Author Topic: First Steps  (Read 798 times)

Offline fightdman

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First Steps
« on: August 10, 2011, 05:55:50 AM »
Ok, so I've been thinking about this for a long time.  If your business plan is to have a bricks and mortar brewery (not doing contract brewing or alternating proprietorship arrangement), what's the next step (other than securing financing)?  Does one need to locate and establish a physical location so you can start the paperwork process?
GAVDIVM MIHI VAE TIBI

Offline majorvices

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Re: First Steps
« Reply #1 on: August 10, 2011, 06:35:53 AM »
You can use just about any address to start the paperwork. You will have to have an actual, physical location to be approved by TBB and local ABC, and of course the local authorities such as building and health.
Keith Y.
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Offline Thirsty_Monk

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Re: First Steps
« Reply #2 on: August 10, 2011, 07:36:31 PM »
Here is a good info for federal licensing:
http://www.ttb.gov/applications/brewery_brewpub_packet.shtml

We rented our brewery space before we filed any paperwork. You do not want to change the address in the middle of your licensing approval. Every state has a different requirements. so you have to check who is doing brewery licensing in your state. What state you are in?

1) declare a business
2) check with city/county what they need from you (very important).
3) rent the space
4) file for federal Brewers Notice (get bond)
5) file for label approval
6) file for state Brewers license.
7) If you are brewpub health department license if you are production brewery agg department food manufacturer license.

Opening a brewery is not just brewing. You have to be accountant, salesperson and anything in between.
Brewing beer is easy.
Selling beer is hard.

Good Luck.
Na Zdravie

On Tap At The TapRoom:
Bohemian Pilsner
Bohemian Dark Lager
Smoked Bock
MaiBock
American Brown Ale
Marzen
Root beer

Offline fightdman

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Re: First Steps
« Reply #3 on: August 11, 2011, 06:26:45 AM »
2) check with city/county what they need from you (very important).
I'm in NC, so I know things will be a little different than WI, but what kind of things did the city/county need from you with regard to zoning and building requirements?  Did you have to get a zoning variance?  Did they require sprinkler coverage in the building?  What about your water and sewer requirements?  Parking?  ADA compliance?

7) If you are brewpub health department license if you are production brewery agg department food manufacturer license.

You know, if it weren't for government, starting a brewery wouldn't be as hard. ;)  My goal is to start as a production brewery.  Running a restaurant adds another massive level of complexity that I would rather not deal with.  Who did the inspection of the equipment?  Was it the building dept, health/ag dept or both?

Opening a brewery is not just brewing. You have to be accountant, salesperson and anything in between.
Brewing beer is easy.
Selling beer is hard.

I relish the challenge.

Good Luck.

Thanks.  I'm sure to need all the luck I can make.
GAVDIVM MIHI VAE TIBI

Offline majorvices

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Re: First Steps
« Reply #4 on: August 11, 2011, 06:48:55 AM »
One thing I would recommend is hiring an architect to guide you through all the loop holes and pit falls of your local regulations. Nothing could be worse than pouring your wet area and making major constructional changes to your facility to only then find out that you are not approved by building inspector. That said, depending on where you live your regulations may be lax. Around here the city can be pretty strict but the county is very lenient.
Keith Y.
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Offline fightdman

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Re: First Steps
« Reply #5 on: August 12, 2011, 05:53:31 AM »
That said, I'm fortunate to live close to the county line, so I have more than 1 (actually 5) counties to choose from that are within easy driving distance.  I'm sure ease of working with local govenrment will be a factor in deciding location.
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Offline Thirsty_Monk

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Re: First Steps
« Reply #6 on: August 12, 2011, 10:26:40 AM »
Fightman. I will answer your questions when I have a little bit of time.
Filtering today :)
Na Zdravie

On Tap At The TapRoom:
Bohemian Pilsner
Bohemian Dark Lager
Smoked Bock
MaiBock
American Brown Ale
Marzen
Root beer

Offline fightdman

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Re: First Steps
« Reply #7 on: August 17, 2011, 05:57:14 AM »
Fightman. I will answer your questions when I have a little bit of time.
Filtering today :)

I imagine that finding a bit of time can be a challenge when you are working for yourself.  Sounds like you need some volunteers working at the brewery.  If I was closer, I'd come over to help.
GAVDIVM MIHI VAE TIBI

Offline majorvices

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Re: First Steps
« Reply #8 on: August 17, 2011, 07:19:16 AM »
2) check with city/county what they need from you (very important).
I'm in NC, so I know things will be a little different than WI, but what kind of things did the city/county need from you with regard to zoning and building requirements?  Did you have to get a zoning variance?  Did they require sprinkler coverage in the building?  What about your water and sewer requirements?  Parking?  ADA compliance?

