Author Topic: So you want to be a brewer  (Read 14699 times)

Offline majorvices

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Re: So you want to be a brewer
« Reply #30 on: July 15, 2013, 09:48:45 AM »

As a general rule I try to dissuade people from getting into the industry. Especially people who say "I'm going to open a brewery!" because they think they will make lots of money. I know a lot of brewery owners and none of them are rich and all of them made more money before they quit their day job. I make less money now than my first job out of college in 1991, and I work more hours!

I have a 23 year old kid working for me now who wants to open a brewery someday. He wanted to come by to just watch for a day and by the end of the day he was working and hired. I explained to him before the first day that it wasn't probably what he thought it was going to be and that it was hard as hell work. But I really thinks he loves the job, so there are some people out there that are just meant to be brewers. I like to think I one of them, too. :)

Agreed.

Business is tough...and risky. I established a home inspection business that did well. I've recently dissolved that business to start a brewery. Starting a business is no easy endeavor. It takes guts, and passion, not to mention lots of hard work. For me, it really boils down to one thing, and that is self satisfaction. Working for someone else is a lot less work (in many cases), but building a business of your own is much more gratifying in the end. It's definitely a passion, a desire and a LABOR of love.

You will succeed because you are as hard headed and ugly as me! ;) Plus you are a good brewer. Or so I've been told.
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Offline denny

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Re: So you want to be a brewer
« Reply #31 on: July 15, 2013, 12:48:33 PM »
At a wedding reception I talked to a guy who is going pro. He has been brewing dice Christmas, on a Mr. Beer system. He has made four batches, all awesome. 8)

Jeff, send him the link to the article before he hurts himself!
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Offline Three

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Re: So you want to be a brewer
« Reply #32 on: July 15, 2013, 01:17:03 PM »
If I was an owner of or an investor in the brewery that this author is employed I would let him go.  If it's his brewery he will fail.  There are plenty of people that have this as a passion and have no problem putting in whatever it takes.  I know the owner(s) of breweries here in Indy that were passionate and I mean PASSIONATE about their homebrew(ing).  Best damn homebrew I ever had.  Anyway, they followed that passion and have hugely successful brewing businesses.  When I run into them you know what?  They still have that same passion and love for what they are doing. And they are working their asses off.......
Anyone who sings a tune so sweet is passin by........

Offline majorvices

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Re: So you want to be a brewer
« Reply #33 on: July 15, 2013, 01:33:44 PM »
If I was an owner of or an investor in the brewery that this author is employed I would let him go.  If it's his brewery he will fail.  There are plenty of people that have this as a passion and have no problem putting in whatever it takes.  I know the owner(s) of breweries here in Indy that were passionate and I mean PASSIONATE about their homebrew(ing).  Best damn homebrew I ever had.  Anyway, they followed that passion and have hugely successful brewing businesses.  When I run into them you know what?  They still have that same passion and love for what they are doing. And they are working their asses off.......

Those people aren't the ones the author is talking about though. It's the guy who never even set foot in a brewery or who has 4 Mr. Beer kits (as mentioned above) under his belt and has decided to open a brewery or apply to Stone.

And really glad you aren't my boss. You're pretty quick to fire someone. Just sayin'. ;)
Keith Y.
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Offline Three

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Re: So you want to be a brewer
« Reply #34 on: July 15, 2013, 01:52:29 PM »
Those people aren't the ones the author is talking about though. It's the guy who never even set foot in a brewery or who has 4 Mr. Beer kits (as mentioned above) under his belt and has decided to open a brewery or apply to Stone.

And really glad you aren't my boss. You're pretty quick to fire someone. Just sayin'. ;)

It's his attitude that gets me. It can't be contained to just "I'm only this way at the end of a long shift".  That's when the real whoever you are shows itself. 

From what I have picked up in this thread.  "You're hired"!  When I open up my new brewery.  After I finish up this 6 gallon batch of......
Anyone who sings a tune so sweet is passin by........

