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!