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Tips on Starting a Brewery

So, you make great homebrew and all your friends love your beer; what's next? ...start a brewery!

This thought process goes through the majority of homebrewer's heads and usually remains in their head because the next thought is "Never mind, I don't have the money". Read on and learn about a couple of sites that may solve your money problem.

First you will have to decide if you want to brew and distribute your beer (microbrewery) or serve it with food in a restaurant (brewpub). Both have advantages and disadvantages and in some states, it may be better to start one vs the other. Visit your state's Alcohol Control Board as well as your local government to determine which business model will work to your advantage. Also check out the TTB's (formerly ATF) regulations and beer FAQ.

Keep in mind that running a restaurant is no easy task. I have personally seen great brewers go out of business very quickly because they wanted things done their way but had no clue about running a business or restaurant. There are many different Federal, State, and Local regulations, taxes, and permits you will need to be very familiar with before starting your new venture. You may want to consult a business lawyer before you make your initial investment.

I'm sure you have heard this many times before...location, location, location. A high traffic area should be obvious but any business involving alcohol should also check out who their neighbors are before they purchase their business location. Are there schools, churches, daycare or other potential conflicting businesses around? With today's tougher drunk driving laws and increasing political pressures in the USA, locating your business next to these politically sensitive organizations may cause future problems. Apartment complexes may even cause problems if you plan on having an outdoor patio or beer festivals.

You may want to consider becoming a bartender for a short period at an establishment near your potential location. Not only will this give you a feel for the bar business but you can also scope out the customer base in your area.

The next step in starting a new business is writing a business plan. Read "The Professional Bar & Beverage Manager's Handbook" by Amanda Miron and Douglas Robert Brown. It has over 550 pages of great information and contains a cd with a business plan in MS Word format. It will probably save you a lot of time and help you answer some of the questions rumbling around in your head. You may also want to look at Business Plan Pro Software" which is not specific to the brewing industry but is an excellent resource to aid in your endeavor.

You may be eligible for local, state, or federal grant money especially if you are restoring a historic building. If you can not get a grant or need more capital to supplement your grant, click here to apply to over 400 different hard money commercial lenders in just four minutes for free. You could also try LendingClub to get the extra money you need.

Finally, keep up with the current trends in the beer industry by reading the latest trade magazines. Here are just a few: Brew Your Own, All About Beer, Zymurgy, The Beer Connoisseur Magazine, Beer Northwest, Beverage World.

Good luck with your venture!

Note/Disclaimer: The advice on this page is my personal opinion. Please do not base any business decisions on this advice without seeking the advice of a lawyer. My review of "The Professional Bar & Beverage Manager's Handbook" is published in the book and I receive a small affiliate fee if you purchase any of the products through the links on this site.

About the Author: - Mike Snyder was a professional, award winning Brewmaster at a small brewpub for ten years. Read more about him at

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