Author Topic: realistically, what does it take?  (Read 2672 times)

Offline micsager

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Re: realistically, what does it take?
« Reply #30 on: August 06, 2012, 01:09:41 PM »
Hey, I'm new to this forum and just got into homebrewing a few months ago.

Before anyone makes the comment: I realize that it's going to take me a few years to figure all this stuff out.  I've been playing the violin for over twenty years so I completely understand/value patience :)

I'm just curious what it would realistically take to eventually start selling your brew.  I'm from San Diego and microbreweries are popping up everywhere.  What does it take to start one of those?  Also, is it possible to not have a storefront?  Maybe just have your beer bottled and sold in stores?

Well, I must say my experience is much different than what folks are talking about here.  I just wanted to sell a few kegs (and corny ones at that) to the local bars in my small town.  I just got another homebrew system, set it up in fiance's shop, applied to TTB and my state LCB, and I'm legal.  I can still homebrew on my previous system in the garage.  It's a bit of a pain keeping the ingridients seperate and all that.  But, that's fine.  I've got the first 10 gallons on the commercial side carbonating right now, and will be sold on the 18th. 

TTB cost $100 for the brewers bond  (and every year thereafter)
State was additional $100 one time cost
Product liability inurance through USAA is $420 per year.

So, I can sell kegs to local bars and growlers to the public for offsite consumption.




Offline phunhog

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Re: realistically, what does it take?
« Reply #31 on: August 06, 2012, 04:42:39 PM »
Quote
Sadly it's also on who "interpets" the laws of your state.  I know some brewers/clubs have done so without any problems. Other brewers/clubs in the same state have asked the ABC and have been told no.  As a homebrewer I think this is a case of "it's better to beg forgiveness, than ask permission".

Are you referring to selling beer at festivals or just giving it away?

Both. For instance, this just came down the pipe in Illinois: http://goo.gl/Bb5xU

In my case I was just referring to giving away homebrew at festivals in small taster glasses.  Interesting to see what happens in Illinois. It is a bummer that they are locked out of the festivals right now but maybe people will see how ridiculous that is and get it changed.

Offline alaingomez

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Re: realistically, what does it take?
« Reply #32 on: August 06, 2012, 11:13:21 PM »
Quote

Well, I must say my experience is much different than what folks are talking about here.  I just wanted to sell a few kegs (and corny ones at that) to the local bars in my small town.  I just got another homebrew system, set it up in fiance's shop, applied to TTB and my state LCB, and I'm legal.  I can still homebrew on my previous system in the garage.  It's a bit of a pain keeping the ingridients seperate and all that.  But, that's fine.  I've got the first 10 gallons on the commercial side carbonating right now, and will be sold on the 18th. 

TTB cost $100 for the brewers bond  (and every year thereafter)
State was additional $100 one time cost
Product liability inurance through USAA is $420 per year.

So, I can sell kegs to local bars and growlers to the public for offsite consumption.

But your fiance's shop had to be up to local commercial code though, correct?

Offline nateo

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Re: realistically, what does it take?
« Reply #33 on: August 07, 2012, 04:48:05 AM »
What's the point of making beer to sell to strangers, if you're not trying to make a reasonable profit on it? My 5/10gal batches are so precious to me, I'm only willing to share them with my friends. The thought of selling them in a bar to a bunch of strangers who won't appreciate it is terrible.

Now, if I were making 10bbl to make a living, it'd be a different matter.
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Re: realistically, what does it take?
« Reply #34 on: August 07, 2012, 08:03:23 AM »
Well I know in my case the law is a bit of a gray area.

I guess I misunderstood your original post, because I don't see any ambiguity there:

Quote
Any beer manufactured pursuant to this section may be removed from the premises where manufactured for use in competition at organized affairs, exhibitions or competitions, including homemakers' contests, tastings, or judgings.

It's explicitly legal to serve your homebrew at a "tasting" (festival), and if someone at the ABC says otherwise, they're wrong.
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Offline nateo

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Re: realistically, what does it take?
« Reply #35 on: August 07, 2012, 08:39:47 AM »
Quote
Any beer manufactured pursuant to this section may be removed from the premises where manufactured for use in competition at organized affairs, exhibitions or competitions, including homemakers' contests, tastings, or judgings.

