Author Topic: Four questions: fact finding on new micro brewery  (Read 2052 times)

Offline Laminarman

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Four questions: fact finding on new micro brewery
« on: September 07, 2017, 04:34:06 AM »
A serendipitous discussion last year led me and three others to seriously consider a joint business venture.  I'm the only one of the four who brews, but we all are passionate.  I am no commercial brewmaster for sure.  There is a landscape professional with 4,000 sq/feet of empty space available off an interstate, rent free at first to get going.  He also has a loading dock, forklifts and other equipment at that facility and a concrete floor with drainage.  A semi retired insurance company owner who owns almost 500 rental and commercial properties and is very successful in real estate.  A laborer in his fifties who's hobby is travelling to micro breweries and dreams of partial ownership, who is jack of all trades with plumbing, electrical and construction.  And me, a physician 13 years out from retirement who has a successful business and can craft a vision and make it happen.  So the four of us make these assumptions: it is not get rich quick, chances of failure are high, we need to make GREAT beer first and foremost, and we need to partner with many people in our community.  We have some resources, but will need to raise money too.  Our discussions have revealed that a nano is the way to start to see if our product sells.  We like the idea of a tasting room but really would like to produce and sell beer without a restaurant and food, as the location is not quite ideal for that and doing food may increase the chance for failure.  We are looking at one full year of due diligence ahead of us and then we'll consider moving forward.  The questions are this: Is it possible to hire a brew master on a consultation basis (i.e. not full time at first)?  Would you, right off the bat, spend and budget significant resources on marketing before the product is rolled out (we disagree slightly as one of us says not to advertise at all until we have a product while three say start as soon as licensing is complete and brewing is imminent).  How important is it enter "beer competitions" and win?  I see this a lot with NY state wineries and still it means nothing to me, more to others. I let my palate judge this.  Finally, anything I'm missing?  We are not naive young guys who think this is our ticket to riches, and luckily none of us has to make money off this to live.  We have well paying jobs but surely will have challenges if we don't have the staff to run day to day operations while we work.  If there is one common thread is that each one of us is not passionate about what we do anymore and we want to make people smile with a creative product.  As I told the guys, "we should turn over this stone and if there are worms we move on, if there's a golden salamander we should pick it up and nurture it." 

Offline Laminarman

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Re: Four questions: fact finding on new micro brewery
« Reply #1 on: September 07, 2017, 04:47:48 AM »
Sorry, more info. NY state, and thinking of a micro brewery license, not farm brewery.

Offline Visor

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Re: Four questions: fact finding on new micro brewery
« Reply #2 on: September 07, 2017, 07:57:40 AM »
   If you all have full time jobs, and only want a brewer on a part time basis [if I read you correctly], who will do all the work of operating the brewery, and distributing the product, and marketing, etc.?
   I hope you get some useful responses, I've spent a good bit of time pondering this myself.
I spent most of my money on beer, tools and guns, the rest I foolishly squandered on stupid stuff!

Offline Laminarman

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Re: Four questions: fact finding on new micro brewery
« Reply #3 on: September 07, 2017, 08:04:20 AM »
   If you all have full time jobs, and only want a brewer on a part time basis [if I read you correctly], who will do all the work of operating the brewery, and distributing the product, and marketing, etc.?
   I hope you get some useful responses, I've spent a good bit of time pondering this myself.

This is all part of our due diligence.  We may very well find a year from now that this is not going to work.   We know that early stage it's a lot different than if we become successful and need people full time.  So we'll be relying on each of us to a degree, along with family and friends and perhaps investors who want to get involved.  Can't quite answer that question because we're working to answer it as we go along.  Raising money, labor and making great beer are our biggest challenges, not necessarily in that order.  However, it was easy I wouldn't want to do it anyways. 

Offline kramerog

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Re: Four questions: fact finding on new micro brewery
« Reply #4 on: September 07, 2017, 10:48:10 AM »
Q. Is it possible to hire a brew master on a consultation basis (i.e. not full time at first)? 
A. Yes particularly if it is to help design the brewery.  Not sure about occasional brewing.

Q. Would you, right off the bat, spend and budget significant resources on marketing before the product is rolled out (we disagree slightly as one of us says not to advertise at all until we have a product while three say start as soon as licensing is complete and brewing is imminent). 
A.  Yes, where the resources are mostly free labor.

Q.  How important is it enter "beer competitions" and win?
A. I have seen homebrewers use homebrew competitions to validate their recipes.  It is not particularly important for commercial breweries to enter competitions in that I see many breweries doing well who haven't won any competitions as far as I can see.

Offline Laminarman

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Re: Four questions: fact finding on new micro brewery
« Reply #5 on: September 07, 2017, 04:15:20 PM »
Thanks Kramerog, very helpful answers.  I do appreciate it.  Here are the negatives: we've never run a brewery and were I to make the beer we'd be out of business quick.  Here are the positives: three out of four of us are very successful businessmen who have had great successes and our share of failures.  I think people who have failed are more likely to eventually succeed if they frame it correctly: ie learn what you did wrong and don't be afraid.  We're not afraid. But we've committed one year for some serious leg work to see if we can pull this off.