they can get this thing worked out real soon.
Title: Re: So you want to be a brewer
Post by: Thirsty_Monk on October 02, 2013, 10:11:34 PM
I can not submit my label for another can.
I guess I will wait.

I will go for party of bearded men.
I will fit in.
Title: Re: So you want to be a brewer
Post by: klickitat jim on October 02, 2013, 10:43:50 PM
I kinda like it. Its so rare that libertarians get their dream come true, even though I know it won't last.
Title: Re: So you want to be a brewer
Post by: Pawtucket Patriot on October 02, 2013, 11:51:05 PM
I kinda like it. Its so rare that libertarians get their dream come true, even though I know it won't last.

Ha...this made me laugh.   ;D
Title: Re: So you want to be a brewer
Post by: Thirsty_Monk on October 03, 2013, 01:42:03 AM
I kinda like it. Its so rare that libertarians get their dream come true, even though I know it won't last.

Ha...this made me laugh.   ;D
Well it is sort of shut down. Did you see your mail man today? He was working.
I guess this service is important to collect taxes.
Title: Re: So you want to be a brewer
Post by: majorvices on October 03, 2013, 02:30:17 AM
I don't think it's April....?
Title: Re: So you want to be a brewer
Post by: klickitat jim on October 03, 2013, 02:47:58 AM
October must be quarterlies?
Title: Re: So you want to be a brewer
Post by: a10t2 on October 03, 2013, 06:33:34 AM
I kinda like it. Its so rare that libertarians get their dream come true, even though I know it won't last.

I think you're confusing libertarianism with... What do you call it when you pay *more* but get fewer services? Obstructionism is the only word that comes to mind.
Title: Re: So you want to be a brewer
Post by: redbeerman on October 03, 2013, 11:46:26 AM
Ask a furloughed government worker or anyone in their family how they feel about it.  >:(
Title: Re: So you want to be a brewer
Post by: klickitat jim on October 03, 2013, 02:13:23 PM
No confusion here what so ever.
Title: Re: So you want to be a brewer
Post by: klickitat jim on October 03, 2013, 02:24:37 PM
Ask a furloughed government worker or anyone in their family how they feel about it.  >:(
I was stationed in Japan, serving in Reagan's USMC during a shut down and had to wait for pay. Its part of serving your country in my opinion.
Title: Re: So you want to be a brewer
Post by: redbeerman on October 03, 2013, 02:33:48 PM
Ask a furloughed government worker or anyone in their family how they feel about it.  >:(
I was stationed in Japan, serving in Reagan's USMC during a shut down and had to wait for pay. Its part of serving your country in my opinion.

I'm guessing with the Corps you were still getting three squares and had a roof over your head though. ;)  And of course they did pay you back pay once it was over.
Title: Re: So you want to be a brewer
Post by: klickitat jim on October 03, 2013, 02:56:33 PM
Lived off post with preggers wife. Yes reimbursed because I still had to go to work. Just saying that I've been there, that's all. Not arguing, not better than. There are far worse times coming I think.
Title: Re: So you want to be a brewer
Post by: redbeerman on October 03, 2013, 03:09:14 PM
Lived off post with preggers wife. Yes reimbursed because I still had to go to work. Just saying that I've been there, that's all. Not arguing, not better than. There are far worse times coming I think.

Never a good thing, for sure.  And I can't say I disagree with your prediction, unfortunately. :P  Lucky I have a decent job, no doubt, but I do worry about younger folks I know that are less fortunate in this mess.
Title: Re: So you want to be a brewer
Post by: denny on October 03, 2013, 03:22:37 PM
Guys, this is getting dangerously close to a political discussion.  If you're going to discuss government stupidity, please do it within the context of how it effects beer, not the government itself.
Title: Re: So you want to be a brewer
Post by: thebigbaker on October 03, 2013, 03:26:37 PM
Guys, this is getting dangerously close to a political discussion.  If you're going to discuss government stupidity, please do it within the context of how it effects beer, not the government itself.

