Author Topic: From Hobby to Career...Why not pursue a dream?  (Read 7204 times)

Offline bbump22

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From Hobby to Career...Why not pursue a dream?
« on: April 13, 2010, 03:46:13 PM »
I've always wondered why more homebrewer's don't decide to pursue their dream of having their own micro or nano brewery.  With all the great beers that Homebrewer's can make, why haven't you decided to take that leap?  Do some brewers really like their day jobs that much?  Is it $$ related? Is it the Risk factor?  Families to Support?  The paperwork?  If you're willing to share, I am curious to hear your reason for not making that leap from Home Brewer to Production Brewer. 

Cheers and happy brewing!
mmmm....beer

Offline darvyle

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Re: From Hobby to Career...Why not pursue a dream?
« Reply #1 on: April 13, 2010, 05:00:38 PM »
bbump22,

For me its 2 fold. first i do enjoy my day job being a Quality Representative for Motorola is engaging. helping identify new processes and procedures to help make things easier, cheaper, faster is fun.   Secondly it is a hobby, a hobby to me is something i do in my free time.  I do have to admit i make free time to brew every month but it's all fun.  I'm brewing for me and no one else.  Their is a sort of anxiety around brewing something specifically for someone else.  In my mind that is what you do when you want to turn your hobby into a business, all of a sudden your not just brewing for the taste but brewing for what will sell.

I'll admit i've only been brewing for 2 years but i brew what i want, when I want, and enjoy every drop.  There is something empowering about that.

just to note i'm married (10 years in June), 3 kids, 2 car payents, 1 dog and a 1 house payment.  So you can understand how a lot of my time is devoted to other things and the security of a Day to Day helps make my life a little less stressful.

Offline weithman5

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Re: From Hobby to Career...Why not pursue a dream?
« Reply #2 on: April 13, 2010, 05:34:31 PM »
i am still toying with the idea but i am already on second career. from submarine officer to physician.  i am still paying a lot of student loans for myself and have two in college (go buckeyes) and one yet in high school.  maybe soon.....
Don AHA member

Offline hokerer

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Re: From Hobby to Career...Why not pursue a dream?
« Reply #3 on: April 13, 2010, 06:28:36 PM »
Once you make a hobby into a job, it seems it would lose most of it's appeal.
Joe

Offline denny

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Re: From Hobby to Career...Why not pursue a dream?
« Reply #4 on: April 13, 2010, 06:38:33 PM »
Once you make a hobby into a job, it seems it would lose most of it's appeal.

That's what I found.  I followed my dream and opened a recording studio 28 years ago.  It was great for a while, but eventually it became a job.  I'm in the process of closing it, and truthfully I'm looking forward to it being over.

That being said, I'd be a totally different person if I hadn't gone for it.  If you want to make a hobby into a job, go into it with your eyes open.  Be realistic about the bad things as well as the good things, and you'll enrich yourself with the time you spend doing it.  Then get the hell out when it stops being fun!   ;D
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Offline yugamrap

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Re: From Hobby to Career...Why not pursue a dream?
« Reply #5 on: April 13, 2010, 07:28:40 PM »
$$$$$.  Oh, and $$$$$ - and a little of what Hokerer and Denny said, too.
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Re: From Hobby to Career...Why not pursue a dream?
« Reply #6 on: April 13, 2010, 09:26:19 PM »
Sometimes doing your dream takes time or never happens. For me it is just taking a bit more time than I thought.

Offline euge

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Re: From Hobby to Career...Why not pursue a dream?
« Reply #7 on: April 13, 2010, 10:38:57 PM »
There's a saying: "make your hobby your job and never work another day in your life."

This could be viewed positively or negatively. ;) LOL

Brewing as business is more complicated and fraught with bankruptcy than it looks but I say go for it if you want. Denny's correct of course: know what you're involving yourself in. Apprentice yourself to a Master and learn the ropes intimately. One day you might be known nation-wide.

Myself? I'm paid very well to perform my duties & responsibilities. And I'm always watching the old dogs. Those that have been doing it for 25-35 years. Maybe in my retirement if I'm still interested I'll start by sweeping floors in a brewery. But not now.
The first principle is that you must not fool yourself, and you are the easiest person to fool. -Richard P. Feynman

Offline MDixon

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Re: From Hobby to Career...Why not pursue a dream?
« Reply #8 on: April 14, 2010, 05:00:51 AM »
While we love it as a hobby, I'll wager most of us hate the cleaning and sanitizing process and in a production facility that is the majority of the work. If you think bottling at home is a pain, you should try to handle a filler and a labeling machine while bottles are coming off at 50-200 per minute.

For me it boils down to the labor and cleaning involved and the $ reward. Even as a micro owner the $ wouldn't be there for years and at this point in my life I really don't desire a pay cut.
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Offline akr71

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Re: From Hobby to Career...Why not pursue a dream?
« Reply #9 on: April 14, 2010, 05:37:37 AM »
1. $$$ and lots of it (which I don't have)
2. mortgage and a young family (which I do have)
3. its my hobby - I can postpone brewday for family or weather or illness and its no big deal.  I don't worry about how fast I get the brew session done, I try to stay relaxed and enjoy the day.  When I start to rush, I make mistakes and get forgetful - RDWHAHB!
4. While I don't always love my day job, its a Monday to Friday job with a pension and good benefits - I'd have neither of those and less time with my family if I had my own business.