It's explicitly legal to serve your homebrew at a "tasting" (festival), and if someone at the ABC says otherwise, they're wrong.

Well, I don't think so. It explicitly says you can take your beer to an organized affair, exhibition, or competition to be used for competition. This includes homemaker's contests, tastings, or judgings. So a homebrewer's fair, tasting, festival, whatever is OK if it's a competition. It doesn't explicitly state that it's OK to serve homemade beer at a commercial exhibition or festival, or to serve at a festival that's not a homebrew contest.

Cops write bad tickets all the time. It doesn't really matter if the ABC guy is wrong, he can still jam you up. You might get out of punishment in the end, but in the meantime you'll have to deal with whatever fine/citation/whatever he feels like giving you.
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Offline micsager

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Re: realistically, what does it take?
« Reply #36 on: August 07, 2012, 08:57:27 AM »
What's the point of making beer to sell to strangers, if you're not trying to make a reasonable profit on it? My 5/10gal batches are so precious to me, I'm only willing to share them with my friends. The thought of selling them in a bar to a bunch of strangers who won't appreciate it is terrible.

Now, if I were making 10bbl to make a living, it'd be a different matter.

What's the point?  Interesting question, that each of us must answer for ourselves.  For me, it is the pleasure of watching someone put down their hard earned cash for something I created.  I enjoy that feeling.  Especially when they buy the second one.  Friends almost always tell me my beer is "great" "good" and "wow."  But nothing says I've done a good job as when someone pays $5 for a pint.  And in my town, it's not so much "strangers" as friends I havn't met yet.

Yesterday, as I was at the local bar modifying one of his Sankey for ball locks, I wore my brewery t-shirt to create a buzz, and boy did it.  The customers were very excited to see another local brewery supplying them beer.  Our first keg will be delivered Friday, and more than one said they'll be back to try. 

Offline majorvices

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Re: realistically, what does it take?
« Reply #37 on: August 07, 2012, 09:24:14 AM »
What's the point of making beer to sell to strangers, if you're not trying to make a reasonable profit on it? My 5/10gal batches are so precious to me, I'm only willing to share them with my friends. The thought of selling them in a bar to a bunch of strangers who won't appreciate it is terrible.

Now, if I were making 10bbl to make a living, it'd be a different matter.

What's the point?  Interesting question, that each of us must answer for ourselves.  For me, it is the pleasure of watching someone put down their hard earned cash for something I created.  I enjoy that feeling.  Especially when they buy the second one.  Friends almost always tell me my beer is "great" "good" and "wow."  But nothing says I've done a good job as when someone pays $5 for a pint.  And in my town, it's not so much "strangers" as friends I havn't met yet.

Yesterday, as I was at the local bar modifying one of his Sankey for ball locks, I wore my brewery t-shirt to create a buzz, and boy did it.  The customers were very excited to see another local brewery supplying them beer.  Our first keg will be delivered Friday, and more than one said they'll be back to try.

If it turns out that you end up losing money over time, will you still continue to do it? Sounds like you have very little overhead, which is a boon, but when you consider how much your time is actually worth it doesn't seem possible to even break even on a 10 gallon system. OTOH if you are doing it to prove a concept and get someone on board who wants to fund a real brewery then it could be totally worth it. Just my .02. Not trying to discourage anyone from their passions.
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Online morticaixavier

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Re: realistically, what does it take?
« Reply #38 on: August 07, 2012, 09:29:43 AM »
What's the point of making beer to sell to strangers, if you're not trying to make a reasonable profit on it? My 5/10gal batches are so precious to me, I'm only willing to share them with my friends. The thought of selling them in a bar to a bunch of strangers who won't appreciate it is terrible.

Now, if I were making 10bbl to make a living, it'd be a different matter.

What's the point?  Interesting question, that each of us must answer for ourselves.  For me, it is the pleasure of watching someone put down their hard earned cash for something I created.  I enjoy that feeling.  Especially when they buy the second one.  Friends almost always tell me my beer is "great" "good" and "wow."  But nothing says I've done a good job as when someone pays $5 for a pint.  And in my town, it's not so much "strangers" as friends I havn't met yet.