I'm guessing that a thread on government stupidity would surpass the length of the "Song Title" thread!  ;D
Title: Re: So you want to be a brewer
Post by: klickitat jim on October 03, 2013, 03:42:44 PM
The wait for an ok to do a beer label is what caught my attention. I'm not convinced that we really need DC bureaucrats to survive that decision. If we do, we have huge problems
Title: Re: So you want to be a brewer
Post by: redbeerman on October 03, 2013, 03:44:55 PM
I wish there was no reason to have this conversation. :o
Title: Re: So you want to be a brewer
Post by: bluesman on October 03, 2013, 04:35:25 PM
I wish there was no reason to have this conversation. :o

Except maybe that I now have a stronger urge to brew a batch of homebrew.
Title: Re: So you want to be a brewer
Post by: klickitat jim on October 03, 2013, 05:19:22 PM
Yes!
My problem is that I feel "no politics" is the most political thing one can say. But, I'll bet the owner of the forum has a 503 tax exemption which limits political activities. Therefore it's best for all of us to avoid it altogether unless it's linked to brewing and nonpartisan. So, my apologies if I lead anyone down that path.
Title: Re: So you want to be a brewer
Post by: denny on October 03, 2013, 05:23:56 PM
Jim, I have no idea about the status of the AHA other than it's a non profit.  But that's not the point.  The reason for the "no politics, race, or religion" rule is to help maintain a friendly, civil atmosphere based on our shared love of brewing.
Title: Re: So you want to be a brewer
Post by: klickitat jim on October 03, 2013, 06:09:41 PM
That too my friend. Its an easily emotional topic. We probably would change much anyway other than the atmosphere of the forum. Agreed not worth it. Back to brewing
Title: Re: So you want to be a brewer
Post by: a10t2 on October 03, 2013, 07:20:01 PM
The wait for an ok to do a beer label is what caught my attention. I'm not convinced that we really need DC bureaucrats to survive that decision.

Only if the beer is going to cross state lines. Blame the founding fathers for that one.
Title: Re: So you want to be a brewer
Post by: hopfenundmalz on October 03, 2013, 08:04:09 PM
The wait for an ok to do a beer label is what caught my attention. I'm not convinced that we really need DC bureaucrats to survive that decision.

Only if the beer is going to cross state lines. Blame the founding fathers for that one.

Have you got your brewery permits? Opening when?
Title: Re: So you want to be a brewer
Post by: a10t2 on October 03, 2013, 11:51:00 PM
Have you got your brewery permits? Opening when?

Looking at an early spring opening. Right now we're waiting on our SBA loan approval - or rather we were. :-\
Title: Re: So you want to be a brewer
Post by: Pawtucket Patriot on October 04, 2013, 12:48:39 AM
Have you got your brewery permits? Opening when?

Looking at an early spring opening. Right now we're waiting on our SBA loan approval - or rather we were. :-\

Sean, I feel for ya man.  We're on a similar timeline as far as opening.  I was telling my wife the other day how lucky we are that we started the SBA application process when we did.  We were approved in mid-September and closed on our loan shortly afterward.  At least we were able to order our equipment with the proceeds.  But we still need to get our Brewer's Notice application in.  It's all ready to go, but there's no one to process.   :'(
Title: Re: So you want to be a brewer
Post by: Thirsty_Monk on October 04, 2013, 01:30:32 AM
Have you got your brewery permits? Opening when?

Looking at an early spring opening. Right now we're waiting on our SBA loan approval - or rather we were. :-\

Sean, I feel for ya man.  We're on a similar timeline as far as opening.  I was telling my wife the other day how lucky we are that we started the SBA application process when we did.  We were approved in mid-September and closed on our loan shortly afterward.  At least we were able to order our equipment with the proceeds.  But we still need to get our Brewer's Notice application in.  It's all ready to go, but there's no one to process.   :'(
Just send the application to me. I will approve it :)
Title: Re: So you want to be a brewer
Post by: narvin on October 04, 2013, 02:04:11 AM
The wait for an ok to do a beer label is what caught my attention. I'm not convinced that we really need DC bureaucrats to survive that decision.

Only if the beer is going to cross state lines. Blame the founding fathers for that one.

So how does that work?  I remember reading on probrewer that someone wanted to get a kind of generic keg/tap label approved for their brewpub so they could do new styles more quickly, but it was denied.  Do you only need TTB approval if you're selling out of state?
Title: Re: So you want to be a brewer
Post by: Pawtucket Patriot on October 04, 2013, 12:05:42 PM
The wait for an ok to do a beer label is what caught my attention. I'm not convinced that we really need DC bureaucrats to survive that decision.

