I've been in the Graphic Design/Marketing/Branding Industry for over 20 years and I can tell you that no matter how good your product is or how much business management experience you have, without an interesting story or theme you will never be as successful as the next guy with a great idea.
I'm absolutely positive that 90% of the people on this forum, given the chance, could make excellent beer on a professional system, but if you can't sell it, it makes no difference.
What most people forget is that breweries aren't in the beer making business, they are in the beer selling business and that requires more than just a good recipe or being a good business manager.
Dogfish is actually a great example of this. Not only did he start with a 10gal system but he started with a great idea. Their motto "Off-centered ales for off-centered people" is absolutely brilliant. In one sentence he describes the company philosophy and the market which they serve. When you hear the name Dogfish Head what's the first thing that comes to mind? I instantly think "uncommon or over-the-top beers with uncommon ingredients". Mission accomplished.
I believe when you have the notion of starting a brewery just saying "I wanna start a brewery" isn't enough. Having a business plan isn't enough. Making a good product isn't enough. I believe that anyone starting a business, any business, needs to atleast answer the following questions before you pull the trigger:
Who are we? What's our "story"?
What do we stand for?
Why are we doing this?
Who are our customers?
Does our product fit our theme?
If you don't have a solid, well-thought out answer for these questions you are doing yourself a huge disservice before you even begin.
1) Make a great product.
2) Have a good business plan/management.
3) Have a solid marketing/branding concept.
Just my 2 cents...