The road to owning and operating your very own brewery is long and arduous. It’s full of pitfalls, roadblocks, and any number of other obstacles that can delay or deter your progress. Our’s looks about like this on most days.
Your best weapon in this uphill battle (aside from boatloads of cash) is knowledge. We’re here today to help you a little along the way.
1. Know what paperwork is necessary for becoming legal.
Of course you’ll need your Brewer’s Permit, but there are a multitude of necessary items that you must have under your belt before acquiring it. You’ll need a business license, a location, and a brewer’s bond just to get started. You’ll have to undergo background checks on all potential owners, and you’ll have to give documentation for where you are receiving your funding. Also, you’ll need to have COLA’s approved and may need to submit formulas for approval from the TTB. One more thing, almost everything you do will need to be approved at the Federal, State, and Local level.
2. Know your lead times.
Everything in the aforementioned paragraph takes time. Time to submit, time to approve, time to file, and time to finalize. EVERYTHING in this process takes a great deal of time, and you will soon learn that it is always time you don’t have. Aside from regulatory timelines, you’ll also need to factor in lead times for acquiring and implementing equipment (3-12 months avg.), times for setting up a proper launch (2-4 month avg.), and time for the build out on your location (1 month to lifetime of brewery).
3. Know your plan.
Given the amount of time that goes into everything else in this process, finalizing your plan may be the most important step. This will determine if you plan to start by contract brewing or having a brick and mortar production facility. It will determine if you plan to launch in draft, bottles, cans, or a combination of the 3. It will encompass your financial feasibility for every major milestone and plot your course from start to finish. The more solid and vetted a plan you have, the better chance you have to succeed. Make sure to take the time to build as bulletproof a plan as possible as this will save a great deal of time and money as you progress. However, a good plan is both structured and flexible, so plan to make allowances for every imaginable contingency.
Getting started in any new business takes a lot of hard work; all worthwhile endeavors do. However, this is not something to be apprehensive about. It is not something to fear. It is the essence of commerce. It is worthwhile, and, hopefully, these tips will help get you on your way. As always, we’ll be happy to answer any questions we can.
P.S. We won’t be at the Sandy Springs beerfest this weekend, but we will be attending the High Gravity Hip Hop Cinco celebration and the Duluth beerfest. Hope to see you all there!