How To Start Your Own Brewery

pouring a beer from a tap

The basic brewery has developed into a highly successful commercial industry, with craft breweries continuing to increase in popularity and every year attracting more visitors and sales.

With the craft beer world thriving and increasing in popularity, there is a great opportunity to start a craft beer brewery of your own. But how do you even start determining how to open a new brewery?

Basics of How to Plan a New Brewery

Starting a new business can be a very long process requiring a great deal of investment and time. However, the rewards definitely make all of the effort worth it. Opening a new brewery will definitely be one of the most terrifying and exciting things you will ever experience.

However, fortunately, you are not the only one who has ever felt that way when you are staring at all of the different decisions you need to make. With the right skills, resources, and support from individuals who have already been through the experience, it will definitely be worth it and you will succeed.

To plan a brewery, there are six major steps:

Determine what the startup costs are to open a brewery
Choose your brewery name, layout, and logo
Develop a business plan
Purchase all the equipment you need for your business operations
Create financial forecasts
Determine legal requirements

Determining how to successfully start a brewery comes down to having the right balance between developing a solid plan before you begin, and giving yourself enough flexibility to either pivot or modify your plan along the way.

Whether you are just starting to research how to create a business plan or are getting ready to launch your new business, in this article, I will be providing you with all of the basics of everything you need to know to start your own brewery.

How Much Does Starting a Brewery Cost?

In general, the start-up costs for most breweries run from $500,00 up to $1 million (here is a really good article on the topic of budget and expenses: http://www.moderntimesbeer.com/blog/how-much-does-it-cost-to-start-brewery). However, the cost to start a brewery will depend on your location, production levels, and how large of a brewery you are planning to have.

When starting a brewery one of the major challenge that you will be faced with is having to deal with unexpected expenses and hidden fees that arise. There are two main categories that expenses can be grouped into: smaller expenses and major expenses.

If you are a new brewer and unsure if you will be able to obtain sufficient funding for your project, a good alternative is to start a microbrewery.

There are advantages for beginners just getting started with the craft beer industry to start a microbrewery since they do not have the same level of expenses required by a full-scale brewery.

Although microbreweries still can be expensive, they are still more attainable compared to a large-production craft brewery.

How to Select Your Taproom’s Location

If you are planning to start a brewery, the size of your building and its locations are also significant factors that need to be considered.

Check out your state’s regulations and laws of where you can operate a brewery and conduct market research on the best areas that would be the most suitable for a brewery.  Read this article to learn more.

The location you select will determine important aspects of your overall business plan, including the type of venue and your competitive analysis.

To find the best location for your brewery, answer the questions below and consider how they will impact your new business:

Demographics: What types of people visit, work, or live in the neighborhood?
Competition: Which other breweries or similar businesses are in the area?
Attraction: Which neighborhood features will have an effect on your brewery?

How to Design the Layout and Floor Plan of Your Brewery

One important tip to consider is choosing a location that will allow you room to grow. There is a good chance you will want to eventually expand your business and the expenses that are involved in moving to a bigger location can significantly impact your bottom line. Make use of the existing layout designs of the restaurant floor plan to help inspire you when you are designing the layout of your taproom.

Also, take current brewery trends into a consideration when you are working on your layout design. If you planning to start a new taproom this year, then a big patio or outdoor seating area should be incorporated so that social distancing can be practiced.

To ensure you end up with the best layout for your building design, ask yourself the following questions:

Is a taproom needed?
Is your brewery the only place where you plan to brew beer?
How much space will you need for customer seating and the actual brewery itself?
How many guests do you aim to have inside your building at once?

Brewery Equipment

When you start and operate a brewery, you need to have the correct brewery equipment to do the job to maintain quality standards and keep up with your production levels.

The following is a list of many of the most important types of brewery equipment to make a priority when buying:
re are so many different options for you to choose from, so the equipment that your brewery will need is going to depend on a number of different factors, including the following:

The amount of space available inside your brewery and whether you are going to need to expand eventually will depend on:

Required production levels
What you are going to produce
Equipment materials
Whether you want to purchase specific brands, used or new

Overall, your equipment cost will probably represent a high percentage of your budget. Since it is such an important decision, talk to vendors specializing in brewery equipment and do your research.

For example, if you are starting out that means you are going to be a smaller operation and you will need to decide what size of a brewhouse you need.  Smaller breweries can range from a 3 bbl brewing system all the way up to a 50 bbl system.  A popular option on the market that is a sweet spot in brewing system sizes are these 7 bbl brewhouses from ABS Commercial.

Specialists can provide the best guidance to you on what equipment will suit your limitations and needs the best, and allow you to compare the prices from various vendors.

The following is a list of many of the most important types of brewery equipment to make a priority when buying:

Boilers
Kettles
Kegs
Storage tanks
Cooling systems
Canning and bottling lines
Refrigeration equipment
Filters
Fermentation tanks
Beer labeling machines
Waste treatment systems
Beer tap handles
Cleaning equipment

Now that you have a good understanding of the basics for starting a brewery, you are well on your way towards your dream being turned into reality. It can be very exciting, yet daunting, to start your own brewery, especially if you are brand new to the craft beer industry.

Keep in mind that while you are on your journey that you are never alone. There are numerous tools and resources that are available, along with many brewers willing to share their knowledge and experience.

If you have documented and well-thought-out processes, plans, and reporting in place then you will have a solid foundation for sustainable growth and outstanding success.

Now go started doing the thing that you do best, which is, of course, brewing beer!