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General Category => General Homebrew Discussion => Topic started by: weazletoe on May 22, 2011, 03:50:28 AM

Title: Selling.....maybe?
Post by: weazletoe on May 22, 2011, 03:50:28 AM
Should I?There's a dude out here in Idaho, older guy than me, he could be my dad, actually....and he is pretty well off. He is pushing me hard to get a license (on hs dime) and set up to sell to resturants, etc.... He's been looking at it pretty closely, and researching. I gotta tell ya guys, it's real tempting. Of course, I'd start real small at fist. Maybe even have to give away a few kegs, from there, charge a small fee. If I get enough room to ferment, I figure I could kick out a fair amount of beer in a few days.
  Let's say 5 gal cost me 15$ to brew...I could sell that 5 gallons for 40$, I'm thinking. There's 40 pints in 5 gallons. So, if they charge 5$ a pint, that's a 160$ profit for the buyer. Pretty good investment, no?
  Am I crazy for even considering this? Should I even try? I mean, I sure have the time to do it. And, despite what I say, and all the trash talking I do of myself, I make some pretty dang good beer. Nothing vertured, nothing gained, right?

  Major? Where are you? Help a brother out here!
Title: Re: Selling.....maybe?
Post by: oscarvan on May 22, 2011, 03:54:19 AM
Figure out how much the taxman fed/state/local wants out of that profit estimate. Then your self employment tax fed/state/local plus social security medicare/medicaid. If you're then still in the mood, I'd say go for it.
Title: Re: Selling.....maybe?
Post by: weazletoe on May 22, 2011, 04:04:05 AM
Oh yeah, gotta figure that all in, for sure.
Title: Re: Selling.....maybe?
Post by: punatic on May 22, 2011, 04:07:34 AM
Maybe you should join the BA and talk with some pros.  That's what they're there for.
Title: Re: Selling.....maybe?
Post by: ccarlson on May 22, 2011, 04:37:07 AM
A lot of work for not much money, but hey, if you REALLY love brewing (and working your ass off) go for it.
Title: Re: Selling.....maybe?
Post by: euge on May 22, 2011, 05:39:18 AM
It has it's appeal. Weaze Keith would have the answers for you. I want to work less and have no responsibilities or commitments. So my advice would be useless. 8)
Title: Re: Selling.....maybe?
Post by: punatic on May 22, 2011, 06:58:20 AM
Maybe you should join the BA and talk with some pros.  That's what they're there for.

I've been thinking about it as I've been running a batch of Very Old Dark Kilauea Ale and I can't resist...

All three in one:

Maybe you should join the BA and talk with some pros.  Their advice is what they're there for.   ;D
Title: Re: Selling.....maybe?
Post by: Will's Swill on May 22, 2011, 03:03:35 PM
If you take the plunge, I recommend not starting too small, or you'll have to brew around the clock to make ends meet.  I see new breweries open up with 2/3 bbl, or 1 bbl systems, and they just cannot make enough beer to stay in business.  They have to brew so much that it actually becomes work - yuk!
Title: Re: Selling.....maybe?
Post by: tubercle on May 22, 2011, 05:24:32 PM
In business there is the 2 x 1/2 rule.

 Sit down and do a business plan. Figure ALL COGS; fixed and variable over head, ingredients, taxes, license, etc.. Then figure profit to be made, gross and net.

 Then plug in the 2 x 1/2 rule.

 In the real world it will cost twice as much as you figure and you will make only 1/2 the profit calculated.

 This is a starting point.
Title: Re: Selling.....maybe?
Post by: tschmidlin on May 22, 2011, 07:05:20 PM
Is he going to pay for all of the new equipment and kegs you'll need?  Will he be the owner and you an employee?  Where does the money go and who decides?    Can you legally brew commercially in your backyard brewshed or do you need to find a new location?  Do you really want another job and everything that comes with it?
Title: Re: Selling.....maybe?
Post by: denny on May 22, 2011, 07:38:18 PM
Is he going to pay for all of the new equipment and kegs you'll need?  Will he be the owner and you an employee?  Where does the money go and who decides?    Can you legally brew commercially in your backyard brewshed or do you need to find a new location?  Do you really want another job and everything that comes with it?

And do you really want to have to brew when and what the market demands?
Title: Re: Selling.....maybe?
Post by: punatic on May 22, 2011, 08:24:05 PM
When starting a business a lot of people will give you a lot of reasons why it won't work.  When it does work it can be very satisfying.  There's nothing like it.  Just do a lot of research and planning before you decide to commit yourself to the business.  

Two words:  Due diligence.
Title: Re: Selling.....maybe?
Post by: majorvices on May 22, 2011, 11:05:22 PM
Weaze, you probably need at least $40-80 grand to really get off the ground. Have a vision and insist to your investor that you stick to it. Better yet, find a few guys with a little money who share your vision and take of that way. That's what I did. no investors aside from the core four owners.

Once you get started you will realize that 90 grand is really no money at all and that there is tons of bucks out there. In the words of Sly and The Family Stone - "You can make it if you try".
Title: Re: Selling.....maybe?
Post by: weazletoe on May 23, 2011, 12:43:59 AM
  So much to think about, so much research to do. All just a dream right now, but the possibility is there. I was not sure what I would be getting into, that's why I wanted to ask here. The coming weeks, you bet I will be researchuing a ton. I would really love to do tghis at home, if the laws allow. But, time will tell. We all have to have a goal, right? 8)
Title: Re: Selling.....maybe?
Post by: bluesman on May 23, 2011, 12:55:07 AM
Research...research...and more research. Make sure you have all of your ducks lined up before you take the plunge. You have my vote, but make sure you really understand what you're getting yourself into before you do it. I've started researching the business and after reading a couple of books my jaw was on the floor.  ;)

It sure does sound appealing. Be careful.
Title: Re: Selling.....maybe?
Post by: a10t2 on May 23, 2011, 01:15:47 AM
The break-even points will be a little different for everyone, but I was looking at a very small brewery operation and determined that it just can't be profitable. At a bare minimum, you need about a 1-1.5 bbl system just to amortize the capital costs within a few years.
Title: Re: Selling.....maybe?
Post by: dano14041 on May 23, 2011, 01:47:10 AM
Might be an obvious suggestion, but you should also talk with a CPA about helping with a business plan. They might now know the brewing business first had, but they do know business and can help with financial analysis and business plans.

If you don't have one, I would recommend you get references for one of your own and not use the same guy as the guy offering the money. Like most attorneys, CPA will usually offer a half hour consultation free of charge.

Good Luck!
Dano
Title: Re: Selling.....maybe?
Post by: oscarvan on May 23, 2011, 02:28:10 AM
When starting a business a lot of people will give you a lot of reasons why it won't work.

And the overwhelming statistics are there to support that. But, some succeed, and you can't be one of them if you don't try.
Title: Re: Selling.....maybe?
Post by: tonyp on May 23, 2011, 02:56:30 AM
Victorious warriors win first and then go to war, while defeated warriors go to war first and then seek to win. – Sun Tzu

words to live by!
Title: Re: Selling.....maybe?
Post by: Thirsty_Monk on May 23, 2011, 03:36:38 AM
Weaze, you probably need at least $40-80 grand to really get off the ground. Have a vision and insist to your investor that you stick to it. Better yet, find a few guys with a little money who share your vision and take of that way. That's what I did. no investors aside from the core four owners.

