I don't mean to sound dickish - so please don't take this the wrong way. But if you still haven't learned to brew all grain yet I feel the compulsion to dissuade you from even considering opening a brewery. There is so much to learn to make a good beer on a large scale and even though extract brewing is a feasible approach it is way more expensive to pull off. Give it a few years before you start making any serious plans. There are way too many breweries starting up now that the dream of opening a brewery is in front of actually learning the brewing process, and in todays tight market that is a sure sign of failure.
Likewise, I don't want to sound dickish, but there is a very thick layer of nay-saying that goes along with wanting to brew professionally. And I'm very, very fed up of running into it at every level. This isn't a blast to your message - not in the least. I understand why you're trying to caution me. This is a vent about my experiences in the past year or so.
Brewing schools are backed-up many years out or are prohibitively expensive. Local breweries aren't interested in even unpaid interns who have a homebrewing-only background (and certainly not outside standard business hours). Funding is non-existent for new businesses in general, let alone startups with the high-risk element and steep startup costs of breweries.
And of course, the cycle: if you don't have the education, you won't get work in a brewery, and if you don't have work in a brewery, who's going to fund you?
The best shot I've got is to brew my ass off as much as I can afford to, refining the same recipes over and over, learning everything I can along the way. In the meanwhile, I am trying to organize a lot of complex information and prepare an ironclad business plan. These things likely take years.
In the US, folks don't get into craft beer (and brewing) until their 20s, which is a hell of a late time to become involved in something with earnest intentions to become a professional. With all the roadblocks -- many of which I admit are products of our economy, the current craft beer explosion, and perhaps even where I'm located geographically -- it's almost too much to even dream about going pro.
But, from where I sit, "f##k that." I'm working a desk job (which I should be thankful I have, even) but it's a classic go-nowhere situation. I have no savings nor a rich benefactor - only a passion for brewing, and however far my hard work and planning will take me. I'm serious about this, but realistic at the same time.
So, with feeling, a large disclaimer to attach to all of my question posts, talks with BA reps, and conversations with industry:
- I know I need more brewing experience. Schools aren't going to be possible for me.
- I know the field is hyper-competitive. But Boston is severely lacking in city-produced beer.
- I am 24. I'm not interested in waiting until I'm in my 30s with children to try such a risky venture. I could be the best brewer in the city, but there's never a guarantee of success.
- I believe in my abilities to manage the details of a business like this. I have the perspective, however, to ask for help where I need it, and to delegate roles to those better than I when possible.
- If I look back in 20 years, I don't want to regret not putting my all behind something. I'm not getting it at my desk job, and I want to give this a serious run. I am not going to be intimidated by the things I don't have / don't know, and I'm not going to lazily coast through this point in my life.
Now, just to be sure, I really appreciate your time here on the forums, and your concern about my brewing experience. This isn't a blast-back to you, it's a general vent about what I've run into. (Granted, it may have been more appropriate for a PM, since this was a thread about timeline expectations.) It's also my raison
for being here. I've never properly explained myself, mostly because: 1) see the nay-sayings above, and 2) not wanting to go on and on about myself needlessly.
Phew. That was longer than expected. I hope it doesn't come off too angry, it's just frustration. I'm sure I'm not the only one to experience the many rude dismissals from industry personnel (equipment manufacturers and real estate folks, especially). It's almost too much to bear sometimes.