I appreciate this input. Real life experience that I can try and weigh against my own hopes or expectations.
I understand where you are coming from Denny but some people do want to and enjoy working in or for a brewery. I loved running my brewery until I fell out with my partners. The only reason I am not involved with the brewery I founded is because I chose the wrong people to get into business with and allowed a power structure to form that didn't benefit me. Now I find myself back working in a brewery because I do enjoy it.
So while it is not for everyone who has a brewing hobby to open a brewery it certainly is for some. If the cards play out right I may be opening another one again in the next couple of years. But as Thirsty Monk said, it is a young man's game and it is a lot of work so itr will have to happen soon or not happen at all.
He wanted examples , I gave him examples. I'm not alone, and neither are you.
But again, this is intended to be a retirement gig for someone who is already uncomfortably close to limits of homebrewing and who wants to open up my space for people who enjoy drinking craft beer and telling stories on the weekends.
I look at your experience, and say to myself "don't make it more than you want to", and I think I can still get great pleasure from my hobby, and make a few thousand bucks for my time.
50 bbls or so a year isn't really pouring myself into a career.
It looks like you have your plan.
I can tell you the most rewarding part of owning a brewery is to sell your beer directly to your customers. Never wanted to do that but this is what it turn out to be.
From licensing point of view. It you have structure that is separate from your main dwelling and your zoning approves it and your state allows you to do that, that is major expense (that you do not have to occurre) that will allow you to do it as a semi-hobby.
I have one regret. That I did not open my brewery 10 years before I opened. It is a great thing then what you do (and you like it) allows you to make living.
So go ahead and do it. Have fun. But you still have to meet the expectations that you set up for your customers. Bottom
Line is you have to make a beer what customers want to buy.
I love rye beers, I love AltBiers, I love Dunkel Weisen but I do not make them because no one wants to buy them. I do not care for IPAs but I make it because this is that people want to drink. And I drew a line. I do not make NEIPAs and any smoothly or sour fruity alcoholic beverages. And for sure I will not put a cream cheese in my beer.