Author Topic: Questions for a class at Indiana University  (Read 2084 times)

Offline greenar

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Questions for a class at Indiana University
« on: November 08, 2009, 06:34:12 PM »
Hey guys, I just have a few questions to ask you all for some general home brewing research.  If you wouldnt mind please take a few minutes and answering these to help me out.

-How much home brewing do you do in an average year?
-What is your current cost to make a batch, and how much does that make?
-If properly licensed, how would you go about distributing your beer?
-If you could, would you be willing to take your hobby to the next level and try to start a business?
-If yes, what is holding you back?

And once again thanks guys.  It is greatly appreciated.

Offline gail

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Re: Questions for a class at Indiana University
« Reply #1 on: November 08, 2009, 06:50:41 PM »
First off, it's not just "guys" here... ;)
I brew about 12-18 five gallon batches per year at about $15-30 per batch (repitching yeast, hop amounts, leaf vs. pellet, etc. changes the cost quite a bit).  In Michigan, a properly licensed brewer has to distribute through a distributor plus a litany of taxes and other restrictions.  As a result of so many liquor control headaches, I wouldn't want to start a brewing business (plus, my day job probably pays better and isn't anywhere near as much physical labor!).
I wish there were classes like this when I was in school.
Good luck,
Gail

Offline greenar

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Re: Questions for a class at Indiana University
« Reply #2 on: November 08, 2009, 07:25:09 PM »
Sorry Gail, I stand corrected.  but thanks for the help.
and yeah its nice taking classes like this :)

Offline gail

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Re: Questions for a class at Indiana University
« Reply #3 on: November 08, 2009, 07:30:29 PM »
No biggie!  Crispy Frey once told me women were about a 7% minority membership in the AHA according to one poll...I'd love to see more involved!
Here's to an "A" in your class,
Gail

Offline fightdman

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Re: Questions for a class at Indiana University
« Reply #4 on: November 09, 2009, 07:01:45 AM »
First off, it's not just "guys" here... ;)
I brew about 12-18 five gallon batches per year at about $15-30 per batch (repitching yeast, hop amounts, leaf vs. pellet, etc. changes the cost quite a bit).  In Michigan, a properly licensed brewer has to distribute through a distributor plus a litany of taxes and other restrictions.  As a result of so many liquor control headaches, I wouldn't want to start a brewing business (plus, my day job probably pays better and isn't anywhere near as much physical labor!).
I wish there were classes like this when I was in school.
Good luck,
Gail

Gail hit the nail on the head regarding the goverment hoops you'd have to jump through to just to brew your first batch of commercial beer.  Her per-batch costs are right in line as well.

I brew 30, 5 gallon batches a year.  I'm goint to step up to 10 gallon batches to reduce my overall brew time.

As far as going to the next level, there are several factors that could be roadblocks:  Capital, local market conditions and government regulation are just a couple.  Labor and energy cost are skyrocketing as well and brewing is both energy and labor intensive.  Plus, you have to make beers that appeal to a large enough market to make it $$ fesible.  It's not an easy business.

I think I'll just brew for me for a while longer. ;)
GAVDIVM MIHI VAE TIBI

Offline Pawtucket Patriot

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Re: Questions for a class at Indiana University
« Reply #5 on: November 09, 2009, 07:15:20 AM »
Hi greenar,

I think some of the other members already have imparted some good thoughts about taking homebrewing to a commercial level, so I'll just try to answer your questions.

I brew between 15-20 5 gallon batches per year.  

Because I buy my grain and hops in bulk, my per batch cost is usually between $10-15.  If I'm reusing yeast, I can sometimes make batches for under $10.  I suppose if I took the time to calculate labor/energy costs, my per batch cost would rise a little (I'm not sure how much).

Assuming I had the proper license(s), I would probably try to distribute on my own.  One of the local breweries here in the Twin Cities called Surly does some of their own distribution (they also distribute through a few independent distributors) and happens to do quite well with that model.  Their situation is somewhat unique, however, because the owner's parents already owned the warehouse space wherein the brewery is housed.  So, the capital outlay wasn't as great for Surly as it would be for a small brewery owner who was just trying to get in the door.  Still, in-house distribution, if financially feasible, would yield a greater return than contracting with an independent distributor.

If I could, I would be willing to take brewing to the next level.  In fact, I've already got an idea in the works, but it will be several years down the road before this idea ever comes to fruition, if at all.

What is holding me back is over $100k in law school student loan debt.  Enough said!

Best of luck with your project.

« Last Edit: November 10, 2009, 05:48:56 AM by Pawtucket Patriot »
Matt Schwandt | Minneapolis, MN
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Offline Crispy275

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Re: Questions for a class at Indiana University
« Reply #6 on: November 09, 2009, 08:10:09 AM »
-How much home brewing do you do in an average year?
I make exactly 20 ten gallon batches - another drop and I would be breaking the law  ;)

-What is your current cost to make a batch, and how much does that make?
I make 10 gallon batches, and the style of beer greatly effects my cost. I will be brewing a 10 gallon English Mild next week, and the ingredients for this was $20. And also about $5 - $8 worth of propane, cost for 50-75 gallons of water to chill the wort, a buck or two for the PBW to clean and the Iodophor to sanitize. And let's not forget the $1,000+ for the 3 half barrel system and grain mill...
When I make a ten gallon batch of my Russian Imperial Stout, it costs close to $100. A typical 10 gallon batch of a hoppy American Pale Ale is closer to $40 - $50.

-If properly licensed, how would you go about distributing your beer?
As Gail points out, I would have to follow the draconian 3 tier distribution laws here in Michigan. I once contemplated brewing for a local resturant, but in the end I was discouraged by the fact that I would have to use a distributor, even if I lugged the kegs to the resturant myself.