Maybe when I'm drawing that pension (17 years left), I'll join euge and sweep the floor at a local brew pub or micro, but I'd prefer to have a chunk of land outside of town and run a hopyard!
Andy

Amherst, NS - Canada

Offline bluesman

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Re: From Hobby to Career...Why not pursue a dream?
« Reply #10 on: April 14, 2010, 06:33:48 AM »
+1

If you do go for it...just be prepared in every sense of the word and remember that the odds of success are against it.
Ron Price

Offline bbump22

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Re: From Hobby to Career...Why not pursue a dream?
« Reply #11 on: April 14, 2010, 08:16:51 AM »
Great responses folks, thanks for your reasonings and point of views.  All great points.  I

 have recently done some research by meeting and talking with brewmasters from nanonbreweries and "macro/micro Breweries" (ie. Redhook).  It was interesting to see the difference.  It felt like the brewmaster at the nanobrewery was approaching it where he obviously wanted to make $ from brewing, but was still brewing beers he liked and wasn't tailoring his product to the tastes of the general public.  You could see he still had the passion for brewing and its been great following his success to date.  I am not going to go so far to say that he has "made it" though, as the potential for fall out is greater because his beers tend to be of a more specialty variety (using s***ake and other unique ingredients), and there is no real sessionable beer that I could see patrons at a bar buying more than 1 or 2 pints of.  But that might not be his intended Market either...

As for the Brewmaster at Redhook, it was obviously more about them making money than the brewing.  They brew great beers and like many of you pointed out, they brew beers to sell to the public and make lots of money.  He did not understand why people open Nanobreweries on a 1 bbl system and said that the smallest one should go is a 7 bbl.  Mainly because you want to be able to have enough supply on hand to support the handles you have at any bars.  If a keg gets kicked at one bar and takes you 2 weeks to get them another keg, most likely you would lose the client.  He made some great points and don't get me wrong the brewmaster still enjoyed his job and was about 5 years away from retirement after 21 years in the industry.  His reason for not pursuing a dream was that he didn't want to take on the risk of ownership and potential failure since someone else was willing to do it for him (the owner of the brewery he was working at). 

I guess if you can get past the risk of failure, find one or two investors, and have a family behind you that supports you, it might be worth it to pursue the dream.  For me, the first step to failure, is not trying.  I am a realist and I know I can't just quit my day job tomorrow and open up shop, but if I keep brewing beers I like and in the mean time find a knowledgeable person to put together a business plan, find some investors, and scope out a location that supports its local businesses, enjoys craft beers, and is low cost of living, then, for me, it could be possible....Granted, it will take a lot of luck and time, but I know I don't like my current career path enough to not take the risk.

My situation...Married with no kids, Wife is an architect, I work in the accounting department of a Real Estate Developer, both college grads (Virginia Tech '03), Renters, no car payment, just my wifes out-of-state student loan payments (which is enough for both of us)... our 2 boxers are the only ones dependent on us.

Cheers everyone and thanks for the feedback!
mmmm....beer

Offline majorvices

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Re: From Hobby to Career...Why not pursue a dream?
« Reply #12 on: April 14, 2010, 08:34:16 AM »
I am in the process of opening a nano brewery right now and I'll let you know if it was worth it or not in about a year. ;) I can tell you right now, it's been a big PITA thus far just dealing with all the bureaucratic bulls***. There are literally hundreds of hurdles to jump through and thousands of dollars that must be laid out before you can even brew your first pint of beer. For instance, before you can submit your TTB application you must provide a layout and before you provide a layout you must have a place to brew so you must lease or buy a facility before you can even submit your application, and the application can take 2-4+ months to be processed, so you will be paying rent while you are just sitting there waiting to brew. Also, if you make just one mistake on the application (eg: you don't use BLUE ink) you have to file again. And that doesn't even begin to include the local regulations (we have to have a trap at the street so the city can come by whenever they want to see what we are dumping in their sewer system.)

I suppose that if it would be easy damn near every one would do it.

That said, I am super excited about actually getting to brew for (what I hope will be) a living. I do agree with the 7bbl system necessity. You really need a 7bbl system before you can really make any money.
« Last Edit: April 14, 2010, 08:46:06 AM by majorvices »
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Offline denny

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Re: From Hobby to Career...Why not pursue a dream?
« Reply #13 on: April 14, 2010, 08:38:00 AM »
Thanks for the "from the trenches" report, Keith.  I wish you guys the best of luck.
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Offline bbump22

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Re: From Hobby to Career...Why not pursue a dream?
« Reply #14 on: April 14, 2010, 08:51:45 AM »
Keith,

Absolutely correct on the facility nuances...that was something the nanobrewery guy told me too - he had to pay rent for about a year before he could open the doors for business...He was lucky enough to have his parents nearby so he could live with them and only have one rent.  But you're right and I think that is where most of the upfront costs go towards.

Thanks for sharing that!
mmmm....beer