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Arts
Education
Food
How To

MicroBrewr Podcast

Updated about 13 hours ago

Arts
Education
Food
How To
Read more

Taking Your Microbrewery to the Next Level

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Taking Your Microbrewery to the Next Level

iTunes Ratings

111 Ratings
Average Ratings
94
12
3
1
1

Great Information

By Cabanero - Feb 23 2017
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Very well done. Lots of good information.

Microbrewr

By Barleyjac - Oct 10 2015
Read more
Good info for people starting out.

iTunes Ratings

111 Ratings
Average Ratings
94
12
3
1
1

Great Information

By Cabanero - Feb 23 2017
Read more
Very well done. Lots of good information.

Microbrewr

By Barleyjac - Oct 10 2015
Read more
Good info for people starting out.
Cover image of MicroBrewr Podcast

MicroBrewr Podcast

Updated about 13 hours ago

Read more

Taking Your Microbrewery to the Next Level

Rank #1: MicroBrewr 085: Starting a brewery is a full-time job

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Cody Martin worked in civil engineering and environmental engineering. After touring some breweries and seeing that they use familiar equipment, he asked his wife if he could start a brewery. She found work in Texas and he started Martin House Brewing Company in Fort Worth, Texas.

“Starting a brewery is a full-time job.” [Tweet This]

After they moved back to Texas, Cody worked full-time for 15 months to start his brewery.

“If you want to be a brewery in planning for 3 or 4 years,” he offers, “then go ahead and keep your job.”

In that time, he worked on his business plan, found partners and investors, introduced himself to local breweries, and work 20-30 hours per week for free in a local brewery.

Once the business plan was complete, they had 6 months allotted to finding investors and securing funding, and they got it done in only 6 weeks. They talked to anyone and everyone they could find or with whom they could make connections.

In the end, the owners with “skin in the game” had contributed approximately $60 thousand. Investors pitched in significantly more than that, he says. Approximately half of the capital came from friends and family, and about half came from other investors whom they had never previously met.

They were able to cut costs by doing the majority of the work themselves. “We literally built everything in this place ourself,” Cody remarks.

It helps that Cody is an engineer. They also called on old friends who gave them discount prices on skilled work.

Additionally, Cody says it very important to partner with people who compliment, rather than duplicate your own knowledge and skills.

“You need to make sure you have the team with the full talents of running a business,” Cody advises, “not just 3 brewers.”

Financially, it has worked well.

“We have zero debt,” says Cody, “so we were able to break even on that pretty quick. A few months in, we started paying ourselves a salary. And then our first full year of production, we were able to pay our investors back a little.”

Cody even had the opportunity to make a collaboration brew with one of his all-time favorite bands, Toadies.

In summary, Cody’s advice for starting a brewery:

  • Quit your job.
  • Have the support of your family.
  • Assemble a team with diverse skills.
  • Don’t buy a glycol chiller from China.

Brewery specs:

Kettle size: 30 BBL.

Size and quantity of fermentation tanks: 4, 30-BBL; 2, 60-BBL fermenters.

Size and quantity of bright tanks: 1, 30-BBL; 1 60-BBL bright tanks.

Annual brewing capacity/last year’s production: 6,000-BBL capacity. About 2,800 BBL last year.

Square footage: 9,000 sq. ft.

Years in operation: 2.5 years (opened March 2013).

Listener question:

From Sean McKeown: Do you still have the same passion for beer after doing it as a job, at a commercial level?

Can’t-go-without tool:

Zip ties, duct tape, and Milwaukee 48-22-1901 Fastback Flip Open Utility Knife.

Book recommendation:

Check out the entire list of recommended books, click here.

An upcoming beer style:

Sour beer

Other resources:

You can reach Cody Martine and Martin House Brewing Company at:

Sponsors:

Support MicroBrewr

Help keep MicroBrewr on the air. CLICK HERE for ways you can help.

The post MicroBrewr 085: Starting a brewery is a full-time job appeared first on MicroBrewr.

Oct 13 2015

45mins

Play

Rank #2: MicroBrewr 054: Start a debt-free nanobrewery

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We all have a dream to start a brewery. Many of us don’t have the money required to start the brewery of our dreams. Lynn Jacobs and her husband, Jeff, started Great Storm Brewing in Colorado Springs, Colorado, with no debt. Best of all: They started making a profit immediately.