Only if the beer is going to cross state lines. Blame the founding fathers for that one.

So how does that work?  I remember reading on probrewer that someone wanted to get a kind of generic keg/tap label approved for their brewpub so they could do new styles more quickly, but it was denied.  Do you only need TTB approval if you're selling out of state?

Right, you only need to go through the federal labeling approval process (COLA) if you are selling beer out of state.  Unless beer is being sold in interstate commerce, the feds have no authority to regulate it.  Thanks to the 21st Amendment, the individual states retain exclusive control over alcohol regulation if the alcohol stays within their borders.
Title: Re: So you want to be a brewer
Post by: anthony on October 04, 2013, 01:49:13 PM
The wait for an ok to do a beer label is what caught my attention. I'm not convinced that we really need DC bureaucrats to survive that decision.

Only if the beer is going to cross state lines. Blame the founding fathers for that one.

So how does that work?  I remember reading on probrewer that someone wanted to get a kind of generic keg/tap label approved for their brewpub so they could do new styles more quickly, but it was denied.  Do you only need TTB approval if you're selling out of state?

Right, you only need to go through the federal labeling approval process (COLA) if you are selling beer out of state.  Unless beer is being sold in interstate commerce, the feds have no authority to regulate it.  Thanks to the 21st Amendment, the individual states retain exclusive control over alcohol regulation if the alcohol stays within their borders.

Though some states still require COLAs even within state borders.
Title: Re: So you want to be a brewer
Post by: Pawtucket Patriot on October 04, 2013, 02:09:17 PM
The wait for an ok to do a beer label is what caught my attention. I'm not convinced that we really need DC bureaucrats to survive that decision.

Only if the beer is going to cross state lines. Blame the founding fathers for that one.

So how does that work?  I remember reading on probrewer that someone wanted to get a kind of generic keg/tap label approved for their brewpub so they could do new styles more quickly, but it was denied.  Do you only need TTB approval if you're selling out of state?

Right, you only need to go through the federal labeling approval process (COLA) if you are selling beer out of state.  Unless beer is being sold in interstate commerce, the feds have no authority to regulate it.  Thanks to the 21st Amendment, the individual states retain exclusive control over alcohol regulation if the alcohol stays within their borders.

Though some states still require COLAs even within state borders.

True, and most states have their own unique labeling approval requirements.  E.g, Minnesota requires us to file brand registrations for each brand @ $40 a pop.
Title: Re: So you want to be a brewer
Post by: bluesman on October 04, 2013, 04:30:51 PM
Have you got your brewery permits? Opening when?

Looking at an early spring opening. Right now we're waiting on our SBA loan approval - or rather we were. :-\

Sean, I feel for ya man.  We're on a similar timeline as far as opening.  I was telling my wife the other day how lucky we are that we started the SBA application process when we did.  We were approved in mid-September and closed on our loan shortly afterward.  At least we were able to order our equipment with the proceeds.  But we still need to get our Brewer's Notice application in.  It's all ready to go, but there's no one to process.   :'(

Hoping this shutdown gets resolved soon. When did you file your app? How much was your bond?
Title: Re: So you want to be a brewer
Post by: Pawtucket Patriot on October 04, 2013, 05:42:37 PM
Ron, we were hoping to submit the app this week.  We're just going to post a collateral bond for $1,000.  It just seems so much easier than going through a bonding company.
Title: Re: So you want to be a brewer
Post by: klickitat jim on October 04, 2013, 07:14:25 PM
Educate me. What on the label is being approved?
Title: Re: So you want to be a brewer
Post by: Pawtucket Patriot on October 04, 2013, 07:25:10 PM
Educate me. What on the label is being approved?

http://www.ttb.gov/beer/bam.shtml
Title: Re: So you want to be a brewer
Post by: klickitat jim on October 04, 2013, 07:56:58 PM
So you have a law, and you can't simply abide by it, you must prove you are abiding by it and get permission to continue to abide by it?
Title: Re: So you want to be a brewer
Post by: redbeerman on October 04, 2013, 08:03:48 PM
Unfortunately, enforcement after the fact doesn't work very well.  And this is just the label.  Yow! :o
Title: Re: So you want to be a brewer
Post by: morticaixavier on October 04, 2013, 08:05:53 PM
So you have a law, and you can't simply abide by it, you must prove you are abiding by it and get permission to continue to abide by it?

dude, it's not fair to drop politics bombs like that when you know we are not supposed to respond.