Once you get started you will realize that 90 grand is really no money at all and that there is tons of bucks out there. In the words of Sly and The Family Stone - "You can make it if you try".
I would agree that $60 K is bare minimum you need to have.

I also agree when you are done with your business plan financial multiply it by 2 (just get by) to 2.5.

Good luck.
Title: Re: Selling.....maybe?
Post by: punatic on May 23, 2011, 08:14:32 AM
These people make a good,  fairly inexpensive, business plan software program.  You can download it from their website.  It starts with a series of questions.  You can plug in a W.A.G. for the parts you don't know and go back later to put in better information.  Using it helps you to see how different parts of the business affect each other.  They have a lot of example business plans to look at.

I've used it to generate several business plans that I presented to get loans and/or investers.  It makes a very professional presentation when done.

$100 may seem like a lot, but that probably won't get you a hour with a good CPA.

Business Plan Pro (http://www.businessplanpro.com/template_offer/?gclid=COXZu6rO_agCFQtPgwodd36YSg)
Title: Re: Selling.....maybe?
Post by: BrewingRover on May 23, 2011, 11:36:54 AM
Is there really an investor or are you trying to be able to charge for growler fills  ;D

Your public library probably has some good resources for general research. You should also check out SCORE:
http://www.score.org/
Free advice from successful entrepreneurs.

Good luck!
Title: Re: Selling.....maybe?
Post by: Tim McManus on May 23, 2011, 01:18:54 PM
I am in the process of planning a brewery.  Send me a message, and I'll share some of the info with you.

I have an MBA in finance and marketing.  During my MBA program I did all of my projects on breweries, so I have a lot of the nebulous research done.
Title: Re: Selling.....maybe?
Post by: richardt on May 23, 2011, 01:24:55 PM
Weaze,

Everyone's advice here is good--particulary the business planning and due diligence.  It's the roadmap for your dreams.  Without it, it is too easy to get lost.

In your OP it seems that you're entertaining the notion of both production AND distribution of your beer.  In some states it is difficult (or illegal) to do both without having separate corporate entities and different individuals listed as the managing partner.  Certainly worth investigating.

It might be wise to look at production and distribution separately.  Analyze them independently.  Are they both potential money makers?  Or will the losses in one (let's hypothetically say distribution, especially with today's gas prices and insurance) completely wipe out the profits in the other.

Sam C. (in "brewing up a business") mentioned how the profits from the restaurant side were used to offset the losses on the brewery side for quite some time.  It led to him and his best friend/restaurant partner splitting ways.  It is a cautionary tale.
Title: Re: Selling.....maybe?
Post by: ibru on May 23, 2011, 02:44:13 PM
Weaze
I have owned a business for 20+ years. The first few years were tough with long hours and doing most of the work myself. The old 90% of businesses fail in the first year weighed heavy on us (wife and I). There have been times when I wonder just why do I put myself throgh this. But overall, it's been a very good.

I'm going to give you a couple of things to think about. First and perhaps the most important, is your wife behind you in this? Is she going to be OK with you brewing on a Saturday night? Mine has been a very supportive to me. I have times when I'm extremely busy. With some one less than understanding, it would definitely be a problem.

Next, walk into partnerships very cautiously. Talk about who is going to do what. Who is going to get the profits? Are they reinvested in the business? If you are getting backing, draw up a contract that clearly spells out how much they get and when they can expect it.

Good luck!
Title: Re: Selling.....maybe?
Post by: majorvices on May 23, 2011, 02:49:34 PM
Weaze
I have owned a business for 20+ years. The first few years were tough with long hours and doing most of the work myself. The old 90% of businesses fail in the first year weighed heavy on us (wife and I). There have been times when I wonder just why do I put myself throgh this. But overall, it's been a very good.

I'm going to give you a couple of things to think about. First and perhaps the most important, is your wife behind you in this? Is she going to be OK with you brewing on a Saturday night? Mine has been a very supportive to me. I have times when I'm extremely busy. With some one less than understanding, it would definitely be a problem.

Next, walk into partnerships very cautiously. Talk about who is going to do what. Who is going to get the profits? Are they reinvested in the business? If you are getting backing, draw up a contract that clearly spells out how much they get and when they can expect it.

Good luck!

Very sage advice here. My wife has been behind this 100%. Otherwise I could not do this. And definitely choose your partners wisely. i got very lucky on my partnership. But I walked into it a little blind. I now know what to look for in the future.
Title: Re: Selling.....maybe?
Post by: tomsawyer on May 23, 2011, 03:40:59 PM
You might check whether you'd need the equivalent of a commercial kitchen to comply with health laws.

I've discussed the possibility of having a "homebrew night" at a local pub, it'd be easy enough to brew 5-10gal a week.  It wouldn't be for profit so much as developing a beer culture where there is none.  But you have to deal with all the legal mumbo jumbo no matter what your production rate so it is probably best to jump in, in a bigger way.
Title: Re: Selling.....maybe?
Post by: weazletoe on May 24, 2011, 04:04:05 AM
 Good point you bring up Tom. I've thoguht about it too. Just one more thing I need to research. Lots to find out, butthe journy is half the fun, right?
Title: Re: Selling.....maybe?
Post by: phillamb168 on May 24, 2011, 08:18:35 AM
You mention in the first post about doing 5-gal batches and selling those - the problem is, non-sankey systems (read: corny kegs) pretty much don't exist in most pubs/bars, so convincing someone to dedicate time, tap space and equipment costs to not only a brewer just getting off the ground but also to a different tapping system from what they have already, will be difficult.
The other thing about 5-gal vs Sankey is workload - if your beer is really popular, they're going to have to have someone going down to the cold storage and swapping kegs out more often.
If you're going to do sankey kegs, you're going to have to brew basically three times the same batch for one keg, which is three times the work you want to be doing.
My suggestion, if you wanna be serious about this, is to first get your brewhouse up to handling 15.5 gallon batches. Shouldn't cost you too much, and from what I've seen filling sankeys without all that filling machinery isn't terribly difficult.

My $0,02 anyway.
Title: Re: Selling.....maybe?
Post by: ccarlson on May 24, 2011, 11:02:19 AM
You mention in the first post about doing 5-gal batches and selling those - the problem is, non-sankey systems (read: corny kegs) pretty much don't exist in most pubs/bars, so convincing someone to dedicate time, tap space and equipment costs to not only a brewer just getting off the ground but also to a different tapping system from what they have already, will be difficult.
The other thing about 5-gal vs Sankey is workload - if your beer is really popular, they're going to have to have someone going down to the cold storage and swapping kegs out more often.
If you're going to do sankey kegs, you're going to have to brew basically three times the same batch for one keg, which is three times the work you want to be doing.
My suggestion, if you wanna be serious about this, is to first get your brewhouse up to handling 15.5 gallon batches. Shouldn't cost you too much, and from what I've seen filling sankeys without all that filling machinery isn't terribly difficult.

My $0,02 anyway.

They make 5 gallon "corny style" kegs with Sanke valves.
Title: Re: Selling.....maybe?
Post by: phillamb168 on May 24, 2011, 11:04:25 AM
You mention in the first post about doing 5-gal batches and selling those - the problem is, non-sankey systems (read: corny kegs) pretty much don't exist in most pubs/bars, so convincing someone to dedicate time, tap space and equipment costs to not only a brewer just getting off the ground but also to a different tapping system from what they have already, will be difficult.
The other thing about 5-gal vs Sankey is workload - if your beer is really popular, they're going to have to have someone going down to the cold storage and swapping kegs out more often.
If you're going to do sankey kegs, you're going to have to brew basically three times the same batch for one keg, which is three times the work you want to be doing.
My suggestion, if you wanna be serious about this, is to first get your brewhouse up to handling 15.5 gallon batches. Shouldn't cost you too much, and from what I've seen filling sankeys without all that filling machinery isn't terribly difficult.