Great Storm Brewing opened in March 2012 with a 1-BBL system. Lynn and Jeff worked hard at first. But after 6 months they hired the first employee. The success has been so great that they contract brew larger batches under “alternative proprietorship” to help meet demand.

Now approaching their third anniversary, Great Storm Brewing has 8 employees and they’re preparing to install a 10-BBL system.

Lynn’s advice to someone who wants to start a brewery:

  • Save money
  • Practice your brewing
  • Create something you can duplicate on a larger scale

Brewery specs:

Kettle size: 1 BBL; in the process of expanding to 10-BBL.

Size and quantity of fermentation tanks: 10, 1-BBL fermenters; expanding to 3, 15-BBL.

Size and quantity of bright tanks: none; will get tanks with the new system.

Annual brewing capacity/last year’s production: Current 260; last year 187; new system will be 390-BBL.

Square footage: 3,750 sq. ft.

Years in operation: 3 years (opened March 2012).

“As soon as you reach one goal, you make another for yourself.” [Tweet This]

Listener question:

From Russ Neis: How do you adjust a recipe from 10 gallons to a 7 BBLs or more?

Book recommendation:

Check out the entire list of recommended books, click here.

An upcoming beer style:

Experimental beers

Other resources:

You can reach Lynn Jacobs and Great Storm Brewing at:

Sponsors:

Audible

Download a free audiobook.

Support MicroBrewr

Help keep MicroBrewr on the air. CLICK HERE for ways you can help.

The post MicroBrewr 054: Start a debt-free nanobrewery appeared first on MicroBrewr.

Mar 10 2015

45mins

Play

Rank #3: MicroBrewr 064: How to write a business plan for a brewery

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Dave Lavinsky went to business school at University of California at Los Angeles. After he won a business plan writing competition, he wrote a few for other businesses. Then he started Growthink, in Los Angeles, to help entrepreneurs and business owners develop their business plans so they can raise capital and grow their business.

3 reasons why people don’t do a business plan:

  1. No time
  2. Don’t know what to write
  3. Don’t know how to do the financials

Dave is steadfast that you shouldn’t take too long to write a business plan. “To spend more than 2 to 3 months to create your business plan is foolish,” he says, “because there is diminishing returns. After 3 months it’s not going to get all that much better, it just means that you’re probably procrastinating.”

Here are the essential parts of a business plan that you must have:

  1. Executive Summary
  2. Company Overview
  3. Industry Analysis/Market Analysis
  4. Customer Analysis
  5. Competitor Analysis
  6. Marketing Plan
  7. Operations Plan
  8. Management Team
  9. Financial Plan
  10. Appendix

To help explain how to write a business plan for your brewery, here are some notes on the outline above.

Think of the Executive Summary as the sales piece to convince investors that you can execute this plan. It should be 1- to 3-pages in length. Do this last to summarize the whole thing. Write it in very approachable language.

“It doesn’t need to be beautiful Shakespearian prose,” says Dave, “It needs to be something that’s accessible.”

Be sure to include what Dave calls the “success factor line.” Write, “We are uniquely qualified to succeed because…” Explain any of your unique skills, expertise, or resources that will guarantee your success. This might be background or expertise, products or services, location, systems, intellectual property, or a built in customer base.

The Company Overview is where you note the organizational structure and type of business entity.

The Competitor Analysis should describe both direct competitors and indirect competitors. Your direct competitors are nearby breweries. Indirect competitors might even be supermarkets, taverns, or liquor stores that carry a good selection of craft beer.

The Marketing Plan is where you talk about product and pricing, and how you will promote your product.

In Management Team, of course describe who will be running the company. But also explain the gaps in management and how you will fill those gaps. Maybe you will find another partner, hire a manager, or outsource some roles.

The Financial Plan has 3 spreadsheets:

  • Income Statement (Profit/Loss)
  • Balance Sheet
  • Cash Flow Statement

The Appendix has your supporting documentation. Include anything additional to help make your case that you can successfully execute on this plan. Some examples might include: lease agreement for the location, interior design plans, letters of commitment from buyers, customer surveys or other market data.

