Are You Ready to Open Your Own Craft Brewery?

Craft Brewery Entrepreneur

Opening a brewery can seem like a dream job to beer lovers, but it takes hard work, dedication, and a lot of funding. If you’re preparing to open your own craft brewery, it’s important to understand a few factors that play a large role in the success of your new endeavor. Learn more about the craft brewery basics you need to know from Columbia Distributing before making your dream a reality.

Understand the Cost

One of the main things to understand when planning to open a brewery is the magnitude of the cost. Craft brewing is an expensive process, and start-up costs typically range from $500,000 to $1 million, although it varies depending on the brewery’s size, location, and output. You will have to consider both large expenditures like rent, utilities, ingredients, and salaries, as well as smaller costs like permits and licenses, marketing, and more. You must also partner with a distributor to get your craft beers on store shelves, in pub taps, and on the beer list at area restaurants. It’s important to plan and budget for these items that may be overlooked.

A large portion of your budget will go toward brewery equipment that is necessary to make and store your beer. Common brewery equipment that you will need includes: 

  • Kegs
  • Boilers
  • Bottling and packaging supplies
  • Storage tanks
  • Fermentation tanks
  • Filters
  • Cooling systems

These items can be very costly as they are specialized equipment, but the prices will vary depending on the size and whether they are new or used. The costs for opening a brewery can seem overwhelming, and you will need to secure funding for these start-up expenses. You can do this from sources such as investors, loans, and crowdfunding, although options all present risks and rewards.

Understand the Workload

To succeed in opening your craft brewery, you must understand that it’s not all about brewing and experimenting with new flavor profiles. Besides the obvious tasks of making and tasting beer and developing menus, you will also have to complete responsibilities that encompass everything from finance and human resources to cleaning and repairs.

Most importantly, you will need to function as the brand’s strategic mastermind. You must have a brewery business plan to present to investors with your business description and overview, as well as market and consumer analyses. A thorough business plan shows investors that you have done your research and weighed all the factors going into starting your brewery. It’s also recommended that you take steps to learn about your local regulations and basic accounting and sales to prepare yourself for obstacles going forward.

Understand the Legal Requirements

Another major step in making sure you’re ready to open your craft brewery is to understand the legal requirements and regulations in your area. The alcohol industry is heavily governed by state and federal laws, and you must be cognizant of them and obey them. You must also have the correct licenses and permits to operate legally. Examples of these include:

  • Federal brewer’s permit
  • State liquor license
  • Brewer’s bond

Once you have applied for and received all the necessary licenses and permits, you will have completed a big step in preparing to open your own brewery. You should also think about filing trademarks for your brewery name and beer names to give every offering a unique personality.

Find a Partner for Craft Brewery Distribution in Columbia Distributing

If you think you’re ready to open a craft brewery, Columbia Distributing can help. We have been a premier beverage distributor serving California, Oregon, and Washington for many years, delivering beers and other beverages to over 20,000 retailers and providing extensive knowledge of the beverage industry. To learn more about working with us and the craft beer landscape, contact us today.