Author Topic: OK, we're doing it  (Read 3071 times)

Offline micsager

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OK, we're doing it
« on: March 16, 2012, 07:06:40 AM »
Not opening a production brewery or anything.  Years ago I got a business license for "Dungeness Brewing Co," as I live less than a mile from the Dungeness river in beautiful northwest Washington State. (and my logo is a cool crab holding a keg.  google "dungeness brewing") yesterday, I mailed off a modification to that master business license declaring I am a brewery.  Supposedly, this will get the ball rolling, and our state liquior control board will be paying me a visit.  It was only $100. 

Now we will find out exactly what hurdles must be overcome.  A local brewery has already promised me a tap in their taproom.  And the owner is guiding me through the process.  He suggested the route I'm taking.

All I really want to do is to be able to sell my beer legally for weddings, class reunions, etc.  And the tap at one taproom will be cool. 






Offline nateo

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Re: OK, we're doing it
« Reply #1 on: March 16, 2012, 08:06:24 AM »
Awesome! Good luck. If you're not doing much volume, the excise tax won't be a big deal. A lot of states have flat fees for licenses, though, so you could be paying the same as all the other breweries in the state. But this varies by state, so it's something you'll have to look into for your state.

Also, are you sure you can self distribute? In my state you need to also own a distributor license to sell directly. The total cost of licensing in my state for a small brewery ended up being a few thousand dollars, when I added up all the licenses and fees. So you might be surprised how expensive it can be.
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Offline a10t2

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Re: OK, we're doing it
« Reply #2 on: March 16, 2012, 08:13:09 AM »
Have you looked into your local health codes? That could be the biggest hurdle when it comes to brewing at home.

Good luck!
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Online Jimmy K

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Re: OK, we're doing it
« Reply #3 on: March 16, 2012, 08:19:00 AM »
Cool! And good luck. What kind of brewing space are you planning on using?
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Offline micsager

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Re: OK, we're doing it
« Reply #4 on: March 16, 2012, 08:39:49 AM »
Thanks everyone.

Self-distribute?  I don't know the legal answer, but there's another brewer in my county that does, so I'm thinking so.  And that takes care of the health department question as well.  As for a facility, I have a large, three bay detached garage that will be the brewery. 

I just figure starting the process for $100 is no big deal.  If it get's to be to much, then we'll cancel.  The guy that owns the brewery with taproom got going pretty easy, and he's just brewing one barrel batches with blichmann boilermaker pots.  Essentially a home brew system. And he's in an offsite pole building. 

Offline pikelakehomebrew

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Re: OK, we're doing it
« Reply #5 on: March 16, 2012, 09:06:32 AM »
That's awesome micsager.  Congrats on starting the process!  ;D

It's a pipe dream for me to do the same, but a looooooong ways off from making that kind of gutsy move.  Have you looked into the Federal requirements yet?  I've heard that they can be a pain in the keester.
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Offline hopfenundmalz

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Re: OK, we're doing it
« Reply #6 on: March 16, 2012, 09:07:36 AM »
For questions on self distribution, the answer is in the Brewer's Association web site.  For WA=yes, <60,000 barrels, so you are covered for a few years of growth. 
http://www.brewersassociation.org/pages/government-affairs/self-distribution-laws
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Offline nateo

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Re: OK, we're doing it
« Reply #7 on: March 16, 2012, 09:10:53 AM »
I've recently talked with an advisor from the TTB. He was mostly concerned with security, like locking doors, and keeping track of your product for revenue purposes. He told me that I'd still have to comply with whatever state and local codes I had, but the Federal part seemed a lot simpler than I had thought it would.

Now, I still haven't gotten approved yet, so my opinion might change later.
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Offline bluesman

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Re: OK, we're doing it
« Reply #8 on: March 16, 2012, 09:25:57 AM »
Nice!  :)

Is this going to be a fulltime deal for you or are you working another job at the moment?
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Offline morticaixavier

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Re: OK, we're doing it
« Reply #9 on: March 16, 2012, 10:10:54 AM »
That's awesome micsager.  Congrats on starting the process!  ;D

It's a pipe dream for me to do the same, but a looooooong ways off from making that kind of gutsy move.  Have you looked into the Federal requirements yet?  I've heard that they can be a pain in the keester.

To echo Nateo, From everything I have read the feds are really not that hard to work with. State and Local is a lot more work as they are the ones actually inspecting your facility etc. I have read that the label approval process with the feds can be a little frustrating.

Offline micsager

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Re: OK, we're doing it
« Reply #10 on: March 16, 2012, 10:36:57 AM »
For questions on self distribution, the answer is in the Brewer's Association web site.  For WA=yes, <60,000 barrels, so you are covered for a few years of growth. 
http://www.brewersassociation.org/pages/government-affairs/self-distribution-laws

I can't imagine going that big.  Homebrewing is for me.  Plus, my day job pays pretty good.  And I like money.   :D ;D

Offline hopfenundmalz

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Re: OK, we're doing it
« Reply #11 on: March 16, 2012, 11:20:14 AM »
For questions on self distribution, the answer is in the Brewer's Association web site.  For WA=yes, <60,000 barrels, so you are covered for a few years of growth. 
http://www.brewersassociation.org/pages/government-affairs/self-distribution-laws

I can't imagine going that big.  Homebrewing is for me.  Plus, my day job pays pretty good.  And I like money.   :D ;D

As I said, you are covered.  Remember smiley...  ;) ;)
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Offline nateo

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Re: OK, we're doing it
« Reply #12 on: March 16, 2012, 12:07:27 PM »
Does the BA offer help with label approval?

There's a wine industry group in CA you can join that offers a label submission service included in the membership. They doublecheck your label before they send it in, and they can expedite your label submission.
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Offline a10t2

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Re: OK, we're doing it
« Reply #13 on: March 16, 2012, 12:24:17 PM »
Does the BA offer help with label approval?

I don't think so, but with the new online system the COLA process is all but painless, and TTB is good about giving prompt and useful feedback if for some reason it's held up. And at least here in CO, once you have the federal approval the state is pretty much a rubber stamp.

The only real wrinkle is that as the regulations are currently written, things like fruit, spices, honey, wood, etc. are considered "non-traditional" and require a formula declaration - though TTB recognizes that this is a little unworkable in the craft beer industry and is pretty consistent about exempting formula declarations for common ingredients.
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Offline majorvices

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Re: OK, we're doing it
« Reply #14 on: March 16, 2012, 02:14:09 PM »
For questions on self distribution, the answer is in the Brewer's Association web site.  For WA=yes, <60,000 barrels, so you are covered for a few years of growth. 
http://www.brewersassociation.org/pages/government-affairs/self-distribution-laws

I can't imagine going that big.  Homebrewing is for me.  Plus, my day job pays pretty good.  And I like money.   :D ;D

Here's hoping you are going to at least invst in something larger than a 10 gallon system. You will quickly lose the joy of brewing once you sell every drop you are brewing and never have a keg for the house. even brewing 7 bbls I sometimes go stretches without having beer at the house, and that sucks.

In fact, that makes me think of another cautionary tale: beware of going commercial because you will not be brewing for yourself any longer. On a 10 gallon system that's a lot of brewing basically for free (because there is no way you will make money on it, on the contrary your time will not even come close to being compensated. At least homebrewing you spend 8 hours and get beer out of the deal. You will be talking about spending all day brewing and maybe getting $80-100 after ingredient/energy costs.
« Last Edit: March 16, 2012, 02:22:20 PM by majorvices »
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