Lastly, be sure to have somebody edit the entire business plan. You could pay a professional to give it a once over. At the minimum, ask a friend to check it for readability, grammar, and typos.

Now you know how to write a business plan for your brewery. Let’s both take Dave’s advice and commit to finishing our business plans within 3 months!

“Running a business is not doing everything yourself.” [Tweet This]

Listener question:

If you could ask one question to every brewer or brewery owner, what would you ask? Let me know.

Book recommendation:

Check out the entire list of recommended books, click here.

An upcoming beer style:

Double IPA

Other resources:

You can reach Dave Lavinsky and Growthink at:

Sponsors:

Audible

Download a free audiobook.

Support MicroBrewr

Help keep MicroBrewr on the air. CLICK HERE for ways you can help.

The post MicroBrewr 064: How to write a business plan for a brewery appeared first on MicroBrewr.

May 12 2015

57mins

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Rank #4: MicroBrewr 044: What every brewery should know about trademarks

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There are so many stories about breweries in trademark disputes. The last thing you want is to get sued or pay legal fees to protect yourself. Paul Rovella is attorney and partner at L+G, LLP Attorneys at Law in Hollister, California. He tells us all about trademark issues for your brewery.

Although “common law” provides some protection, you are still at risk.

One especially painful story is that of Backshore Brewing Co. The owner, Danny Robinson told us on MicroBrewr Podcast 041 that he had to change the name of his brewery—and he was still sued for $800 thousand and has already racked up $500 thousand in legal fees.

Some other breweries who have shared their trademark issues on MicroBrewr have included Opposition Brewing Co. (episode 16) and Ferndock Brewing Company (episode 39).

Here are some basic steps to protect yourself:

  • Use the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office’s search tool to see whether someone else is already using the name you want.
  • File for a trademark.
  • Use photos or documentation to prove when you start using your business name and your trademark.

“The importance of trademark registration is actually enforcing,” says Paul, “which could be a time consuming and an expensive endeavor.”

There are other options besides suing to protect your brand.

“I always encourage my clients to try to deal directly with their adversary,” Paul advises. “Because then you’re not paying an attorney to create more paper to send to another attorney.”

From the least strenuous to the most, here are the best options for enforcing your trademark:

  1. Make a polite phone call to the person who is using your trademark.
  2. Send a cease and desist letter.
  3. Get a restraining order or injunction and get a judge to make them stop.

PLEASE NOTE: Nothing on this podcast should be deemed legal advice. If you have any questions about the discussions or subject matter of this podcast, you should consult an attorney.

“Smaller businesses gotta be a little more diplomatic in getting someone to stop using your label.” [Tweet This]

Listener question:

If you could ask one question to every brewer or brewery owner, what would you ask? Let me know.

Book recommendation:

Check out the entire list of recommended books, click here.

An upcoming beer style:

Ginger beer soda

Other resources:

You can reach Paul Rovella and L+G, LLP Attorneys at Law at:

Image showing 3D Judges Gavel by Chris Potter on flickr (CC BY 2.0) was modified from its original state. (www.stockmonkeys.com)

Support MicroBrewr

Help keep MicroBrewr on the air. CLICK HERE for ways you can help.

The post MicroBrewr 044: What every brewery should know about trademarks appeared first on MicroBrewr.

Jan 06 2015

56mins

Play

Rank #5: MicroBrewr 036: How to write a business plan for a gastropub brewery

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Brian Kelly opened Elevation 66 Brewing Company 3 years ago in El Cerrito, California. It was his first business and they paid off their major investor ahead of schedule, just 2 and-a-half years after opening.

Initially, they wanted to have a mill and limit the food offerings to paninis and salads. About halfway into the design process they decided to rework it and plan for a full kitchen. It was more expensive to build, but it was worth it.

“That has turned out to be one of the better ideas for this place,” says Brian. “Our food has really taken off. Without our kitchen, I don’t know if this place would be nearly as successful. Salads and paninis is nothing like the food we put out right now.”

And the food at Elevation 66 is great. They were recognized as having the best artisanal pub food in the East Bay.

Brian’s advice to someone just starting is:

  • Understanding the laws is crucial
  • Be as professional as possible at all times
  • Hire help

Elevation 66 is still new, but their 7-BBL system can hardly produce enough beer just for their in-house sales. (Elevation 66 doesn’t package any beer for distribution.) They are starting to plan for expansion and have begun developing the brewery business plans for different possibilities.