Yesterday, as I was at the local bar modifying one of his Sankey for ball locks, I wore my brewery t-shirt to create a buzz, and boy did it.  The customers were very excited to see another local brewery supplying them beer.  Our first keg will be delivered Friday, and more than one said they'll be back to try.

If it turns out that you end up losing money over time, will you still continue to do it? Sounds like you have very little overhead, which is a boon, but when you consider how much your time is actually worth it doesn't seem possible to even break even on a 10 gallon system. OTOH if you are doing it to prove a concept and get someone on board who wants to fund a real brewery then it could be totally worth it. Just my .02. Not trying to discourage anyone from their passions.

I have been an actor my whole life. Never made more than a couple grand at a pop, certainly never paid my bills with it but everytime I drive for 1.5 hours for a 5 minute audition I think 'What If this time...' and everytime i DO get a check for doing this thing that I love it makes it all worth it. sure $400 bucks for 3 weeks of nights and weekends doesn't make good economic sense but that $400 is like $1 million in my soul. I totally understand the desire to go pro even on a tiny system. Heck, at risk of stretching the analogy to the breaking point, I actually prefer the $400 dollar stage gig that only 200 people see to the $2000 commercial gig that 100k+ people see because that stage gig is all me and I get to interact with my audience. similary, If I ever get there being able to interact with the people that are enjoying my beer will be worth way more soul money than 10k bbls sold to strangers I will never meet or speak to.

but to each their own. I totally understand wanting to actually make a living at it to.
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Offline phunhog

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Re: realistically, what does it take?
« Reply #39 on: August 07, 2012, 11:05:22 AM »
Well I know in my case the law is a bit of a gray area.

I guess I misunderstood your original post, because I don't see any ambiguity there:

Quote
Any beer manufactured pursuant to this section may be removed from the premises where manufactured for use in competition at organized affairs, exhibitions or competitions, including homemakers' contests, tastings, or judgings.

It's explicitly legal to serve your homebrew at a "tasting" (festival), and if someone at the ABC says otherwise, they're wrong.

That's what I mean..I know of some clubs who have asked ABC to pour at beer festivals and they have been denied. Other clubs have just gone ahead and did it without any problems. Unfortunately from working in the government for 20+ years I know the easiest answer to give a member of the public is NO, especially when dealing with an issue that can be interpreted in different ways. It's not right but it happens all the time. That's where my " better to beg forgiveness than ask permission" statement came from.

Offline micsager

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Re: realistically, what does it take?
« Reply #40 on: August 07, 2012, 11:45:15 AM »
 
[/quote]

If it turns out that you end up losing money over time, will you still continue to do it? Sounds like you have very little overhead, which is a boon, but when you consider how much your time is actually worth it doesn't seem possible to even break even on a 10 gallon system. OTOH if you are doing it to prove a concept and get someone on board who wants to fund a real brewery then it could be totally worth it. Just my .02. Not trying to discourage anyone from their passions.
[/quote]

As I've always said, I like to hear everyone's point of view.  I live in a town of about 30,000. the next bigger town is about 75 miles away.  I'm not in this to really make a money.  But, I will say that my business (that is working out so far) shows that my partner and I will net, about $120 for a full day in the brewery?  The math works out to be about $6/hr.  I know of know other hobby that I love so much that will aactually pay me $6 to do.  Can I quite my day job?  NOT EVEN CLOSE.  And it may be that after a couple years of this, we decide it's not worth it.  But I can tell you that a day in the brewery with the woman I love, making darn good beer, is a very enjoyable activity.  We met because of homebrew two years ago.  And, we're getting married on the 18th. 

But, I know our model does not work for most folks when they think about "going pro."  I post my story and experience to show it is actually quite simple to go legit, and sell one's beer.

Offline micsager

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Re: realistically, what does it take?
« Reply #41 on: August 07, 2012, 11:51:09 AM »
Quote

Well, I must say my experience is much different than what folks are talking about here.  I just wanted to sell a few kegs (and corny ones at that) to the local bars in my small town.  I just got another homebrew system, set it up in fiance's shop, applied to TTB and my state LCB, and I'm legal.  I can still homebrew on my previous system in the garage.  It's a bit of a pain keeping the ingridients seperate and all that.  But, that's fine.  I've got the first 10 gallons on the commercial side carbonating right now, and will be sold on the 18th. 