Offline tonyp

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Re: So you want to be a brewer
« Reply #35 on: July 15, 2013, 01:54:00 PM »
I hate reading articles like this when there are several successful breweries near me in NJ that started with nothing. Cape May Brewing started with a 12-gal homebrew system and they are now on their 3rd or 4th expansion and just installed a 15-bbl brew house and a brand new tap room, all in less than 2 yrs.

There are several other similar stories and hearing about underdogs making it is much more satisfying than listening to some jaded unfulfilled disgruntled employee with an obvious chip on his shoulder complain about people asking him questions about beer and brewing.

It can be done, and if i had the extra disposable cash I would try it myself. So what if you fail, trying and failing is a hell of a lot better than never trying at all because you're scared or you were turned off by an angry pessimist.

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Offline duboman

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Re: So you want to be a brewer
« Reply #36 on: July 15, 2013, 03:38:53 PM »
I think they article is a pretty good reality check although jaded as mentioned.

I've been seriously considering this for about a year and also have two good brewing friends that are both about a month away from their grand openings

There is not a day that goes by where reputable drinking friends and strangers are telling me my beer is great. I even had discussion with a few venture capitalists that would bankroll the project. I've handed out 100's of bottles of beer to be enjoyed by I don't even know how many friends and strangers and get the same comments

The real issue is the reality of it all. I love brewing beer! In the end though, right now, I have one kid off to college in a year, another entering highschool and another coming into middle school. I can't quit my on my current business And there are not enough hours in the day to successfully run 2 businesses, one being a start up brewery/taproom/pub.

One day perhaps it will all come together but right now I will love my passionate hobby, enjoy the responses I get and help out my friends in their new ventures as time allows and live vicariously through them:)

Peace....Love......Beer......

The Commune Brewing Company-Perfecting the craft of beer since 2010

Offline Thirsty_Monk

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Re: So you want to be a brewer
« Reply #37 on: July 15, 2013, 06:13:29 PM »
The days I am brewing are the days I am happiest. All the CIP, transferring, carbonating, keg-filling, sample-glass washing, scheduling, opening/closing, growler filling, etc. are all the things that wear me down.

Nothing compares to the feeling of eyeing that hydrometer and making a note of the starting gravity before I pitch some yeast. Serious anticipation, pride, and a feeling of a job well done. Then coming in 8 hours later to a serious gurgle in the air-lock bucket is just icing on the cake.

I'm with you. I love brewing. Don't care for much of the other stuff. Luckily I have employees that now clean all kegs (I haven't cleaned a keg in months) and also employees that take care of all tasting room duties. Still wash dishes from time to time, but only to "lead by example", as they say. Wish I had the hassle of filling growlers.
Is that what I need to do now?
Employees?
My original Business Plan was to work 3 days a week.
Boy I was wrong.
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Offline klickitat jim

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Re: So you want to be a brewer
« Reply #38 on: July 15, 2013, 06:25:04 PM »
I'm going pro as soon as I figure a way to clear $50k a year on three 5 gallon batches a week. That's only about $10 a pint. Would need low overhead though. Hmmm, maybe a roadside card table and a picnic tap.

Offline jeffy

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Re: So you want to be a brewer
« Reply #39 on: July 15, 2013, 06:30:17 PM »
I'm going pro as soon as I figure a way to clear $50k a year on three 5 gallon batches a week. That's only about $10 a pint. Would need low overhead though. Hmmm, maybe a roadside card table and a picnic tap.

Mom!  Mom! There's a beer stand!  Can I have $10?
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Offline narvin

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Re: So you want to be a brewer
« Reply #40 on: July 15, 2013, 06:33:41 PM »
I'm going pro as soon as I figure a way to clear $50k a year on three 5 gallon batches a week. That's only about $10 a pint. Would need low overhead though. Hmmm, maybe a roadside card table and a picnic tap.

Just make a 20 bbl batch once a year and sell 750ml bottles from your tasting room for $20 a pop.  Profit!!!
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Offline majorvices

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Re: So you want to be a brewer
« Reply #41 on: July 15, 2013, 06:48:30 PM »
The days I am brewing are the days I am happiest. All the CIP, transferring, carbonating, keg-filling, sample-glass washing, scheduling, opening/closing, growler filling, etc. are all the things that wear me down.