So I asked Brian how to write a brewery business plan. He said start looking into the red tape.

“These permits that you have to get and all this red tape that you have to go through can be a long and arduous process. You really want to have a solid plan of attack on how you’re going to do all these things.”

Brian’s top 3 resources for writing a brewery business plan:

“Honestly,” says Brian, “I just went online and read other people’s business plans.

He also suggests overestimating costs and underestimating revenues.

“That’s the whole purpose of a business plan to me. It’s like, let’s be realistic. What’s the worst case scenario? If that does happen, can we still make this work? If you can, and you do better than that, then it’s golden.”

“If you have a feeling that this is going to succeed, don’t doubt that.” [Tweet This]

Listener question:

From Hayden Little: How much trouble did you have coming up with a name? What was the inspiration for the name?

Book recommendation:

Check out the entire list of recommended books, click here.

An upcoming beer style:

Sour beers

Other resources:

You can reach Brian Kelly and Elevation 66 Brewing Company at:

Support MicroBrewr

Help keep MicroBrewr on the air. CLICK HERE for ways you can help.

The post MicroBrewr 036: How to write a business plan for a gastropub brewery appeared first on MicroBrewr.

Nov 18 2014

53mins

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Rank #6: MicroBrewr 079: The importance of budgeting for working capital

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Wim Bens was born in Belgium and moved to Texas when he was 7 years old. He applied to American Brewers Guild just to have the option. Now, 3 years after opening Lakewood Brewing Co. in Garland, Texas he can barely keep up with demand.

“If you start doubting what you’re doing, then you shouldn’t be doing it.” [Tweet This]

Wim’s original business plan called for 3 employees, adding about 1 employee per year, for every 1,000 barrels produced. They had planned to expand production to 7,000 barrels in year 7.

Two years later after opening, they had 13 employees and had started looking for a larger venue.

Today, just 3 years after opening, Lakewood Brewing Co. has a staff of 22. They produced 7,500 barrels last year, are on track to produce 10,000 barrels this year. They are projecting next year’s production at 15,000 – 20,000.

RELATED: MicroBrewr 077: The importance of writing your goals.

Wim says you must have:

  • Good culture
  • Good people
  • Investment
  • Ability to invest at the right time
  • Make smart investments in your business
  • Good beer
  • Consistently good beer

“And I think if all those things come together, especially in a market like Dallas-Fort Worth that had a local beer drought, then you have a good recipe for success,” advises Wim.

On convincing family, friends, and fools to invest in your brewery:

  • It’s very important to believe in yourself.
  • It’s very important to believe in what you’re doing.
  • Hire people who are smarter than you.

“If you start doubting what you’re doing,” says Wim, “then you shouldn’t be doing it.”

“A lot of people think when they open a small brewery, “I’m going to be the brewer.’ Ok, well who’s going to do payroll? And who’s going to do HR? And who’s going to be ordering supplies? And who’s going to be doing facility maintenance? And who’s going to be doing all your advertising? And who’s going to be doing distribution?

“There are so many things that have to happen in a brewery to be successful that you have to be able to delegate that and hire people who are experts in those fields.”

Wim reminds us to budget for working capital. His advice is to double your budget—and then add 20%.

“Working capital is not talked about enough,” says Wim. “You have to have enough money to pay your employees, to order your raw materials in large amounts so that you get a quantity discount so that you can eventually turn that into a more profitable margin. You have to have a lot of working capital until you start seeing the money come back.”

Brewery specs:

Kettle size: 30 BBL.

Size and quantity of fermentation tanks: 30-180, 1,440 BBL total fermentation vessel capacity.

Size and quantity of bright tanks: 180, 90, 80, 60, 40.

Annual brewing capacity/last year’s production: 2014: 7,500 BBL.

Square footage: 30,000 sq. ft.

Years in operation: 3 (opened August 2012).

Listener question:

From Peter Stillmank: How much beer do you need to produce each year to break even?

Can’t-go-without tool:

Rubber mallet.

Book recommendation:

Check out the entire list of recommended books, click here.