My $0,02 anyway.

They make 5 gallon "corny style" kegs with Sanke valves.

No s***? Are they as easy to open/fill as cornys? Man, I'd LOVE that - what are they called?
Title: Re: Selling.....maybe?
Post by: ccarlson on May 24, 2011, 11:26:22 AM
I know that New Belgium offers them, because I was given one years ago. I have never used it, but I would think you'd fill through a Sanke connector or the spear could be removed. In fact, the spear would probably have to removed unless you were to get the proper equipment to clean it. I'm guessing high pressure steam. Here are a couple of them next to some regular Sankes. Sorry, I can't offer more info about them.


(http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3375/3606796452_a63f7e5a23.jpg)
Title: Re: Selling.....maybe?
Post by: majorvices on May 24, 2011, 11:36:04 AM
FWIW the majority of my beer is sold in 1/6 bbl (5.25 gallons) sanke kegs. We also sell in half bbl kegs to those locations that demand it. A lot of the bar tenders now prefer the smaller kegs because, while they do have to swap them out more often, they are much, much easier to move.

Also, you would want to pick up a keg filler. Removing the spear every time would be a PITA. That said, I do know some breweries who do that. Nucking Futs I say! ;)
Title: Re: Selling.....maybe?
Post by: ccarlson on May 24, 2011, 12:04:13 PM
FWIW the majority of my beer is sold in 1/6 bbl (5.25 gallons) sanke kegs. We also sell in half bbl kegs to those locations that demand it. A lot of the bar tenders now prefer the smaller kegs because, while they do have to swap them out more often, they are much, much easier to move.

Also, you would want to pick up a keg filler. Removing the spear every time would be a PITA. That said, I do know some breweries who do that. Nucking Futs I say! ;)

So, how do you clean them? If I did it without removing the spear, I'd probably just pump a hot cleaning solution through them for a few minutes, followed by a good rinse and a little sanitizer..
Title: Re: Selling.....maybe?
Post by: majorvices on May 24, 2011, 01:34:36 PM
Cleaning is a bit tricky if you don't own an actual keg cleaner (which I plan on purchasing eventually, but they costs about $15,000 for the one I want). We built a keg cleaning station that works well though is labor intensive. First we purge with 140 degree rinse water. Then recirc 140-160 degree cleanser through each keg for about 2 minutes (longer for 1/2 bbl kegs) followed by another rinse and then recirc sanitizer and purge with Co2. During the cleanse cycle you apply compressed air to up water pressure and to insure total evacuation of water/cleanser. In our case we run the cleansing routine first on all kegs. Disassemble cleansing parts and reassemble to sanitize. Takes about 4-5 hours to clean/sanitize about 60 kegs.
Title: Re: Selling.....maybe?
Post by: oscarvan on May 24, 2011, 01:51:21 PM
Takes about 4-5 hours to clean/sanitize about 60 kegs.

Sounds like work.......
Title: Re: Selling.....maybe?
Post by: johnf on May 24, 2011, 02:00:06 PM
I know that New Belgium offers them, because I was given one years ago. I have never used it, but I would think you'd fill through a Sanke connector or the spear could be removed. In fact, the spear would probably have to removed unless you were to get the proper equipment to clean it. I'm guessing high pressure steam. Here are a couple of them next to some regular Sankes. Sorry, I can't offer more info about them.


(http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3375/3606796452_a63f7e5a23.jpg)
Those are normal 1/6 barrel sankey kegs. A ton of craft is sold in them. There are some soda kegs that have been converted to sankey. Sabco sells them as "pub kegs". I believe the draw is that they are cheaper than buying new sankey and used sankey basically doesn't exist. Could be wrong on that.
Title: Re: Selling.....maybe?
Post by: a10t2 on May 24, 2011, 02:26:05 PM
Cleaning is a bit tricky if you don't own an actual keg cleaner (which I plan on purchasing eventually, but they costs about $15,000 for the one I want). ... Takes about 4-5 hours to clean/sanitize about 60 kegs.

:o It's all about perspective. I can clean maybe 5-6 kegs/hour since we have to pull the stems (in the sixtels, for half-barrels we just debung them).
Title: Re: Selling.....maybe?
Post by: bluesman on May 24, 2011, 02:30:42 PM
Cleaning is a bit tricky if you don't own an actual keg cleaner (which I plan on purchasing eventually, but they costs about $15,000 for the one I want). ... Takes about 4-5 hours to clean/sanitize about 60 kegs.

:o It's all about perspective. I can clean maybe 5-6 kegs/hour since we have to pull the stems (in the sixtels, for half-barrels we just debung them).

It's the details like this that one doesn't necessarily think too much about, until you actually dive into it. 4-6hrs in keg cleaning is a significant amount of time and effort.
Title: Re: Selling.....maybe?
Post by: Tim McManus on May 24, 2011, 02:34:50 PM
The conry conversion happened a few years ago and it's why the price of cornies has gone up, less supply.

To convert the corny they remove the posts and weld them shut.  The lid is converted with a sanke attachment and tube and is also welded shut.  It's kind of freakish-looking the first time you see it, but it is a much more cost effective solution for commercial brewers.
Title: Re: Selling.....maybe?
Post by: ccarlson on May 24, 2011, 02:46:37 PM
I've thought about trying to make a keg cleaner that would recirculate cleaning and rinsing solutions without having to open the keg, but I just never got around to it. I'm not sure it's really worth the effort or expense.
Title: Re: Selling.....maybe?
Post by: tschmidlin on May 24, 2011, 03:49:30 PM
The local bottle shop has about 15 beers on tap, and one on cask.  There wouldn't be room for all of those kegs if they were bigger than sixtels, plus they would be stuck with a huge amount of one beer to sell.  That's not really what they're going for, high rotation keeps people coming back again and again.  Yet anther reason the smaller kegs may be preferred.
Title: Re: Selling.....maybe?
Post by: punatic on May 24, 2011, 04:39:08 PM
You mention in the first post about doing 5-gal batches and selling those - the problem is, non-sankey systems (read: corny kegs) pretty much don't exist in most pubs/bars, so convincing someone to dedicate time, tap space and equipment costs to not only a brewer just getting off the ground but also to a different tapping system from what they have already, will be difficult.
The other thing about 5-gal vs Sankey is workload - if your beer is really popular, they're going to have to have someone going down to the cold storage and swapping kegs out more often.
If you're going to do sankey kegs, you're going to have to brew basically three times the same batch for one keg, which is three times the work you want to be doing.
My suggestion, if you wanna be serious about this, is to first get your brewhouse up to handling 15.5 gallon batches. Shouldn't cost you too much, and from what I've seen filling sankeys without all that filling machinery isn't terribly difficult.

My $0,02 anyway.

They make 5 gallon "corny style" kegs with Sanke valves.

