Author Topic: out of curiosity...  (Read 2513 times)

Offline astrivian

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out of curiosity...
« on: August 08, 2010, 05:25:07 PM »
Let's say that i am interested in selling one of my beers. What, legally, do i have to do to enable that?
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Offline jalynn2

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Re: out of curiosity...
« Reply #1 on: August 08, 2010, 06:20:28 PM »
If you are planning on doing it regularly and publicly, you will need a brewer's license. If it's a one-time private transaction, well, I don't think it's ever legal to sell homebrew, but...

Offline tygo

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Re: out of curiosity...
« Reply #2 on: August 08, 2010, 07:38:36 PM »
There's nothing that you can realistically do, on a homebrew level, to make it legal to sell your beer.
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Offline wingnut

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Re: out of curiosity...
« Reply #3 on: August 08, 2010, 09:50:16 PM »
The Brewing Network had an episode that covered "nano" brewing that may be of interest to you.  However, you will need to research your local state regulations as a start.  Each state is different, so advice from someone in one state may vary slightly from the next.

Good luck!
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Offline majorvices

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Re: out of curiosity...
« Reply #4 on: August 09, 2010, 05:48:19 AM »
Let's say that i am interested in selling one of my beers. What, legally, do i have to do to enable that?

I am in the process of opening a brewery and let me just say the the federal TTB lic. is only one hurdle you are going to have to jump. There is also local regulations that are just simply going to shock you. Be prepared to spend at least $80,000 just to get off the ground, unless you are planning on going REALLY small and, in that case, be prepared to constantly lose money while supplying a small bar with beer.

To give you an idea we are starting with basically a 3 bbl system (or, to be more correct, a brew system that is capable of brewing 1.5 bbls that we back to back batch into 3bbl fermenters.) And we are looking to be able to supply only 2 or 3 bars until our big system is finally ready. On the books, unless you start off with around a 6 or 7 bbl brewery you are going to be losing money every month. And you really need about a 15 bbl system to really float the boat.

There are mounds and mounds of paper work. There are local laws that may cause you to have to go through a distributor. There are inspections, limits, regulations, and fees. Lots of fees.

We have been hit by many surprises by local officials. One of the biggest surprises was the $5,000 in food grade lights we had to have to pass inspection. Or the explosion proof grain room including fan and hundreds of dollars in outles and light switches that would not ignite a spark (stupid, I know.) Or the glass interceptor we had to install even though we are not planning on bottling - also $5,000. There's also $1000s of dollars of fees and lic you have to pay annually. There's lots more, I just don't have time to give you all the info.

If you are planning on just selling a few beers out your door be warned, the TTB does not think this is fine, funny or cute, nor does your local Alcoholic Beverage Control Board. They want their revenue. If they find out, they will arrest you!
« Last Edit: August 09, 2010, 05:56:29 AM by majorvices »
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Offline tubercle

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Re: out of curiosity...
« Reply #5 on: August 09, 2010, 06:11:19 AM »
Let's say that i am interested in selling one of my beers. What, legally, do i have to do to enable that?

 One beer, legally. Probably about $25,000.

 One beer illegally, counting fines, lawyer and court fees. Probably about $25,000.

 Works out the same either way.
 
 Unless it is some huge grain bill barley wine, you probably have less than $0.50 in it, maybe $1.50 total counting the bottle.

 Just give it away.

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Offline babalu87

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Re: out of curiosity...
« Reply #6 on: August 09, 2010, 06:54:02 AM »
Wow Keith, sounds like Alabama is pretty harsh with their regs?

There is a guy on HBT who has a nano-brewery in a garage behind his house and it doesnt sound like he had to jump through half the hurdles you have had to.

Good for you on staying the course
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Offline majorvices

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Re: out of curiosity...
« Reply #7 on: August 09, 2010, 07:03:30 AM »
Wow Keith, sounds like Alabama is pretty harsh with their regs?

There is a guy on HBT who has a nano-brewery in a garage behind his house and it doesnt sound like he had to jump through half the hurdles you have had to.