An upcoming beer style:

Sour beers

Other resources:

You can reach Wim Bens and Lakewood Brewing Co. at:

Sponsors:

Support MicroBrewr

Help keep MicroBrewr on the air. CLICK HERE for ways you can help.

The post MicroBrewr 079: The importance of budgeting for working capital appeared first on MicroBrewr.

Sep 01 2015

1hr 7mins

Play

Rank #7: MicroBrewr 026: A microbrewery, a taproom, and a brewery incubator

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Paul Benner had been operating his homebrew shop for 2 years before he opened Platform Beer Co., in Cleveland Ohio. Platform is a microbrewery and taproom. It is also an innovative* brewery incubator. Although business incubators are popular across the world and in a variety of industries—especially in technology—none exist solely to assist brewery startups.

The program is free and, as you could imagine, there is already an extensive waitlist.

The 12-week brewery incubator program teaches and assists on every aspect of brewery startup including:

  • Apprenticing with a brewer
  • Guidance on financing
  • Sourcing equipment
  • Selecting a property
  • Designing the logo
  • Writing the business plan
  • Navigating regulatory issues
  • Connecting with investors

“You can’t just take your six pack of an imperial stout that everybody loves and sell it,” says Benner.

“You have to become incredibly leveraged, you have to open a brewery. And most people don’t have the business savvy, or the funds, or the resources, or even know where to start.

“We’re literally creating a platform for these people to have the public taste their beer, which is a dream come true for homebrewers! There’s no vehicle out there right now that allows for that.”

Paul’s advice to a homebrewer wanting to start a brewery:

  • Start making relationships with your local brewery
  • Volunteer, observe, haul kegs, clean stuff
  • Read like crazy
  • Go to a bunch of brewing trade shows
  • Be active in your local homebrew club
  • Perfect recipes, make sure each batch comes out similar to the last

* I wanted to say “first-of-its-kind,” but I found something online about The Brewery Incubator in Houston, Texas. Although it looks like it’s no longer operating. I was unable to confirm whether it ever got going at all.

Listener question:

From Cory Waller: What’s your favorite beer to drink?

Book recommendation:

Check out the entire list of recommended books, click here.

An upcoming beer style:

Sour beer

Other resources:

You can reach Paul Benner and Platform Beer Co. at:

If you like the show, please subscribe in iTunes or Stitcher. When you subscribe, it’ll let you know when there’s a new episode, you won’t miss a thing!

Support MicroBrewr

Help keep MicroBrewr on the air. CLICK HERE for ways you can help.

The post MicroBrewr 026: A microbrewery, a taproom, and a brewery incubator appeared first on MicroBrewr.

Sep 09 2014

36mins

Play

Rank #8: MicroBrewr 002: Using a Flagship Beer To Build a Brand w/ Alamo Beer

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We Made It To Podcast #2 (I’m going to have a beer to celebrate)!

First off, I have to say thanks for the amazing support and feedback that we’ve got for the MicroBrewr site and the podcast.  In just the first week of having the site up, MicroBrewr has already had over 25,000 visitors.  I’ve been able to talk to so many people who are thinking of taking the plunge into starting their own brewery (or who already have) and it’s no lie that the craft beer community is awesome!  If you want to subscribe to the MicroBrewr podcast instead of listening to it on the site, the podcast is now up on both iTunes and Stitcher which you can find by just searching for MicroBrewr in either program.

Using a Flagship Beer to Build a Brand with Alamo Beer Company

In the second podcast, I had the pleasure of talking with Eugene Simor from Alamo Beer Company.  One of the reasons that I wanted to talk with Eugene is that he’s taken a different approach to getting into the craft beer industry by using his flagship beer, Alamo Golden Ale to build his brand.  Up to this point, Eugene has used contract brewing (“kind-of”) to brew Alamo Golden Ale and is currently in the process of planning his own brewery.  With his 10+ years already selling his beer, Eugene has proven his brand (which helped him get a $5 million SBA approved loan for his brewery) and has a ton of great information to share.