Party pooper...   ;D
Title: Re: Selling.....maybe?
Post by: ccarlson on May 24, 2011, 04:45:02 PM
You mention in the first post about doing 5-gal batches and selling those - the problem is, non-sankey systems (read: corny kegs) pretty much don't exist in most pubs/bars, so convincing someone to dedicate time, tap space and equipment costs to not only a brewer just getting off the ground but also to a different tapping system from what they have already, will be difficult.
The other thing about 5-gal vs Sankey is workload - if your beer is really popular, they're going to have to have someone going down to the cold storage and swapping kegs out more often.
If you're going to do sankey kegs, you're going to have to brew basically three times the same batch for one keg, which is three times the work you want to be doing.
My suggestion, if you wanna be serious about this, is to first get your brewhouse up to handling 15.5 gallon batches. Shouldn't cost you too much, and from what I've seen filling sankeys without all that filling machinery isn't terribly difficult.

My $0,02 anyway.

They make 5 gallon "corny style" kegs with Sanke valves.

Party pooper...   ;D

;D
And you'd think since I own one I'd know more about them.
Title: Re: Selling.....maybe?
Post by: brewmichigan on May 24, 2011, 05:37:14 PM
Weaz, I would think for this venture to even be worth your time you would need to step up production to 3 bbls or more. Unless you are selling everything at your bar or tasting booth, you're not going to make very much selling 5 gallon batches to this guy at 40 bucks a pop. Wouldn't even cover your time.
Title: Re: Selling.....maybe?
Post by: bluesman on May 24, 2011, 06:34:30 PM
ROT...7bbl is break even and 15bbl is safely profitable if you are efficient and have a good business plan. Sales are required.  :)
Title: Re: Selling.....maybe?
Post by: punatic on May 24, 2011, 06:51:08 PM
Not meaning to pick nits:

1 beer barrel = 31 gallons
31 gallons x 1/6 = 5.17 gallons

I guess the extra 0.08 gallon is lagniappe.

The "1/6 bbl" sankeys I've used are not converted cornelius kegs.  They are fabricated as sankeys - no removable lid.

[edit] Cat paws walked on the keyboard and added .25- to my post, above,  while I was distracted.  I noticed the typo in ccarlson's response below.  My cat Andy is not so good with volumes and math. [/edit]
Title: Re: Selling.....maybe?
Post by: majorvices on May 24, 2011, 06:55:25 PM
Cleaning is a bit tricky if you don't own an actual keg cleaner (which I plan on purchasing eventually, but they costs about $15,000 for the one I want). ... Takes about 4-5 hours to clean/sanitize about 60 kegs.

:o It's all about perspective. I can clean maybe 5-6 kegs/hour since we have to pull the stems (in the sixtels, for half-barrels we just debung them).

Nucking Futz, I say.  ;) Why don't you just build a keg cleaner? PM me if you wanna see pics of mine.
Title: Re: Selling.....maybe?
Post by: ccarlson on May 24, 2011, 06:59:37 PM
Not meaning to pick nits:

1 .25-beer barrel = 31 gallons
31 gallons x 1/6 = 5.17 gallons

I guess the extra 0.08 gallon is lagniappe.

The "1/6 bbl" sankeys I've used are not converted cornelius kegs.  They are fabricated as sankeys - no removable lid.

.08 gallons may be lagniappe, but if you're picking nits, .17 gallon is worth getting excited about. That's almost 22 ounces or a very nice glass of beer. ;)

What I have is definitely not a converted Corny. To be honest, I have a hard time believing that buying/converting a corny is much cheaper than buying a new one, when you buy in bulk.
Title: Re: Selling.....maybe?
Post by: morticaixavier on May 24, 2011, 08:03:04 PM
Not strickly beer business related but the basic structure I have always used when deciding not to go in to business for myself again is that whatever product you are selling you have to be able to sell it at a price that covers all costs related to production + whatever hourly rate you wish to bring home. And if self employed remember this includes close to 50% for taxes and another chunk if you want health insurance.

so if it costs you 15 bucks to make 5 gallons of beer and it takes 6 hours to make it (Including clean up and everything) plus buying the kegs (Which should be prorated over several uses say 2 bucks a use figureing on 25 uses or so) and you want to actually bring home 10 bucks an hour (So you have to earn more like 20 or 25) you end up with a per keg price to the consumer of

 $15 = ingredients
   $2 = wear and tear on kegs
   $2 = wear and tear on other equipment
$150 = your labor over 6 hours

you would have to charge the buyer $169.00 for that keg of beer. kind of steep. If you can make 10 or 20 gallons in the same 6 hours and get your ingredient costs down by a significant factor perhaps you could get to this for 20 gallons

 $30 = ingredients (this represents a 50% reduction in ingredient cost)
  $8 = wear and tear on kegs
  $2 = wear and tear on equipment (assuming it's not any harder on the equipment to do 20 gallons than it is on 5)
$150 = your labor (still only 6 hours, this might be optimistic)

so they you are talking $190.00 for 4 kegs which is maybe more doable for the market. call it 50 bucks a keg. that means the bar owner can make a gross sales of about $800.00 on the 4 kegs at 5 bucks a pint. I don't know the industry so I don't know what labor/equipment costs etc look like for a bar owner but 400% markup is not unreasonable.

so at a 20 gallon batch level you might (big maybe there) make a living if you can do that 4 or 5 times a week and nothing bad happens.
Title: Re: Selling.....maybe?
Post by: majorvices on May 24, 2011, 08:28:46 PM

so at a 20 gallon batch level you might (big maybe there) make a living if you can do that 4 or 5 times a week and nothing bad happens.

I guess that is assuming you are brewing out of your house with no overhead. Not a lot of places will let you do this. You usually need a locally zoned and approved facility.
Title: Re: Selling.....maybe?
Post by: punatic on May 24, 2011, 08:42:33 PM
Just a thought:
If you sell through the 3-tier system you realize only a fraction of the price the consumer pays to drink your beer.
If you sell through your own brewpub you realize all of the price the consumer pays to drink your beer.

3 tier:
Brewer → wholesaler (markup) → retailer (markup) → consumer

Brewpub:
Brewer → consumer
Title: Re: Selling.....maybe?
Post by: majorvices on May 24, 2011, 08:46:31 PM
OTOH Brewpub has way more overhead than distributing brewery. And you have to have very good food to be a successs, which means wait staff, kitchen help to be paid, including massive overhead cost of kitchen and dining room. The nice thing about having a distributor is they do a lot of the work for you. Granted, they get a portion of your profits.
Title: Re: Selling.....maybe?
Post by: punatic on May 24, 2011, 09:07:42 PM
OTOH Brewpub has way more overhead than distributing brewery. And you have to have very good food to be a successs, which means wait staff, kitchen help to be paid, including massive overhead cost of kitchen and dining room. The nice thing about having a distributor is they do a lot of the work for you. Granted, they get a portion of your profits.

You need a distributor that will be willing to work to promote your product.  One of the main complaints I hear from small brewers is their distributors do little to promote their beer.  Often distributors focus their promotion efforts on their high volume - more popular beers.

It's great when you get a wholesale house to carry your product, but it sucks when they don't do much to get you placements - and they're the only one who carries your beer.  In that case be prepared to spend a lot of time promoting your beer and servicing accounts that carry it.
Title: Re: Selling.....maybe?
Post by: majorvices on May 24, 2011, 09:13:32 PM
Yeah, well - it depends on the distributor. It's not really our distributor's job to promote our beer, but they do it anyway. They compete against other distributors for tap space so they will push your beer, especially when you have a quality product.

The other things you may not understand is that the distributor buys our beer from us directly. So when he has it in his ware house it behooves him to move it onto a tap somewhere.

