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General Category => Going Pro => Topic started by: Austin Ruuska on December 03, 2020, 03:50:15 am

Title: Starting a home brew store
Post by: Austin Ruuska on December 03, 2020, 03:50:15 am
I’m looking into the possibility of opening a home brew supply store, with most of the focus being to new home brewers online.

I’m working on the business plan right now, but I’m wondering a few things, I know there are laws regarding shipping of alcohol, but google hasn’t shown anything about shipping yeast, grains, or hops, are there certain laws pertaining to it? What about storage?

This is gonna start out as a strictly online store, so will I be able to operate everything at home or do I need to have a separate commercial location?

Any other tips or tricks would be amazing!
Title: Re: Starting a home brew store
Post by: Kevin on December 03, 2020, 07:42:59 am
Online is going to be a tough market to crack. Northern Brewer, MoreBeer, AiH, Austin, Midwest, and others are so ubiquitous and top of mind with homebrewers I fear you are in for a tough fight.

It might be easier to look at the physical market first then add online as an added service with an eye toward growing that as you go.
Title: Re: Starting a home brew store
Post by: majorvices on December 03, 2020, 07:52:11 am
There are no laws pertaining to shipping yeast, grain, hops, etc. You can even make wort all day long and not worry about shipping or selling it as long as you don't put yeast in it. Once you put yeast in wort US wants his cut so then you deal with TTB.

Shipping gases and chemicals have their own hazards that I'm sure will be explained to you by shipping companies.

Keep in mind that you will need to have a MASSIVE inventory to be successful. Too many HBS have gone under because they couldn't keep items in stock.
Title: Re: Starting a home brew store
Post by: ravenwater on December 03, 2020, 08:36:45 am
Online is going to be a tough market to crack. Northern Brewer, MoreBeer, AiH, Austin, Midwest, and others are so ubiquitous and top of mind with homebrewers I fear you are in for a tough fight.

It might be easier to look at the physical market first then add online as an added service with an eye toward growing that as you go.

Agreed. I hate to be discouraging and of course am just one opinion, but my sense is that online would be hard to break into. Even if one were to out-do the large established outfits price wise (thereby reducing profitability) one would need a way to achieve visibility in the large marketplace and funnel business to yourself which involves marketing $$, etc. As Kevin says, there are a handful of places with large inventory that are the go-to for many brewers, myself included. On the other hand I purchase most of my ingredients, my minerals and chemicals, and odds and ends of equipment at my local store - - there's no waiting on shipping time, I can buy grains by the ounce, and I have established a relationship with the owner that has value. He keeps a pretty considerable inventory so that helps or I'd be less inclined to rely on him.
Title: Re: Starting a home brew store
Post by: kramerog on December 03, 2020, 09:14:15 am
Whether you are allowed to have a business in your home is a matter of zoning, not alcohol or federal law.
Title: Re: Starting a home brew store
Post by: Wilbur on December 03, 2020, 02:56:48 pm
A member of the homebrew club of the next town over started a online only store. He stores everything in a air conditioned commercial storage space, and offers pick up at club meetings and free local delivery on Thursdays and Saturdays. If you want to run this as more of a side hustle this might not be a bad way to go.

http://www.alchemyhomebrew.com/inventory-pricing--order-form.html (http://www.alchemyhomebrew.com/inventory-pricing--order-form.html)
Title: Re: Starting a home brew store
Post by: Austin Ruuska on December 03, 2020, 07:29:52 pm
Online is going to be a tough market to crack. Northern Brewer, MoreBeer, AiH, Austin, Midwest, and others are so ubiquitous and top of mind with homebrewers I fear you are in for a tough fight.

It might be easier to look at the physical market first then add online as an added service with an eye toward growing that as you go.

I left out quite a bit of detail, my main focus is gonna start with beginner brewers, kinda a way to help newbies out in a way that I wish I had, starting small, simple kits and supplies, with room for expansion, it’s gonna be a side job at first, as well as learning material online, and gradually working my way into a physical store
Title: Re: Starting a home brew store
Post by: ravenwater on December 04, 2020, 08:28:38 am
Sounds like you've got a vision of how to ease into things and carve out a spot for yourself - sincere best wishes for your enterprise.