In this episode we’ll talk about:

  • How to get your start in the industry through contract brewing to prove that your brand works
  • Picking a distributor to sell your beer and leveraging them to increase sales
  • How to promote and grow your brand
  • The importance of focusing on your local market and creating a personal connection
  • What events are working for Alamo to promote their beer
  • Planning a brewery that will be ready for future growth
  • How to raise money to start your brewery and selectively choose investors

Go Find Alamo Golden Ale

Make sure to pick up some Alamo Golden Ale to give back to Eugene for sharing all of the knowledge that he has gained starting up Alamo Beer Company! Here’s some of the links to find out more about Eugene and Alamo.

Links Mentioned in the Podcast:

Alamo Beer Website

Alamo Facebook Fan Page

Spec’s Liquor to Order Alamo Golden Ale

Like The Podcast?

If you want to get updates on future podcasts and join the amazing MicroBrewr community, you can click the button below.  To try to give back and to show my thanks for joining, I’ll send you a free copy of our “6 Social Media Tools to Get People Talking About Your Beer” e-book.  You rock! Let me know if there’s anything else that I can do for you!

Sign me up!

You might also like:

MicroBrewr 019: Marketing a flagship beer with Roswell aliens, with Sierra Blanca Brewing Company in Moriarty, New Mexico.

Support MicroBrewr

Help keep MicroBrewr on the air. CLICK HERE for ways you can help.

The post MicroBrewr 002: Using a Flagship Beer To Build a Brand w/ Alamo Beer appeared first on MicroBrewr.

Feb 24 2014

40mins

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Rank #9: MicroBrewr 005: The Start of the Journey of Building a Brewery w/ Nathan Pierce

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Grab a Beer and Join Us in the Journey of Starting a Brewery

Welcome to the 5th edition of the MicroBrewr podcast!  Due to the success and support I’ve seen for the previous podcast, I’ve dialed up the frequency now to weekly.  If you’re new to the podcast, I’m a craft beer fanatic who loves to hear about the journeys of those in the craft beer industry.  With the experiences of some amazing people, hopefully I can give back to this community to help inspire brewers to start a brewery or provide tips on what’s working right now for the lucky people who already run their own brewery.  Even if you’re not in these two camps, these guys and gals have some amazing experiences to share that hopefully can provide some entertainment to your daily commute or work out.

Meet Nathan Pierce Who Will Give Us a First Hand Look at Starting a Brewery

I originally got in touch with Nathan Pierce after starting MicroBrewr who is currently in the process of starting up a brewery.  Nathan worked at the air pollution control district in California before quitting his job to follow his dream and start a brewery a couple of months ago.  Nathan has been gracious to share his journey along the way to help out others that are thinking of starting a brewery and we’ll be coming back in future podcasts to catch up on progress.  In this podcast, you’ll get to ride along for the initial steps of the journey where Nathan is working to turn his dream into a reality.

Subscribe on iTunes

Subscribe on Stitcher

In this podcast we’ll cover:

  • Setting goals and how to stay focused on the end result
  • Transitioning to less structure without the 9-5 job
  • Productivity tips and some great ways to stay motivated
  • Where to go for creating a business plan
  • Selectively choosing what information you need to know along the process
  • Dealing with friends or family who don’t support your vision or want you to succeed
  • Following through on your dreams and telling as many people as you can about those dreams to keep you accountable

Here are links that we talked about during the podcast:

Entrepreneur on Fire Podcast

Storyline Productivity Schedule

Beyond the To Do List

Brewers Association

Connect with Nathan on Twitter

Join the MicroBrewr Community

Like what you’ve heard and want to get updates on upcoming articles and podcasts?  Click the button below to sign up for the email list.  As my thank you for joining the Microbrewr community, I’ll send you a free copy of our e-book “6 Free Social Media Tools To Get Your Beer in the Hands of More People.”

Sign me up!

Support MicroBrewr

Help keep MicroBrewr on the air. CLICK HERE for ways you can help.

The post MicroBrewr 005: The Start of the Journey of Building a Brewery w/ Nathan Pierce appeared first on MicroBrewr.

Apr 01 2014

34mins

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Rank #10: MicroBrewr 033: Wastewater treatment solutions for a craft brewery

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Wastewater treatment is a key issue for a craft brewery. John Mercer from Brewery Wastewater Design in Montrose, Colorado has more than a decade of experience. He shares wastewater treatment solutions for a craft brewery.

For every gallon of beer produced, a typical brewery uses 7 gallons of water. If your municipal wastewater treatment plant can’t handle it, you could be facing high fees for wastewater treatment.