I'll just say that I think that margarine should still be bright green by law and Wonder 'Bread' should have to be labeled Wonder 'Artificial Bread Product'

So I guess will have to disagree on this point.
Title: Re: So you want to be a brewer
Post by: klickitat jim on October 04, 2013, 08:13:09 PM
Truly I want to avoid the P word. Is that P word stuff? I don't think so but could be wrong I guess. Imagine if you had to call the highway patrol to get approved to drive your new car to work at the speed limit. Now I'm certain I'll never sell beer. Zoinks!
Title: Re: So you want to be a brewer
Post by: morticaixavier on October 04, 2013, 08:16:17 PM
Truly I want to avoid the P word. Is that P word stuff? I don't think so but could be wrong I guess. Imagine if you had to call the highway patrol to get approved to drive your new car to work at the speed limit. Now I'm certain I'll never sell beer. Zoinks!

If you are a professional driver, in a lot of cases you essentially DO have to ask permission ahead of time... come to think of it we ALL need to ask permission ahead of time to drive. It's called a drivers license.

When you buy a car in many states it has to be inspected (yearly in some) to make sure it's safe to operate. So, more or less what you propose is already a reality.
Title: Re: So you want to be a brewer
Post by: klickitat jim on October 04, 2013, 08:29:35 PM
Unfortunately, enforcement after the fact doesn't work very well.  And this is just the label.  Yow! :o
Actually you are now speaking of something I know about. All of the criminal laws are enforced after the fact, or attempting the fact. Civil may be different I suppose in a few abstract circumstances. I'll resign the day I have to arrest people who statistically might break the law.

I'm with you if you're saying (example) a guy's sells rice that contains peanuts to a peanut intolerant customer with no warning. .. its too late for that guy.

On the other hand, does the average person have to prove they are abiding by the law unless they are suspected of not?
Title: Re: So you want to be a brewer
Post by: klickitat jim on October 04, 2013, 08:32:48 PM
Truly I want to avoid the P word. Is that P word stuff? I don't think so but could be wrong I guess. Imagine if you had to call the highway patrol to get approved to drive your new car to work at the speed limit. Now I'm certain I'll never sell beer. Zoinks!

If you are a professional driver, in a lot of cases you essentially DO have to ask permission ahead of time... come to think of it we ALL need to ask permission ahead of time to drive. It's called a drivers license.

When you buy a car in many states it has to be inspected (yearly in some) to make sure it's safe to operate. So, more or less what you propose is already a reality.

This is fun. I'm tracking ya here. On your side. But this is an established brewery right? So, imagine needing to get a new drivers license when you buy a NEW car. Or new to you.
Title: Re: So you want to be a brewer
Post by: klickitat jim on October 04, 2013, 08:49:41 PM
I'm just really glad I'm not in that position I guess. If it were up to me they could safely make, label, and sell whatever they wanted to.
Title: Re: So you want to be a brewer
Post by: morticaixavier on October 04, 2013, 08:57:09 PM
I'm just really glad I'm not in that position I guess. If it were up to me they could safely make, label, and sell whatever they wanted to.

ahh but how do you ensure they are doing it safely?
Title: Re: So you want to be a brewer
Post by: Joe Sr. on October 04, 2013, 08:59:17 PM
So you have a law, and you can't simply abide by it, you must prove you are abiding by it and get permission to continue to abide by it?

I would think the costs of packaging, distribution, etc. are high enough that you would want to know in advance that you are not in violation of the law.  Particularly as labeling laws seem open to some interpretation.
Title: Re: So you want to be a brewer
Post by: klickitat jim on October 04, 2013, 09:07:49 PM
I'm just really glad I'm not in that position I guess. If it were up to me they could safely make, label, and sell whatever they wanted to.

ahh but how do you ensure they are doing it safely?