Reagrdlesss, I looked into starting a brewpub but the operating costs where was more than I could ever afford, lert alone the stupid local laws I'd have had to deal with. A distributing brewery is way more affordable and much easier to get off the ground if your starting capital is less than a million bucks or so.  ;)
Title: Re: Selling.....maybe?
Post by: Will's Swill on May 24, 2011, 11:14:23 PM
OTOH Brewpub has way more overhead than distributing brewery. And you have to have very good food to be a successs, which means wait staff, kitchen help to be paid, including massive overhead cost of kitchen and dining room. The nice thing about having a distributor is they do a lot of the work for you. Granted, they get a portion of your profits.

On the gripping hand, the latest "brewpubs" around here generate most of their profit from the tasting room, at least at first, with no food at all.  For a small start up, this seems like a reasonable approach without the low margins of distribution.
Title: Re: Selling.....maybe?
Post by: tschmidlin on May 24, 2011, 11:17:43 PM
OTOH Brewpub has way more overhead than distributing brewery. And you have to have very good food to be a successs, which means wait staff, kitchen help to be paid, including massive overhead cost of kitchen and dining room. The nice thing about having a distributor is they do a lot of the work for you. Granted, they get a portion of your profits.

On the gripping hand, the latest "brewpubs" around here generate most of their profit from the tasting room, at least at first, with no food at all.  For a small start up, this seems like a reasonable approach without the low margins of distribution.
Yes - provided a tasting room is legal in your locale.  You've got to do the research and find your own path based on your circumstances.
Title: Re: Selling.....maybe?
Post by: majorvices on May 24, 2011, 11:23:03 PM
Exactly. If a tasting room (or better yet, "to-go" growler fills) are legal in your area then that is a better approach. We are working hard to try and get the tap room concept legalized here in my state. But so far, no luck.

As far as brewpubs go, the real lure to a brew pub is usually the food. Of course the beer geeks will seek it out for the beer but in a lot of instances the beer is just a novelty. If you don't have good food you won't stay in business no matter how great the beer is. It is challenging enough to run a brewery - you really need a good partner to run the restaurant side.
Title: Re: Selling.....maybe?
Post by: bluesman on May 25, 2011, 01:44:47 AM
Exactly. If a tasting room (or better yet, "to-go" growler fills) are legal in your area then that is a better approach. We are working hard to try and get the tap room concept legalized here in my state. But so far, no luck.

As far as brewpubs go, the real lure to a brew pub is usually the food. Of course the beer geeks will seek it out for the beer but in a lot of instances the beer is just a novelty. If you don't have good food you won't stay in business no matter how great the beer is. It is challenging enough to run a brewery - you really need a good partner to run the restaurant side.

Wood oven pizza, a really good burger, some specialty sandiches and damn good creative appetizers is a winning combination of pub fare. I'm sure you could find someone talented enough to work with you Keith.  :-\
Title: Re: Selling.....maybe?
Post by: punatic on May 25, 2011, 01:56:05 AM
My point exactly;  Brewer → consumer is the best option by far.  

True, some distributors are better than others, but if distributors aren't there to promote your product, what service do they provide to desevre such a large piece of the pie?  Storage and transportation?  There are less expensive ways to do that.  It is a government mandated skimming operation (in addition to the government's own skimming via alcohol taxes).

Having worked on all three tiers of the 3-tier system, I can tell you it sucks for the producer and the consumer.  Producers make less for their efforts. Consumers spend more for their product.  What value is added between the two?

Wholesalers have a powerful lobby to protect their position.  Witness their heavy resistance to direct shipping.

Anchor distills a very nice rye whisky.  I heard Fritz Maytag speak about his whisky and the 3-tier system at a craft distillers conference.  He made some excellent points on the matter.  I got the impression he is not a big fan of it.  The American Distilling Institute had a video of Fritz's talk up on their website.  If I can find it I'll post a link.
Title: Re: Selling.....maybe?
Post by: ccarlson on May 25, 2011, 02:12:12 AM
The best solution, if you you have the available space, is to have a small bar within the brewery and sell some good bar food to go with it. Only open at night, so it doesn't interfere with brewing, which is done during the day.
Title: Re: Selling.....maybe?
Post by: oscarvan on May 25, 2011, 02:27:45 AM
The best solution, if you you have the available space, is to have a small bar within the brewery and sell some good bar food to go with it. Only open at night, so it doesn't interfere with brewing, which is done during the day.

Lets see.... get up at 5 to start brewing.....mashed in by 6, boiling by 7.30..... chilling by 9. 10 the meat and produce folks show up. By 11 you have it all unpacked and in the fridge. QUICK back to the wort, in the fermenter, pitch, by 12.30 you're done. Clean 20 or so kegs, rack a few things, next thing you know it's 3.30. Start prepping the food, get the ovens going.....5pm doors open. Feed and beer the people.....kick the last drunk out by 9.30. Clean.....

Somewhere in there is book keeping, ordering supplies, maintenance, research... (remember, brewing new recipes for fun) and a myriad of other activities. But, it will be 4.30 am before you know it.....

Sooo..... that's 10 gallons of crap in a 5 gallon fermenter.... You need HELP. An employee or three.... a gofer in the brewery, a wait person, a bookkeeper, a cook, a cleanup person......

You need to brew a LOT of beer.

Not saying you can't do it. Just saying that whenever I think about it I get really scared. I have worked in the F&B business... it is BRUTAL.
Title: Re: Selling.....maybe?
Post by: ccarlson on May 25, 2011, 02:32:48 AM
The best solution, if you you have the available space, is to have a small bar within the brewery and sell some good bar food to go with it. Only open at night, so it doesn't interfere with brewing, which is done during the day.

Lets see.... get up at 5 to start brewing.....mashed in by 6, boiling by 7.30..... chilling by 9. 10 the meat and produce folks show up. By 11 you have it all unpacked and in the fridge. QUICK back to the wort, in the fermenter, pitch, by 12.30 you're done. Clean 20 or so kegs, rack a few things, next thing you know it's 3.30. Start prepping the food, get the ovens going.....5pm doors open. Feed and beer the people.....kick the last drunk out by 9.30. Clean.....

Somewhere in there is book keeping, ordering supplies, maintenance, research... (remember, brewing new recipes for fun) and a myriad of other activities. But, it will be 4.30 am before you know it.....

Sooo..... that's 10 gallons of crap in a 5 gallon fermenter.... You need HELP. An employee or three.... a gofer in the brewery, a wait person, a bookkeeper, a cook, a cleanup person......

You need to brew a LOT of beer.

Not saying you can't do it. Just saying that whenever I think about it I get really scared. I have worked in the F&B business... it is BRUTAL.

First off, I've already said I have no interest in commercial brewing and my comment is for someone that is really interested in doing it. Secondly, there are few businesses that can be operated by a single person. You can get by on your own, but to really make some money, you need hourly help. Been there, done that.
Title: Re: Selling.....maybe?
Post by: oscarvan on May 25, 2011, 02:34:46 AM
The best solution, if you you have the available space, is to have a small bar within the brewery and sell some good bar food to go with it. Only open at night, so it doesn't interfere with brewing, which is done during the day.

Lets see.... get up at 5 to start brewing.....mashed in by 6, boiling by 7.30..... chilling by 9. 10 the meat and produce folks show up. By 11 you have it all unpacked and in the fridge. QUICK back to the wort, in the fermenter, pitch, by 12.30 you're done. Clean 20 or so kegs, rack a few things, next thing you know it's 3.30. Start prepping the food, get the ovens going.....5pm doors open. Feed and beer the people.....kick the last drunk out by 9.30. Clean.....