Brewery wastewater can fall into one of several categories:

  • Floor drains in the brewery, which contain alcohol, sugars, and other contaminants.
  • Kitchen drains, which includes grease.
  • Restrooms, which typically go the sewage treatment plant.
  • Side stream, which is a way to divert extremely concentrated wastewater such as spent yeast, waste beer, fermenter blow-off, and trub.

If your brewery is in an area that has municipal sewage service, you might not have to do anything. If you’re in the county with no sewage service, you’ll likely have to build your own brewery wastewater treatment infrastructure.

Solutions will vary depending on your brewery wastewater characteristics, or who designs your system.

Diverting the very concentrated sources through a “side stream,” could reduce the contaminants in your wastewater by 90%. Which could mean reduced fees for treatment.

Key questions to ask:

  • Is the wastewater facility at capacity?
  • How much would the fees cost?
  • Does your consultant have experience designing systems for breweries or other food manufacturers?

SPECIAL BONUS:

Ask John any question about wastewater treatment for your brewery.

Leave your questions in the comments section below.

John will keep watching the comments for the next 30 days to answer as many of your questions as he can.

Be sure to connect with Brewery Wastewater Design and thank John for being on the show and for helping us out with questions.

UPDATE: Thirty days is up, John is no longer monitoring the questions here. You can still reach him through the links below. Thanks for your great questions everyone!

Tweetable:

“I came back to brewery work because the people are the greatest and the industry is the greatest.” [Tweet This]

Listener question:

From Megan Tolbert: How low environmental impact is your business?

Book recommendation:

Check out the entire list of recommended books, click here.

An upcoming beer style:

Sour beer

Other resources:

You can reach John Mercer and Brewery Wastewater Design at:

Support MicroBrewr

Help keep MicroBrewr on the air. CLICK HERE for ways you can help.

The post MicroBrewr 033: Wastewater treatment solutions for a craft brewery appeared first on MicroBrewr.

Oct 28 2014

55mins

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Rank #11: MicroBrewr 046: Start your brewery as a worker-owned co-op

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The cooperative business model is gaining popularity. Even many craft breweries are forming as co-ops. If you want to form your brewery as a co-op, Janelle Orsi, Executive Director of Sustainable Economies Law Center, in Oakland, California can answer your questions.

The cooperative business model is still relatively unknown. A worker-owned “co-op” is usually democratically organized, so each employee gets a vote on business decisions and elections for the board of directors. Employees earn dividends based on patronage—the amount of time they have invested in the business, rather the amount of money they have invested.

Other podcasts about breweries as co-ops:

MicroBrewr 047: Proof of concept for a brewpub co-op

MicroBrewr 049: Planning California’s first cooperative brewpub

Cooperative businesses provide many benefits to society:

  • The work source is stable because the employees aren’t as at-risk of layoff.
  • Profits stay in the local economy, rather than going to faraway shareholders.
  • Customers are happier because they know the product is made by sustainable jobs.

Cooperative businesses experience many benefits:

  • Decisions are made from many contributors.
  • Don’t have to pay double taxes like C-Corporations.
  • Workers are happier because they have a say in their environment.

“If we buy beer from a worker-owned cooperative, we’re actually reversing the flow of wealth.” [Tweet This]

Listener question:

If you could ask one question to every brewer or brewery owner, what would you ask? Let me know.

Book recommendation:

Check out the entire list of recommended books, click here.

An upcoming beer style:

Pale Ale

Other resources:

You can reach Janelle Orsi and Sustainable Economies Law Center at:

Sponsors:

Audible

Download a free audiobook.

Support MicroBrewr

Help keep MicroBrewr on the air. CLICK HERE for ways you can help.

The post MicroBrewr 046: Start your brewery as a worker-owned co-op appeared first on MicroBrewr.

Jan 20 2015

44mins

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Rank #12: MicroBrewr 068: An SBA loan can help open or grow your brewery

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Two years ago, Adam Charnack and his partners got a $254,000 SBA-backed loan to start Hi-Wire Brewing in Asheville, North Carolina. Today, they’re expanding to a second brewery with another SBA loan.

“The SBA involvement in craft beer,” says Adam, “has been a part of the success of craft breweries being able to open and grow.”