7) If you are brewpub health department license if you are production brewery agg department food manufacturer license.

You know, if it weren't for government, starting a brewery wouldn't be as hard. ;)  My goal is to start as a production brewery.  Running a restaurant adds another massive level of complexity that I would rather not deal with.  Who did the inspection of the equipment?  Was it the building dept, health/ag dept or both?

Opening a brewery is not just brewing. You have to be accountant, salesperson and anything in between.
Brewing beer is easy.
Selling beer is hard.

I relish the challenge.

Good Luck.

Thanks.  I'm sure to need all the luck I can make.

I can answer some of these questions:

Re zoning. Would have been a lot cheaper in county. ADA compliance was not an issue once we explained thing (they tried to make it one). Sewer required an expensive interceptor to keep glass.yeast/grain out of city sewer. Parking wasn't an issue for us.

Re: Inspectors. I was really worried about getting my equipment inspected since it was all home spun/frankenstein/rigged together. But it was no issue at all. First of all, these people know nothing about brewing. So that's not a worry. They will tell you that you can not have a mash paddle or any utensils unless you have a 3 bay cleaning/sanitizing sink (one large enogh for a mash paddle will be quite expensive.) They also made us hang very expensive, non explosive, food grade lights.

The building inspector made us build a grain room with explosive proof walls, explosive proof lights/outlets. That was also expensive. they also made us remove a large interior part of the building.

Hope that helps.
Keith Y.
Self appointed "All Grain" section pruner

Offline Thirsty_Monk

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Re: First Steps
« Reply #9 on: August 17, 2011, 08:32:04 AM »
Yes it is a hassle to work for yourself.

First before you put any money into it go to the city hall and ask them what kind of licensing they want from you.
Then stop in the zoning department and ask them how you need to be zoned. Do not skimp on this one. Tell then what exactly you want to do there (brewing, Tap room, retail). We have to be zoned industrial. I did not have to have building inspector so ask them for it too.

Because I am a production brewery I am govern by state Agg department. If I serve food I would be govern by local health department. (I am a wholesale food manufacturer). So stop at state agg department building and get all their regulations you have to comply with. This will be how your brewery should be furnished, lighting, metal detectors (in food)...

Once you have all the info go to look for the rental space. You have to have floor drain and water (at least 3/4" pipe) enough electricity and gas. when you find the space call your agg department inspector if he can look at the space and what you need to do to bring it up to the code. Also if you need to have a local building inspector do the same. Go to the city and let them know that you want to rent that space if it is O.K. with them. Do not miss visiting zoning department.

Do this before you spend a dollar.
Get familiar with Federal Brewer's Notice packet.

If everything looks good with appropriate parties rent a space.
This is a catch 22.
You want to declare your business for your rental space but you have to sigh a lease as a business.
Work it out with your landlord.
Get insurance for your business.

Now the spending will began.
File your local licenses.
When you have it file your federal Brewers Notice and get a bond.
Work on the getting equipment.
Once you have a Brewers Notice file for label approval.

Once your label is approved file for state brewers licence (this is different then agg department license).
When your equipment is assembled get inspected by agg department inspector (for this you do not have to wait for federal or state license).

Start brewing.

Most state/local government employees do not know what to do with you. There is not that many breweries around. Be patient and friendly. Remember Local government can stop you from opening a brewery just because you are too close to the school or church.

Finally contact you water department and ask them what they want from you. When you are at it ask them for water analysis.

I am sure I forgot something.
It took me full year from the idea to first brew.
It took me 1/2 a year of renting space without brewing.

Hess brewing blog is a good source of info but your conditions and regulations might very because you are in different state then me or them.

Good luck
« Last Edit: August 17, 2011, 08:36:10 AM by Thirsty_Monk »
Na Zdravie

On Tap At The TapRoom:
Bohemian Pilsner
Bohemian Dark Lager
Smoked Bock
MaiBock
American Brown Ale
Marzen
Root beer