Seems to me the only way would be to have an inspector who tests what's in every bottle and certify that it's what the label says. Though it might be more efficient to hammer them later IF they lie.
Title: Re: So you want to be a brewer
Post by: klickitat jim on October 04, 2013, 09:09:17 PM
So you have a law, and you can't simply abide by it, you must prove you are abiding by it and get permission to continue to abide by it?

I would think the costs of packaging, distribution, etc. are high enough that you would want to know in advance that you are not in violation of the law.  Particularly as labeling laws seem open to some interpretation.
It would make sense huh? Especially if your printing up a million dollars worth.
Title: Re: So you want to be a brewer
Post by: micsager on October 04, 2013, 09:22:26 PM
Quite the discussion.......

I wonder if anyone out there has had a label request denied, and for what reason.  I got two approved int he spring, and it really quite easy and fast.  (of TTB was open for business then)

But still, I'd like to hear the WHY of a denial.

Title: Re: So you want to be a brewer
Post by: Joe Sr. on October 04, 2013, 09:24:47 PM
Didn't Bert Grant get screwed around on label approvals way back in the day?
Title: Re: So you want to be a brewer
Post by: Slowbrew on October 04, 2013, 09:26:46 PM
Truly I want to avoid the P word. Is that P word stuff? I don't think so but could be wrong I guess. Imagine if you had to call the highway patrol to get approved to drive your new car to work at the speed limit. Now I'm certain I'll never sell beer. Zoinks!

If you are a professional driver, in a lot of cases you essentially DO have to ask permission ahead of time... come to think of it we ALL need to ask permission ahead of time to drive. It's called a drivers license.

When you buy a car in many states it has to be inspected (yearly in some) to make sure it's safe to operate. So, more or less what you propose is already a reality.

This is fun. I'm tracking ya here. On your side. But this is an established brewery right? So, imagine needing to get a new drivers license when you buy a NEW car. Or new to you.

Think of the license plate as the label and the analogy kinda works.

Paul
Title: Re: So you want to be a brewer
Post by: klickitat jim on October 04, 2013, 09:30:15 PM
Yes it does! And mort schooled me there. I keep forgetting that commerce is a privilege like driving, not a right.
Title: Re: So you want to be a brewer
Post by: greatplainsbrewer on October 04, 2013, 10:44:49 PM
And once again, great forum.  You'd have to search high and low on the internet these days to find another forum where folks can admit to being schooled.  Nice to see adult behavior (even if I don't understand label requirements)
Title: Re: So you want to be a brewer
Post by: narvin on October 05, 2013, 04:58:14 AM
I'd be interested to know what the local requirements are in many places.  I know interstate commerce can be a PITA, but it seems like a brewpub should be able to release new beers like a restaurant adds new menu items.  Not sure that any place ever got shut down for having profanity on their food menu, unlike beer label approval.
Title: Re: So you want to be a brewer
Post by: a10t2 on October 05, 2013, 05:20:47 AM
I wonder if anyone out there has had a label request denied, and for what reason.

Two recent ones that come to mind are Lagunitas's "Whiskey Tango Foxtrot" (because you can't imply that it contains spirits) and Firestone Walker's "Velvet Merkin" (for being prurient, or something to that effect). In both cases, they were approved after minor name changes.
Title: Re: So you want to be a brewer
Post by: BrewingRover on October 05, 2013, 12:37:02 PM
Didn't Bert Grant get screwed around on label approvals way back in the day?

Bert put nutritional information on a six pack carrier and was told to knock it off.
http://www.yoursforgoodfermentables.com/2013/06/decades-later-bert-grant-wins-argument.html
Title: Re: So you want to be a brewer
Post by: Thirsty_Monk on October 06, 2013, 08:04:43 PM
I wonder if anyone out there has had a label request denied, and for what reason.

Two recent ones that come to mind are Lagunitas's "Whiskey Tango Foxtrot" (because you can't imply that it contains spirits) and Firestone Walker's "Velvet Merkin" (for being prurient, or something to that effect). In both cases, they were approved after minor name changes.
I had a couple.
Vienna Lager was denied because it "implied" that it was brewed in Vienna.
Vienna Style Lager was suggested.
Not sure why this is not case about Pilsner.
Title: Re: So you want to be a brewer
Post by: Thirsty_Monk on October 06, 2013, 08:10:11 PM
The wait for an ok to do a beer label is what caught my attention. I'm not convinced that we really need DC bureaucrats to survive that decision.

