Want to start a brewery business?
The world of brewing got a new famous face on board when Dylan Sprouse went on to start a meadery, in 2018. Breweries are born not only from great business acumen but also as the result of passion.
It’s this passion that makes visiting craft breweries special. You get a taste of unique brews and a rustic experience that only breweries can offer.
If you’ve such an affinity towards brewing and want to turn it into a business, this article offers a few tips and tricks that teach you how to start a brewery.
1. Study Brewing/ Educate Yourself
If you want to start a brewery, you’ll need to learn about the craft of brewing. You don’t need to be an expert brewer, but knowledgeable enough to talk about, sell, and scale your business.
With that being said, a great way to start a brewery is to create one as the head brewer. Your brews should reflect your tastes, uniqueness, and identity.
There are plenty of universities, short/part-time, and online courses that you can take up to learn about brewing and the industry.
Additionally, you can also gain experience by working under a brewer or in a brewery.
2. Look Into The Laws Of Starting A Brewery
You won’t be able to start a brewery without adhering to laws, licenses, rules, and regulations. Since there’s alcohol involved, you’ll need a liquor license.
Additionally, you’ll need Brewer’s Notice and a food license in case you want to have an in-house menu.
The paperwork may not be glamorous, but it’s crucial.
You can look at the Alcohol And Tobacco Tax And Trade Bureau to become aware of federal and state requirements.
3. Choose A Location For Your Brewery
In determining success, if the quality of your brew is paramount, your location should be second on your list.
A brewery is also judged on the vibe it creates. This can stem from your staff, your design language, your choice in entertainment (if any), etc. but it starts with your space.
Choosing a location can determine who your audience is, what they like drinking and eating, what is their preferred design style, and what they like doing when socializing over a brew.
So, choose wisely!
4. Create A Brand Personality
Much like with every business, when you start a brewery, you need to think of its brand personality. How do you differentiate yourself from other breweries?
A good place to start is thinking about this:
Your customers come for an experience, what is it?
- A funny brand personality, for example, could reflect in you hosting open mics in your brewery.
- A brand personality that emphasizes socializing, can have social nights, blind introductions, and activities.
- Someone with an appreciation of knowledge could have quiz/ trivia nights, etc.
These are just the tip of the iceberg. Your brand personality will help you decide how to set up, what activities to conduct in your brewery, how to name your menu items and so much more.
5. Get On Social Media
Better yet, get on the internet!
- Have a Google My Business Page. This will get you on the Google search result page and people will be able to locate and contact your brewery easily.
- Make a Website. A website is your personal playground to add images, recipes, menus, About Mes, and everything in between.
- Create Facebook, Instagram & Twitter Accounts. Make sure you’re also active on them. Good social media content online can result in great customers offline.
- Create a Yelp account for yourself. Ask customers to review both the good and the bad. Work on the negatives, double down on the positives (if you can).
- Record all the activities in your brewery, patrons having a good time, and show it off! A brewery can be a very social place and more than the interiors, your potential customers will want to know if heading over to yours will lead to a good time.
- Give updates to your audience about new brews and activities. Use newsletters, social media updates, text messages (if subscribed to) and make them a part of the family.
The more you find a place for yourself at the top of a customer’s mind, the likelier you are to get more customers on board.
The Internet is the easiest way to connect with anyone. Take full advantage of it, unless it goes absolutely against your brand personality and you want to keep things traditional.
6. Offer Lip-Smacking Food
There are two ways to go about this:
Create Your Own Menu
This option will give you all the freedom in the world to experiment with your food. Additionally, your menu will become an extension of what your brand stands for.
You can experiment with food and create items that go perfectly with your brews. However, this is also the more expensive option. Stocking, hiring, QCing are just the tip of the iceberg.
At the same time, once you begin offering food your brewery falls under the ‘Restaurants’ category. This means additional licenses, regulations, and laws to be cognizant of.
Partner With Restaurants
This is also a great idea, in general. The cons are apparent-
- You can’t control the food quality
- Your food may/ may not go with your brews as well
- The stock may fluctuate based on the partner restaurant’s efficiency
However, this is a cheaper option and there are a wide variety of restaurants to choose from. One would surely be interested in partnering has the perfect food, right?
Daniel Sloss seems to believe that it’s hard finding the perfect piece to your puzzle. Maybe that stands true for your love life.
But, when you start a brewery you might just come across the perfect partner restaurant. With research, of course.
7. Experiment With Your Brews and Crafts
Stagnation is any business’s greatest enemy. If you don’t grow, your competition will. And this holds especially true when you start a brewery.
You may have got a killer brew that your regulars will come for, for years to come. But where do you go from there? Where do you head to when their tastes settle and they’re looking for something new?
The answer is in experimenting. Keep trying out new recipes. Fail, try again, fail again and keep trying till you get the next holy water of brews.
One Way To Experiment: Make Specialty/ Seasonal Brews
After you’ve mastered the art of year-long brewing and you’re consistent with them, look into seasonal brews. Seasonal and specialty brews, if done right, can develop a cult following.
Here are some ways you can look into seasonal or specialty brews:
- Many breweries look into seasonal fruits to make their brews. Breweries, such as Doolally Taproom in India, make seasonal mango-flavored drinks.
- A lot of good brews are inspired by festivities and the holidays. The most notable one is Oktoberfest. Identify the days you want to target and try to make special brews around them.
Restaurants and cafés often have testers that interested customers can try out. Use that data to see if customers prefer a certain taste or kind of brew.
You’ll be surprised by the results. Burger King, for example, discovered that customers in Singapore liked mixing french fries and ice cream. So, they just made a dish out of it .
A brewery is a passion business. It requires having a deeply vested interest in the craft, along with business acumen.
Starting a brewery is the easy part (relatively). It requires paperwork, a location, and hiring. Creating a successful brewery, however, is a different ball game altogether.
It requires research, experimentation, lots of brainstorming, and decisive decision-making. This article lists seven such things you should think about when starting a brewery.