TTB cost $100 for the brewers bond  (and every year thereafter)
State was additional $100 one time cost
Product liability inurance through USAA is $420 per year.

So, I can sell kegs to local bars and growlers to the public for offsite consumption.

But your fiance's shop had to be up to local commercial code though, correct?

Nope.  The county building department had no involvement.  It passed inspection when built many years ago as a pole building.  Her place is quite rural, and zoned to include "home enterprise" which in my county means any business that does not permanently store equipment or matarials outside.  The TTB, nor state LCB ever set foot on her property.  Although we did have to send pictures to the LCB. We'll be filing our first tax payments this week.  a whole 2/3 barrel.  LOL  It will be about $8.00.


Offline alaingomez

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Re: realistically, what does it take?
« Reply #42 on: August 08, 2012, 01:15:20 AM »
Quote

As I've always said, I like to hear everyone's point of view.  I live in a town of about 30,000. the next bigger town is about 75 miles away.  I'm not in this to really make a money.  But, I will say that my business (that is working out so far) shows that my partner and I will net, about $120 for a full day in the brewery?  The math works out to be about $6/hr.  I know of know other hobby that I love so much that will aactually pay me $6 to do.  Can I quite my day job?  NOT EVEN CLOSE.  And it may be that after a couple years of this, we decide it's not worth it.  But I can tell you that a day in the brewery with the woman I love, making darn good beer, is a very enjoyable activity.  We met because of homebrew two years ago.  And, we're getting married on the 18th. 

But, I know our model does not work for most folks when they think about "going pro."  I post my story and experience to show it is actually quite simple to go legit, and sell one's beer.

That's really cute  :)

I hope you serve amazing beer at your wedding and invite us all  :P

What kind of schedule to keep for your brewhouse?  Do you just do weekends?  In order to keep your day job...?

Offline micsager

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Re: realistically, what does it take?
« Reply #43 on: August 08, 2012, 07:27:04 AM »
Quote

As I've always said, I like to hear everyone's point of view.  I live in a town of about 30,000. the next bigger town is about 75 miles away.  I'm not in this to really make a money.  But, I will say that my business (that is working out so far) shows that my partner and I will net, about $120 for a full day in the brewery?  The math works out to be about $6/hr.  I know of know other hobby that I love so much that will aactually pay me $6 to do.  Can I quite my day job?  NOT EVEN CLOSE.  And it may be that after a couple years of this, we decide it's not worth it.  But I can tell you that a day in the brewery with the woman I love, making darn good beer, is a very enjoyable activity.  We met because of homebrew two years ago.  And, we're getting married on the 18th. 

But, I know our model does not work for most folks when they think about "going pro."  I post my story and experience to show it is actually quite simple to go legit, and sell one's beer.

That's really cute  :)

I hope you serve amazing beer at your wedding and invite us all  :P

What kind of schedule to keep for your brewhouse?  Do you just do weekends?  In order to keep your day job...?

So far, we brew on weekends, and do two batches in about 8 hours.  I only have one tap to keep supplied at one bar, so we'll see how it sells. 

For the wedding is some homebrewed IPA, and Jalapeno IPA.  Plus, a member of our local club is brewing a clone of Avery's Maharaja for us.  He's probably the best brewer in our club, so I'm sure it will be a very good clone. 

Offline alaingomez

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Re: realistically, what does it take?
« Reply #44 on: August 11, 2012, 12:26:40 AM »

Quote

So far, we brew on weekends, and do two batches in about 8 hours.  I only have one tap to keep supplied at one bar, so we'll see how it sells. 

For the wedding is some homebrewed IPA, and Jalapeno IPA.  Plus, a member of our local club is brewing a clone of Avery's Maharaja for us.  He's probably the best brewer in our club, so I'm sure it will be a very good clone.

Mmm... I'm a huge fan of Avery.  Have you tried their Beast beer?  It's up there in my top 10 favorites.  My boyfriend and I want to make a Colorado brewery pilgrimage because of them lol.