Somewhere in there is book keeping, ordering supplies, maintenance, research... (remember, brewing new recipes for fun) and a myriad of other activities. But, it will be 4.30 am before you know it.....

Sooo..... that's 10 gallons of crap in a 5 gallon fermenter.... You need HELP. An employee or three.... a gofer in the brewery, a wait person, a bookkeeper, a cook, a cleanup person......

You need to brew a LOT of beer.

Not saying you can't do it. Just saying that whenever I think about it I get really scared. I have worked in the F&B business... it is BRUTAL.

First off, I've already said I have no interest in commercial brewing and my comment is for someone that is really interested in doing it. Secondly, there are few businesses that can be operated by a single person. You can get by on your own, but to really make some money, you need hourly help. Been there, done that.

OK, so now you're looking at a business plan and a number of barrels that are needed to make it work, at a MINIMUM. What that number is, I don't know. 10? 20 a day?
Title: Re: Selling.....maybe?
Post by: ccarlson on May 25, 2011, 02:38:05 AM
Absolutely, a business plan is a must, but that's already been discussed.
Title: Re: Selling.....maybe?
Post by: a10t2 on May 25, 2011, 02:48:55 AM
It is a government mandated skimming operation (in addition to the government's own skimming via alcohol taxes).

To keep statements like that in context, it's important to remember that 33 states (last I checked) allow self-distribution.

OK, so now you're looking at a business plan and a number of barrels that are needed to make it work, at a MINIMUM. What that number is, I don't know. 10? 20 a day?

For a brewpub it's much less than that. Half a barrel a day will keep the doors open no problem.
Title: Re: Selling.....maybe?
Post by: morticaixavier on May 25, 2011, 02:52:19 AM

so at a 20 gallon batch level you might (big maybe there) make a living if you can do that 4 or 5 times a week and nothing bad happens.

I guess that is assuming you are brewing out of your house with no overhead. Not a lot of places will let you do this. You usually need a locally zoned and approved facility.

granted, it is a massively over simplified example. and yoy could probably expect to pay nearly twice as much as I indicated with other overhead. Even at home there is propane, electricity etc.

all that being said, go for it Weaze.
Title: Re: Selling.....maybe?
Post by: majorvices on May 25, 2011, 03:05:07 AM
My point exactly;  Brewer → consumer is the best option by far.  

True, some distributors are better than others, but if distributors aren't there to promote your product, what service do they provide to desevre such a large piece of the pie?  Storage and transportation?  There are less expensive ways to do that.  It is a government mandated skimming operation (in addition to the government's own skimming via alcohol taxes).

Having worked on all three tiers of the 3-tier system, I can tell you it sucks for the producer and the consumer.  Producers make less for their efforts. Consumers spend more for their product.  What value is added between the two?

Wholesalers have a powerful lobby to protect their position.  Witness their heavy resistance to direct shipping.

Anchor distills a very nice rye whisky.  I heard Fritz Maytag speak about his whisky and the 3-tier system at a craft distillers conference.  He made some excellent points on the matter.  I got the impression he is not a big fan of it.  The American Distilling Institute had a video of Fritz's talk up on their website.  If I can find it I'll post a link.

You get absolutely no argument from me that wholesaling to the public would make us more money. But just how many people would I be able to get to come to my little brewery to buy growlers and or pints? And what about the fact that this doesn't fit into our business plan? (Because it doesn't, long story). And what about the point that we are not able to sell directly to the public due to legality? And what about the point that some of our beer is distributed 4+ hours away from our location? Who exactly is going to deliver that beer? Me?? When would I have the time to do that? Who would I have to hire to pull pints on Friday and Saturday night at my tasting room? Am I supposed to be brewer and bar tender?

Absolutely self distribution and/or a tasting room would be great for us. Man, we could make more money if we didn't have to sell every drop to the distributor. But, in reality, we would have a distributor even if this was a possibility. Because none of us have time to transport kegs of beer to bars. And I couldn't afford a refrigerated truck.

Yeah, I know the 3 tier system is a racket. But, on the flip side, its a racket that works on some level. Certainly not all levels.
Title: Re: Selling.....maybe?
Post by: punatic on May 25, 2011, 03:10:03 AM
This is the link to Fritz Maytag's presentation, well worth a look - on many beverage topics:

http://www.distilling.com/video.html  (http://www.distilling.com/video.html)

scroll down it is the last video on the page

It is a Quicktime video
Title: Re: Selling.....maybe?
Post by: weazletoe on May 25, 2011, 03:22:46 AM
Starting to think I'm going to be bending sheet metal for quite some years to come.  :(
Title: Re: Selling.....maybe?
Post by: punatic on May 25, 2011, 03:23:07 AM

You get absolutely no argument from me that wholesaling to the public would make us more money. But just how many people would I be able to get to come to my little brewery to buy growlers and or pints? And what about the fact that this doesn't fit into our business plan? (Because it doesn't, long story). And what about the point that we are not able to sell directly to the public due to legality? And what about the point that some of our beer is distributed 4+ hours away from our location? Who exactly is going to deliver that beer? Me?? When would I have the time to do that? Who would I have to hire to pull pints on Friday and Saturday night at my tasting room? Am I supposed to be brewer and bar tender?

Absolutely self distribution and/or a tasting room would be great for us. Man, we could make more money if we didn't have to sell every drop to the distributor. But, in reality, we would have a distributor even if this was a possibility. Because none of us have time to transport kegs of beer to bars. And I couldn't afford a refrigerated truck.

Yeah, I know the 3 tier system is a racket. But, on the flip side, its a racket that works on some level. Certainly not all levels.

Excellent points - sure doesn't sound like much fun - perhaps you should consider becoming a wholesaler instead...   ;)

Title: Re: Selling.....maybe?
Post by: punatic on May 25, 2011, 03:25:45 AM
Starting to think I'm going to be bending sheet metal for quite some years to come.  :(

When starting a business a lot of people will give you a lot of reasons why it won't work...
Title: Re: Selling.....maybe?
Post by: weazletoe on May 25, 2011, 03:33:51 AM
Just seems like there has to be a way to start small, and grow from there. I'm not finished yet.
Title: Re: Selling.....maybe?
Post by: tschmidlin on May 25, 2011, 03:46:10 AM
You can totally do it weaze, just go into it with your eyes open.  Learn everything you can and you'll figure out the path.  Get the biggest system you can afford, sell as much out the door as you can, skip the pub, and choose your location based on cost with room to grow.  With a population of ~50k nothing can be very far from anything else, right? ;)
Title: Re: Selling.....maybe?
Post by: nateo on May 25, 2011, 04:12:13 AM
When starting a business a lot of people will give you a lot of reasons why it won't work.  When it does work it can be very satisfying.  There's nothing like it.  Just do a lot of research and planning before you decide to commit yourself to the business.  

Two words:  Due diligence.

This is great advice. There are a million reasons not to start your own business, and you should really be aware of those reasons.

My mom's "retirement" plan was to buy a campground. Pretty much all of her friends told her she was crazy to sell her house, move to another state, and own a business. It's been a lot of work for her, but in a little over two years she's making about 10x as much money each year as she did at her last job. It took her about 5 years to find one that grossed enough and was cheap enough for her to afford, and in those 5 years she did a lot of research.