Nothing compares to the feeling of eyeing that hydrometer and making a note of the starting gravity before I pitch some yeast. Serious anticipation, pride, and a feeling of a job well done. Then coming in 8 hours later to a serious gurgle in the air-lock bucket is just icing on the cake.

I'm with you. I love brewing. Don't care for much of the other stuff. Luckily I have employees that now clean all kegs (I haven't cleaned a keg in months) and also employees that take care of all tasting room duties. Still wash dishes from time to time, but only to "lead by example", as they say. Wish I had the hassle of filling growlers.
Is that what I need to do now?
Employees?
My original Business Plan was to work 3 days a week.
Boy I was wrong.

Employees are great. You pay yourself a lot less. But I frankly don't want to do all this crap! ;)
Keith Y.
Self appointed "All Grain" section pruner

Offline klickitat jim

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Re: So you want to be a brewer
« Reply #42 on: July 15, 2013, 06:55:38 PM »
I'm going pro as soon as I figure a way to clear $50k a year on three 5 gallon batches a week. That's only about $10 a pint. Would need low overhead though. Hmmm, maybe a roadside card table and a picnic tap.

Just make a 20 bbl batch once a year and sell 750ml bottles from your tasting room for $20 a pop.  Profit!!!

I'll be looking for a 20 bbl brewery laying around with a FREE sign on it.

Offline hopfenundmalz

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Re: So you want to be a brewer
« Reply #43 on: July 15, 2013, 07:47:43 PM »
At a wedding reception I talked to a guy who is going pro. He has been brewing dice Christmas, on a Mr. Beer system. He has made four batches, all awesome. 8)

Jeff, send him the link to the article before he hurts himself!
No idea how to contact him. He was not listening to me.
Jeff Rankert
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Home-brewing, not just a hobby, it is a lifestyle!

Offline jamminbrew

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Re: So you want to be a brewer
« Reply #44 on: July 15, 2013, 08:51:18 PM »
I'm coming in here behind the ball, but here is my take on it:
I've been homebrewing for 3 years, and have been rather successful at it. Numerous gold medals, a silver, and more HMs than I could count. I've had the "Your beer is great! When do you open your brewery?" question many times. So I contacted a few wealthy friends about the idea, and one of them was very enthusiastic about it. Well, until it came time to actually put down some money for it, then he was strangely absent. Needless to say, I was pretty discouraged. I had spent a LOT of time, researching, meeting with other brewers, talking to city officials, etc...
So I decided to stick with just homebrewing.
But I never gave up my belief in, and desire for, becoming a pro brewer. 
I was lucky enough to meet with a local pro brewer through my club, and he mentioned that they needed an assistant. Who do you think was jumping up and down, shouting "Me! Me! Me!"? He then contacted me, after talking to several of the officers of the club, and offered me the job. It was a tough decision, to step away from a decent paying job, and start at the bottom in a new profession. But I did it, and have been the happiest I've ever been.
It is a lot of time spent cleaning. And cleaning. And cleaning. And cleaning... You get the point. It is many many hours in a hot and humid environment. Even with boots on, my feet are constantly wet. Grain get very freaking heavy, after you've lifted 10,000 lbs worth to sort and stack in the grain room. It is very dusty and dirty, after milling a batch. Then cleaning the mash tun, when 1000 lbs of grain becomes almost 2000 lbs of wet, hot grain.
But you know what? Best decision of my life. I couldn't be happier, working a hard, labor intensive job for a smaller paycheck.  So you want to be a brewer? Better know what you really want. If you want all this, then good luck. A lot of people think they can handle this, but don't know what they are getting into. The head brewer where I work told me they have fired or let go of many assistants who thought it was all fun and drinking beer.
If you want to open your own brewery, better have a lot of capital to back you up. And be prepared to work harder than you ever have. If you truly love it, it won't be work.
I love my job, and go home more tired and sore, but ultimately more satisfied, than I ever have.
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