Only if the beer is going to cross state lines. Blame the founding fathers for that one.

So how does that work?  I remember reading on probrewer that someone wanted to get a kind of generic keg/tap label approved for their brewpub so they could do new styles more quickly, but it was denied.  Do you only need TTB approval if you're selling out of state?

Right, you only need to go through the federal labeling approval process (COLA) if you are selling beer out of state.  Unless beer is being sold in interstate commerce, the feds have no authority to regulate it.  Thanks to the 21st Amendment, the individual states retain exclusive control over alcohol regulation if the alcohol stays within their borders.

To my knowledge you need to have label approved even in instate commerce.
Simply put it I would not have cans printed without COLA approval.
Title: Re: So you want to be a brewer
Post by: Pawtucket Patriot on October 06, 2013, 09:59:00 PM
The TTB fraud prevention agent I spoke with a few weeks ago told me that COLAs are only necessary when a brewery is distributing outside of its home state.  I can't think of any harm from filing for a COLA even if a brewery is only distributing in its home state.  And, if you plan on distributing to other states in the future, it will save a step down the road.
Title: Re: So you want to be a brewer
Post by: boulderbrewer on October 07, 2013, 04:15:21 PM
Pawtucket Patriot,
Check with you insurance agent about getting a brewers bond. That's what we did, we needed one for the Feds and one for the State. "Should be easy" to increase the bond when you need to, we have not had to do that, so take "Should be easy" with a grain of salt.
Title: Re: So you want to be a brewer
Post by: Pawtucket Patriot on October 07, 2013, 04:27:50 PM
Pawtucket Patriot,
Check with you insurance agent about getting a brewers bond. That's what we did, we needed one for the Feds and one for the State. "Should be easy" to increase the bond when you need to, we have not had to do that, so take "Should be easy" with a grain of salt.

Thanks for the suggestion!  I'll definitely look into that.
Title: Re: So you want to be a brewer
Post by: bluesman on October 07, 2013, 04:35:52 PM
Pawtucket Patriot,
Check with you insurance agent about getting a brewers bond. That's what we did, we needed one for the Feds and one for the State. "Should be easy" to increase the bond when you need to, we have not had to do that, so take "Should be easy" with a grain of salt.

Thanks for the suggestion!  I'll definitely look into that.

I got the same advice (insurance company bond) from the TTB several weeks ago. However, they (TTB) told me that a lot of small breweries put up the money themselves, because it's cheaper for them. Although, I haven't followed through on the research for this just yet.
Title: Re: So you want to be a brewer
Post by: boulderbrewer on October 07, 2013, 06:05:44 PM
Both of ours were less than a tenth of bond itself.
Title: Re: So you want to be a brewer
Post by: Thirsty_Monk on October 08, 2013, 12:54:06 AM
Pawtucket Patriot,
Check with you insurance agent about getting a brewers bond. That's what we did, we needed one for the Feds and one for the State. "Should be easy" to increase the bond when you need to, we have not had to do that, so take "Should be easy" with a grain of salt.

Thanks for the suggestion!  I'll definitely look into that.
Pawtucket Patriot Federal filing for us small brewers is quarterly. I think with your system you need a bigger federal bond then $1000. This bond is good for 142 BBL and I think you will want to produce and sell more then that in a quarter of the year. I would recommend to get sufficient bond that you will not have to "strengthen" it. You have to file for new bond every 4 years anyway. 