Another thing to think of is alternative revenue streams. I know a guy who wanted to start a coffee shop. He found an investor to help with the down payment, and they bought an old warehouse for about $1m. They gutted it and turned it into 5 different retail storefronts, and artist studios. His coffee shop is one of those retail stores, and they rent the rest of the building. Even at half capacity, the renters more than pay the mortgage. At full capacity they make a lot more than the coffee shop ever could.

If you need to lease/buy a brewery, why not buy a big building and earn some rent, if you can get the capital together for the down-payment?
Title: Re: Selling.....maybe?
Post by: bluesman on May 25, 2011, 12:54:21 PM
I think the key to success is learning from others mistakes. More importantly, not making the same mistakes.

Visit as many nano and micro breweries as you can. Read books from the likes of Ray Daniels, Sam Calagione and others. There are pro brewer forums to join. Research, research and more research as well as developing a sound business plan. The closer you can get to having a solid vision, the better prepared you'll be.

I can tell you one thing...it's will be difficult getting started but can potentially be rewarding if you have a sound business plan and you are willing to work hard and put in some long hours.
Title: Re: Selling.....maybe?
Post by: majorvices on May 25, 2011, 01:00:28 PM
Heck yeah - it's a blast and well worth all the hard work. Think about it like this, you have a mch bigger budget to buy new gadgets and ingredients. And you have a good reason to be searching the Internet for beer stuff all the time! Right now I am trying to acquire used Chardonnay barrels to age some batches of saisom in. Really, lots of fun and worth all the hard work and money.
Title: Re: Selling.....maybe?
Post by: bluesman on May 25, 2011, 01:05:12 PM
...and you can learn from Keith who'll be three steps ahead of you.  :)
Title: Re: Selling.....maybe?
Post by: oscarvan on May 25, 2011, 01:06:04 PM
If you need to lease/buy a brewery, why not buy a big building and earn some rent, if you can get the capital together for the down-payment?

Indeed, if you can have someone else pay the rent, that would make a huge difference. Now you have to do your Commercial Real Estate Investment due diligence.

There is a reason many people will tell you why it can't be done. MOST businesses fail in the first 1-3 years. Under-capitalization being the main culprit. Some succeed, but they studied hard, worked even harder and had a little bit of luck.

If I were to pursue this, I would get my ass working at a small brewery for a few years to see it from the inside.
Title: Re: Selling.....maybe?
Post by: morticaixavier on May 25, 2011, 02:50:55 PM
Just looked back at your OP Weaze, and it looks like maybe you have one big advantage here which is that you have a business minded person who is encouraging you and it sounds like wants to be involved on that side of things. If he's got the money to bankroll you on this, and it isn't OLD money, one would assume he knows what he is doing. I might also suggest a book called 'Beer School' by Steve Hindy. It's about the Brooklyn Brewery and their experience as a start up brewery. Good read with a lot of info in this direction.

I was recently listening to NPR and they were talking about the importance of failure. Basically failure is good becuase it means you are trying things and there is rarely any success without trying things, thus rarely any success without failure. If someone else is making the financial risks all you have to lose is your time. Which is, needless to say, valuable but at least won't land you in the poor house (but just might land you in the pour house, pardon the pun)

Also, a lesson from Beer School, make sure you have a good contract with your money guy.
Title: Re: Selling.....maybe?
Post by: denny on May 25, 2011, 03:33:14 PM
The best solution, if you you have the available space, is to have a small bar within the brewery and sell some good bar food to go with it. Only open at night, so it doesn't interfere with brewing, which is done during the day.

The successful breweries around (Ninkasi, for instance) brew at any time of day, not just during the day.
Title: Re: Selling.....maybe?
Post by: ccarlson on May 25, 2011, 05:04:26 PM
The best solution, if you you have the available space, is to have a small bar within the brewery and sell some good bar food to go with it. Only open at night, so it doesn't interfere with brewing, which is done during the day.

The successful breweries around (Ninkasi, for instance) brew at any time of day, not just during the day.

Do they have a bar, within the brewery, that's open at night?
Title: Re: Selling.....maybe?
Post by: a10t2 on May 25, 2011, 05:14:51 PM
The successful breweries around (Ninkasi, for instance) brew at any time of day, not just during the day.

While that's certainly true of many production facilities, you definitely don't *have* to brew two or three shifts to turn a profit.
Title: Re: Selling.....maybe?
Post by: denny on May 25, 2011, 05:17:43 PM
Do they have a bar, within the brewery, that's open at night?

They have a tasting room open during the day.  No actual "bar".
Title: Re: Selling.....maybe?
Post by: ccarlson on May 25, 2011, 05:41:02 PM
My point was that if space is limited, you make the most of what you have. You could even brew in the middle of the night, but you wouldn't want your bar customers getting in your way.

Actually the place I saw had the bar separated by the fermenters, so brewing could have gone on while the bar was open. It was a very efficient way to utilize the space they had.   They offered bar food, but you went to a window into the kitchen and placed your order and picked it up yourself, where you also paid for it, separate from the bar tab. It's a great idea.
Title: Re: Selling.....maybe?
Post by: a10t2 on May 25, 2011, 06:02:27 PM
I think the best business model for a (very) small brewpub I've personally seen is Colorado Boy (http://www.coloradoboy.com/) in Ridgway. They have one type of food (pizza now, used to be sandwiches) and run the entire bar with one bartender and one cook. When they were doing sandwiches, the bartender made them up before the bar opened, and they only had one employee in the building at a time.

The owner, Tom, has also put together a DVD on how to open a brewery on the cheap (this is something like his fourth or fifth). It's a good resource and well worth the money for anyone thinking about it.
Title: Re: Selling.....maybe?
Post by: ccarlson on May 25, 2011, 06:25:40 PM
I think the best business model for a (very) small brewpub I've personally seen is Colorado Boy (http://www.coloradoboy.com/) in Ridgway. They have one type of food (pizza now, used to be sandwiches) and run the entire bar with one bartender and one cook. When they were doing sandwiches, the bartender made them up before the bar opened, and they only had one employee in the building at a time.

The owner, Tom, has also put together a DVD on how to open a brewery on the cheap (this is something like his fourth or fifth). It's a good resource and well worth the money for anyone thinking about it.

Here's a direct to the DVD. $20 from someone who's actually done it for a while could be money well spent.
http://www.beerbooks.com/cgi/ps4.cgi?ACTION=enter&thispage=2126&ORDER_ID=!ORDERID!   (http://www.beerbooks.com/cgi/ps4.cgi?ACTION=enter&thispage=2126&ORDER_ID=!ORDERID!)
Title: Re: Selling.....maybe?
Post by: punatic on May 25, 2011, 06:29:25 PM
I think the best business model for a (very) small brewpub I've personally seen is Colorado Boy (http://www.coloradoboy.com/) in Ridgway. They have one type of food (pizza now, used to be sandwiches) and run the entire bar with one bartender and one cook. When they were doing sandwiches, the bartender made them up before the bar opened, and they only had one employee in the building at a time.

The owner, Tom, has also put together a DVD on how to open a brewery on the cheap (this is something like his fourth or fifth). It's a good resource and well worth the money for anyone thinking about it.

Here's a direct to the DVD. $20 from someone who's actually done it for a while could be money well spent.
http://www.beerbooks.com/cgi/ps4.cgi?ACTION=enter&thispage=2126&ORDER_ID=!ORDERID!   (http://www.beerbooks.com/cgi/ps4.cgi?ACTION=enter&thispage=2126&ORDER_ID=!ORDERID!)