-If you could, would you be willing to take your hobby to the next level and try to start a business?
Yes.

-If yes, what is holding you back?
Can't afford the pay cut today.

My "dream" is to retire succesfully from my current career and then move somewhere near the coast and open up a homebrew supply shop with an attached mini-brewery - say a 3 barrel system. Then, make boutique 750ml bottle of beers and sell them locally. This would allow me to be immersed into my hobby and passion, while paying for it and making a little coin as well. Not the grandest of dreams, but it is where my mind takes me when I think of the future...
Chris P. Frey, aka "Crispy"
Ann Arbor Brewers Guild
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AHA Governing Committee (2004 - present, Past Chairman 2009-2012)
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Offline akr71

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Re: Questions for a class at Indiana University
« Reply #7 on: November 09, 2009, 08:24:36 AM »
I'm only echoing every one elses responses, although the cost of ingredients is slightly higher for me - the closest shop that sells grain is a 2 hour drive away.

Also, being in Canada, the laws and regulations to get setup as a licensed brewery are even more strict and fraught with red-tape.  Maybe one day when I don't have a mortgage and a young growing family, running a Brewpub would be fun... as Crispy said, its a retirement dream.
Andy

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Offline BrewingRover

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Re: Questions for a class at Indiana University
« Reply #8 on: November 09, 2009, 01:08:04 PM »
-- How much home brewing do you do in an average year?
I brew 20 - 25 or so batches a year. Usually 5 gallon but sometimes smaller

-- What is your current cost to make a batch, and how much does that make?
I really don't keep track. I imagine $15-20 but I buy ingredients in bulk at times, but then buy special ingredients for a one off brew.

--If properly licensed, how would you go about distributing your beer?
I live in Illinois, which has some of the craziest distribution laws I've run across. I wouldn't dream of trying to distribute here.

--If you could, would you be willing to take your hobby to the next level and try to start a business?
No. As Denny has said many times, the best way to ruin a hobby is to make it a job. I've only met one pro brewer who still homebrews for fun.
It's such a fine line between stupid and clever.

Offline denny

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Re: Questions for a class at Indiana University
« Reply #9 on: November 09, 2009, 01:14:42 PM »
Hey guys, I just have a few questions to ask you all for some general home brewing research.  If you wouldnt mind please take a few minutes and answering these to help me out.

-How much home brewing do you do in an average year?

About every other week. 

-What is your current cost to make a batch, and how much does that make?

I make 5 gal. batches and I honestly have no idea how much it costs.  It's a hobby!


-If properly licensed, how would you go about distributing your beer?

Not interested


-If you could, would you be willing to take your hobby to the next level and try to start a business?

Not a chance in hell.  It's a great hobby and I've ruined several great hobbies by turning them into businesses.  For me, "taking it to the next level" would be to have enough time to brew when I want.
Life begins at 60.....1.060, that is!

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Offline Thirsty_Monk

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Re: Questions for a class at Indiana University
« Reply #10 on: November 09, 2009, 08:21:10 PM »
As far as comercial beer distri ution is concern a lot of states require three tier distribution system.
In other words you can not self distribute your product.

I brew every other week 5 gal batches and LOVE the process.
I do have issue what to do with all the beer I make :D.
Na Zdravie

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Offline tntjr

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Re: Questions for a class at Indiana University
« Reply #11 on: November 09, 2009, 08:33:54 PM »
-How much home brewing do you do in an average year?
    5 - 10 times

-What is your current cost to make a batch, and how much does that make?
    $25 - $40 for 5 gallons

-If properly licensed, how would you go about distributing your beer?
    Breweries in Ohio can self distribute so that would be the initial route.

-If you could, would you be willing to take your hobby to the next level and try to start a business?
    I have had commercial interest in my beers but brewing as a job would never be as enjoyable as homebrewing and I would just have to find another hobby.

-If yes, what is holding you back?
    The costs and risks are too great. I think I'll stick to my day job.

Tom

Offline drf255

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Re: Questions for a class at Indiana University
« Reply #12 on: November 10, 2009, 03:44:42 AM »
I brew about 180 gallons a year.

The cost, depending on the style, runs between $8 and $40 for a completed 5 gallon batch.

If I were able to distribute my beer, I think it would be an honor to advertize by word of mouth only and still be a success.

As soon as something I love to do becomes something I have to do, the fun is gone.  The only reason I'd love to go commercial would be to have more time to brew.  If the brewery became a success, I bet I'd actually be brewing less then I am currently doing.

The only thing holding me back is the expense and very large risk of failure.  Many microbreweries have opened up where I live.  Many have closed as well.  I have had the opportunity to watch one start up across the street from my job.  I watched it rise and then crash and burn.  I have no idea how many millions were lost.  It's now a chinese buffet.  What a sin.

Offline bonjour

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Re: Questions for a class at Indiana University
« Reply #13 on: November 11, 2009, 10:34:26 AM »
-How much home brewing do you do in an average year?
-What is your current cost to make a batch, and how much does that make?
-If properly licensed, how would you go about distributing your beer?
-If you could, would you be willing to take your hobby to the next level and try to start a business?
-If yes, what is holding you back?
I brew 12-24 5 gallon batches per year
Most batches run $40-$50 because I tend to brew real big beers
I'm from Michigan,  I'm stuck with the three tier system
Yes, I would be willing
I can't afford the pay cut.

Fred
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Everything under 1.100 is a 'session' beer ;)

Offline SwashBuckling Drunk

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Re: Questions for a class at Indiana University
« Reply #14 on: November 11, 2009, 10:48:36 AM »
If you want to ace the class, have a Purdue student write your paper   ;)