To my knowledge breweries that produce and sell more then 10,000/year have to file monthly.
Title: Re: So you want to be a brewer
Post by: Pawtucket Patriot on October 08, 2013, 11:47:56 AM
Hey Leos,

Actually, the TTB passed a temporary rule at the end of 2012 (which is still in effect), that reduces the bond amount for small brewers to $1,000 so long as the small brewer pays less than $50k in excise taxes in a given year.  Because the federal excise tax rate is $7 on the first 60k barrels, that $50k in taxes is equal to producing approximately 7,142 barrels per year.  We are estimating that we will produce fewer than 7,142 barrels per year for the first several years, so our initial bond rate should be $1,000.
Title: Re: So you want to be a brewer
Post by: Thirsty_Monk on October 08, 2013, 01:23:01 PM
Hey Leos,

Actually, the TTB passed a temporary rule at the end of 2012 (which is still in effect), that reduces the bond amount for small brewers to $1,000 so long as the small brewer pays less than $50k in excise taxes in a given year.  Because the federal excise tax rate is $7 on the first 60k barrels, that $50k in taxes is equal to producing approximately 7,142 barrels per year.  We are estimating that we will produce fewer than 7,142 barrels per year for the first several years, so our initial bond rate should be $1,000.
See I should have you on retainer for any advice.
Thank you for the info.
I was starting to worry that I will have to Increase the bond to $2000.
Title: Re: So you want to be a brewer
Post by: Pawtucket Patriot on October 08, 2013, 01:46:30 PM
Hey Leos,

Actually, the TTB passed a temporary rule at the end of 2012 (which is still in effect), that reduces the bond amount for small brewers to $1,000 so long as the small brewer pays less than $50k in excise taxes in a given year.  Because the federal excise tax rate is $7 on the first 60k barrels, that $50k in taxes is equal to producing approximately 7,142 barrels per year.  We are estimating that we will produce fewer than 7,142 barrels per year for the first several years, so our initial bond rate should be $1,000.
See I should have you on retainer for any advice.
Thank you for the info.
I was starting to worry that I will have to Increase the bond to $2000.

 ;D  No problem!
Title: Re: So you want to be a brewer
Post by: boulderbrewer on October 08, 2013, 01:55:28 PM
Hey Leos,

Actually, the TTB passed a temporary rule at the end of 2012 (which is still in effect), that reduces the bond amount for small brewers to $1,000 so long as the small brewer pays less than $50k in excise taxes in a given year.  Because the federal excise tax rate is $7 on the first 60k barrels, that $50k in taxes is equal to producing approximately 7,142 barrels per year.  We are estimating that we will produce fewer than 7,142 barrels per year for the first several years, so our initial bond rate should be $1,000.
See I should have you on retainer for any advice.
Thank you for the info.
I was starting to worry that I will have to Increase the bond to $2000.

 ;D  No problem!

This was a temporary rule? I thought is was that way always. Never the less I appreciated the rule.
Title: Re: So you want to be a brewer
Post by: bluesman on October 08, 2013, 04:25:27 PM
Hey Leos,

Actually, the TTB passed a temporary rule at the end of 2012 (which is still in effect), that reduces the bond amount for small brewers to $1,000 so long as the small brewer pays less than $50k in excise taxes in a given year.  Because the federal excise tax rate is $7 on the first 60k barrels, that $50k in taxes is equal to producing approximately 7,142 barrels per year.  We are estimating that we will produce fewer than 7,142 barrels per year for the first several years, so our initial bond rate should be $1,000.
See I should have you on retainer for any advice.
Thank you for the info.
I was starting to worry that I will have to Increase the bond to $2000.

+1

I wasn't aware of this rule either. :)
Title: Re: So you want to be a brewer
Post by: Pawtucket Patriot on October 08, 2013, 04:33:34 PM
Hey Leos,

Actually, the TTB passed a temporary rule at the end of 2012 (which is still in effect), that reduces the bond amount for small brewers to $1,000 so long as the small brewer pays less than $50k in excise taxes in a given year.  Because the federal excise tax rate is $7 on the first 60k barrels, that $50k in taxes is equal to producing approximately 7,142 barrels per year.  We are estimating that we will produce fewer than 7,142 barrels per year for the first several years, so our initial bond rate should be $1,000.
See I should have you on retainer for any advice.
Thank you for the info.
I was starting to worry that I will have to Increase the bond to $2000.

 ;D  No problem!

This was a temporary rule? I thought is was that way always. Never the less I appreciated the rule.

Yep.  It's a temporary rule that is in effect for a period of three years.  Hopefully, they'll make it permanent after the three-year period lapses.

http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2012-12-07/pdf/2012-29488.pdf