If nothing else he knows how to market a concept.  A DVD and an imersion course... 
+1 on the DVD = money well spent 
Title: Re: Selling.....maybe?
Post by: denny on May 25, 2011, 06:32:21 PM
So has the guy opened 4 or 5 because they were so successful or because they failed one after another?
Title: Re: Selling.....maybe?
Post by: ccarlson on May 25, 2011, 06:46:40 PM
So has the guy opened 4 or 5 because they were so successful or because they failed one after another?

How many people on here have done it successfully for a long time, but are giving advice. I know I haven't opened one. Have you? Even if he failed, his knowledge should be worth $20 more than most of what Weaze is getting from here. I'm including myself in that group.

I might buy it and I have no desire to start a brewery. ;D
Title: Re: Selling.....maybe?
Post by: hopfenundmalz on May 25, 2011, 06:59:58 PM
So has the guy opened 4 or 5 because they were so successful or because they failed one after another?

He was on the panel discussion at the NHC last year.  I think most of those were still in operation, IIRC.

This might be of some help to the Weaze.  The first several slides are from Tom Hennessy.  Look at the Weasel Boy presentation part also, they are also small.  The other 2 are big.
 
http://www.ahaconference.org/wp-content/uploads/presentations/2010/Starting_Your_Own_Brewery_Panel-AHA_Conference_2010.pdf
Title: Re: Selling.....maybe?
Post by: ccarlson on May 25, 2011, 07:05:50 PM
So has the guy opened 4 or 5 because they were so successful or because they failed one after another?

He was on the panel discussion at the NHC last year.  I think most of those were still in operation, IIRC.

This might be of some help to the Weaze.  The first several slides are from Tom Hennessy.  Look at the Weasel Boy presentation part also, they are also small.  The other 2 are big.
  
http://www.ahaconference.org/wp-content/uploads/presentations/2010/Starting_Your_Own_Brewery_Panel-AHA_Conference_2010.pdf


What could be more appropriate for weazletoe, then info from Weasel Boy brewing? ;D
Title: Re: Selling.....maybe?
Post by: weazletoe on May 25, 2011, 07:13:33 PM
What could be appropriate for weazletoe, then info from Weasel Boy brewing? ;D

That's it! I'm suing someone!!!

Man, why can't this be easy as "buy a license, sell beer".... ::)
Title: Re: Selling.....maybe?
Post by: astrivian on May 25, 2011, 07:52:40 PM
FWIW, i live right near Dry Dock Brewing. They started as a LHBS and over the course of several years expanded into the brewery. The only food they have is popcorn (free) but their "bar" "tasting room" or whatever it is called is usually packed on the weekends and in the weekday evenings (they sell pints and growlers). I even stopped by there once at 3 pm and it was standing room only. They still have the LHBS and have actually expanded that as well. Thought i would mention this when i saw the post about alternative income streams. And this is in Colorado where there is lots and lots of competition (New Belgium, Avery, Odells, Oscar Blues......). They seem to be doing well.

Come to think of it, how many brew pubs are there in your area (maybe within 20 minutes drive)? If there are none or very few you may be able to corner the market for your locality. Maybe a follow up question is: "Is craft brew popular where you are?" If most just drink flavored water then maybe you should consider another area.

Okay one last thing then i will stop typing and get back to my beer. (enjoying Arrogant Bastard  ;D ) Business has all sorts of fancy sounding research methods (like SWOT Analysis), but they are only as good as the data you put in them. So don't be skittish and shy: Go get the data you need in the field. Identify the end of the beer chain: Where does the money ultimately come from? Well...consumers. If customers don't want to drink your beer, then places will stop selling it and stop buying it from you. So you need to know what the consumers think of your brews. THAT is where the data is.

 I would say (not that i have done this) go to pubs and bars in the area and ask for the manager and maybe the bartender. Give them a sample of your beer and tell them what you are thinking, and ask if they would buy it. Can't hurt, worse they could do is tell you no or go away. (and if they do like it, have a name for your business ready and tell them you will be contacting them once you get going. Then you have their attention and hopes up even before you start). I am not sure how the laws work anywhere, but maybe you could donate a case of bottles to a pub and have them sell them at low cost to people (all profit for the store with zero risk, and they can advertise it and bring more attention to their place). Then you could get reviews from the customers on how they liked your brew. Put together a quick survey (no more than five questions) asking them to rate your beer on different factors (flavor, etc.). I don't think asking them how much they would pay for it would be a good question. I bet people will say far less than they actually will. Besides, the cost is not entirely up to you anyway. A good question might be "Would you drink this again if you had to buy a pint?" If you get a bunch of "yes" go for it.

If you do decide to go for it, tell us about your experience. I am sure there are a lot of people on here (including me) that would love to learn how to open our own place.

Oh, and one comment on the workload: "Find a job you love, and you will never work a day in your life."
Title: Re: Selling.....maybe?
Post by: hopfenundmalz on May 25, 2011, 08:13:44 PM
What could be appropriate for weazletoe, then info from Weasel Boy brewing? ;D
That's it! I'm suing someone!!!

Man, why can't this be easy as "buy a license, sell beer".... ::)
They have been in business for a while.  Named after their pet ferrets.

They are in Zanesville, Ohio.  How far is that from your family back home?  Worth a visit.
Title: Re: Selling.....maybe?
Post by: a10t2 on May 25, 2011, 08:48:50 PM
So has the guy opened 4 or 5 because they were so successful or because they failed one after another?

IIRC they're all still in operation. I'll ask next time I'm in there.
Title: Re: Selling.....maybe?
Post by: denny on May 25, 2011, 08:50:33 PM
So has the guy opened 4 or 5 because they were so successful or because they failed one after another?

IIRC they're all still in operation. I'll ask next time I'm in there.

That comment was as facetious as not, but there was a grain of honest curiosity there, too.
Title: Re: Selling.....maybe?
Post by: punatic on May 25, 2011, 09:44:34 PM

Man, why can't this be easy as "buy a license...


heh, heh, heh...  You're gonna love it.
Title: Re: Selling.....maybe?
Post by: ccarlson on May 25, 2011, 11:16:26 PM
So has the guy opened 4 or 5 because they were so successful or because they failed one after another?

IIRC they're all still in operation. I'll ask next time I'm in there.

That comment was as facetious as not, but there was a grain of honest curiosity there, too.

;)
Title: Re: Selling.....maybe?
Post by: majorvices on May 25, 2011, 11:47:05 PM
What could be appropriate for weazletoe, then info from Weasel Boy brewing? ;D

That's it! I'm suing someone!!!

Man, why can't this be easy as "buy a license, sell beer".... ::)

because if it were easy everyone would be doing it.
Title: Re: Selling.....maybe?
Post by: rabid_dingo on May 26, 2011, 12:13:11 AM
What could be appropriate for weazletoe, then info from Weasel Boy brewing? ;D

That's it! I'm suing someone!!!

Man, why can't this be easy as "buy a license, sell beer".... ::)

because if it were easy everyone would be doing it.

Or weasling out the riff-raff!!! ;)
Title: Re: Selling.....maybe?
Post by: BrewingRover on May 26, 2011, 12:33:14 AM
So who's going to tell him that the Feds will make him wear pants if he wants to sell his beer?
Title: Re: Selling.....maybe?
Post by: ccarlson on May 26, 2011, 01:04:56 AM
No business is easy to start. A brewery is no exception.