Good for you on staying the course

You have no idea how many regs and hurdles you have to jump through in Alabama - I haven't even scratched the surface. I will say that I have a hard time believing the TTB would ever allow anyone to sell beer from their house. Its possible that they could shut him down if they decided to actually visit for an inspection. Not to mention having a business in a residential area. Not a lot of places are going to go for that. It may be that he has a unique location and situation. I think it is safe to assume that 99% of homebrewers would not be able to do this at their homes.

I also just noticed the OP is only interested in selling ONE beer. FTR, even if you do decide you want to sell one or two beers there is a couple thousand dollars in fees you have to pay before you are licensed to sell beer, at the very minimum.
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Offline astrivian

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Re: out of curiosity...
« Reply #8 on: August 09, 2010, 07:26:11 PM »
oh my. This is sort of what i expected. Yea, i will stick to giving it away to friends.

Thanks all!
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Offline euge

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Re: out of curiosity...
« Reply #9 on: August 09, 2010, 10:27:45 PM »
Is it a couple thousand to make and sell or just sell, like a bar, restaurant or corner store?

Here in Texas, not known for any sort of a liberal view on alcohol and only just a few years back: a beer and wine license to serve and sell was a measly $150, while the liquor license was 10K each year for three years. I'm sure brewing and selling, distributing and or serving costs a great deal more. Hoops appear. Endless forms are filled out, and checks written. Govt entities wet their beaks...

As far as making a profit, I don't think I'm saving much money homebrewing when everything is factored in. In a business it has to be worse, and labor being a big factor. One can't do everything for free by themselves for very long and good people cost money.

But astrivan's probably chewing over what we all have/will at some point when we start enjoying the fruit of our labors. Oh that wasn't so hard and everyone loves it! Why not sell it? The Law sez so. That's why.




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Offline babalu87

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Re: out of curiosity...
« Reply #10 on: August 10, 2010, 05:17:51 AM »
oh my. This is sort of what i expected. Yea, i will stick to giving it away to friends.

Thanks all!

Nothing to say your friends can kick in for a sack of grain, pound of hops etc.

Oh, they should be returning those bottles rinsed out.
Jeff

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Offline majorvices

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Re: out of curiosity...
« Reply #11 on: August 10, 2010, 05:20:04 AM »
Euge - if you are just going to sell you still have to a have a liq. lic. and that costs a grand or so. But you have to have paperwork where that beer came from. The one thing you don;t want to do is do something tricky aand get caught by the TTB. In addition to a huge fine you could possibly go to jail.
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Offline hopaddicted

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Re: out of curiosity...
« Reply #12 on: August 10, 2010, 07:24:37 AM »
The hassle free joy of barter!

I find that if you give enough away (I can't keep up with my brewing schedule), people will go out of there way to help you get what you need. In the past year alone, I have had a kegging system, four fridges, books, bottles, carriers, and welding services donated. Though I have never received a penny for my brew, I have saved a ton without any of the worries!
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Offline beerocd

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Re: out of curiosity...
« Reply #13 on: August 10, 2010, 08:14:04 AM »
Barter is taxable. Just give your friends some great beer out of the kindness of your heart and possibly they will return the favor sometime when they are in a position to do so. Then it is not taxable, because there was no exchange of goods or money.
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Offline astrivian

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Re: out of curiosity...
« Reply #14 on: August 11, 2010, 03:44:44 PM »
oh my. This is sort of what i expected. Yea, i will stick to giving it away to friends.

Thanks all!

Nothing to say your friends can kick in for a sack of grain, pound of hops etc.

Oh, they should be returning those bottles rinsed out.

Oh for sure, particularly the 22s. The 12s i am not so worried about. I buy enough beer to keep myself supplied with 12 oz bottles. Actually i have quite a surplus in the garage :)

Someone mentioned to me one method is to get friendly with a local bar/brewery. They might buy the recipe and brew/sell it and give me a cut of the profits. Any word on that? I have a few places in mind that MAY be interested (it is still a long shot). I heard that some places will brew it themselves, using your recipe, and let you "supervise" the brewing. That way YOU are not brewing, they are. I think the way to get attention on this level would be to enter the beer into some competitions. If i start winning, maybe people will take me seriously. Still though, i am a serious noob at this. I just got lucky with one recipe.
Never trust a skinny chef and never trust a sober brewer.