“The way that banks are willing to look at breweries is totally different under and SBA lens. We’re all just young guys that wanted to start a brewery. So we’re not rolling in [money] or have some big financing. Without SBA involved it definitely would make getting financing a whole lot more difficult.”

Adam advises to focus on your business plan. “If you show up with a notebook paper, or a page-and-a-half typed, with a bunch of typos on it, that’s not going to cut it.”

The financials are the most important things that banks look for when you apply for funding:

  • Financial projections
    • How much it’s going to cost to make things
    • When you’re going to get paid
    • What the prices are
  • Sources and uses of funds
  • Projected and net operating income (12 months, and next few years)
  • Cash flow

“A lot of that is a shot in that dark,” admits Adam, “but at least you’re making intelligent assumptions.”

With so many breweries in and around Asheville, there is an abundance of qualified workers. Even still, employee retention is important.

“We’ve never had anybody leave our company that started with us in the last 2 years in our brewery operations,” says Adam.

His tips on how to keep quality workers:

  • Throw parties throughout the year.
  • Organize fun company outings.
  • Have a lot of fun.
  • Respect people.
  • Provide opportunity.

“If you treat people right and you respect people,” says Adam, “we’ve had no problem retaining talent here.”

Other tips:

  • Bring on a partner with an understanding of, or background in, finance.
  • Assets or an alternative means to payback a loan helps to secure funding.

Advice for someone who wants to do what he has done:

Brewery specs:

Kettle size: 30 BBL + 30 BBL (two breweries).

Size and quantity of fermentation tanks: 90-BBL and 30-BBL.

Size and quantity of bright tanks: 90-BBL and 30-BBL.

Annual brewing capacity/last year’s production: In September 2015, capacity will be approx.. 17,000 BBL/year. By year’s end, on pace of 10,000 BBL/year.

Square footage: 27,000 sq. ft. and 4,000 sq. ft.

Years in operation: 2 years (opened July 2013).

“I would definitely advise having a business partner.” [Tweet This]

Listener question:

From Daniel: What’s your biggest regret?

Book recommendation:

Check out the entire list of recommended books, click here.

An upcoming beer style:

Lager

Other resources:

You can reach Adam Charnack and Hi-Wire Brewing at:

Sponsors:

Support MicroBrewr

Help keep MicroBrewr on the air. CLICK HERE for ways you can help.

The post MicroBrewr 068: An SBA loan can help open or grow your brewery appeared first on MicroBrewr.

Jun 09 2015

48mins

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Rank #13: MicroBrewr 066: How to get an SBA loan for a startup brewery

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Kris Kennedy works in the Small Business Lending Group with First Community Bank in Roseville, California. They were the first financial institution listed as an allied trade member of California Craft Brewers Association.

The U.S. Small Business Administration’s loan program makes it easier for small businesses to get funding from traditional lending institutions. Kris teaches us how to get an SBA loan for a brewery.

All participating banks must go by the SBA guidelines. There are typically 5 criteria to judge worthiness for a loan:

  1. Cash flow – This could be historical or projected. Can you repay the debt?
  2. Economic environment of the industry – Also includes changes to the industry such a new regulations or supply issues.
  3. Collateral – Can include business assets and personal real estate.
  4. How much the borrower is investing – They typically require 20-25% for startups.
  5. Character – They check your credit score including public records such as judgments and liens. Credit score must be at least 680.

Loan funds can be used for a variety of things. Eligible expenditures include:

  • Operating equipment
  • Real estate
  • Tenant improvement to real estate
  • Construction of a new building
  • Refinancing for business debt
  • Purchase of an existing business
  • Working capital

Loan amounts can range from $350,000 to $5 million dollars. Loans are offered in 10-year and 25-year terms. They’re fully amortized, meaning that the monthly payment will be the same through the life of the loan. There’s usually no pre-payment penalty after the first 3 years.

Kris says the ideal candidate should have experience working in a commercial brewery. Planning on opening a brewpub, have restaurant or hospitality experience. Basically, show that your past experience applies to running a brewery.

If you’re a homebrewer wanting to get an SBA loan, it could help to have awards for your beer. So start entering in contests!

Lastly, Kris says, it’s good to work with a lender that has experience in the industry. If you’re in California, Arizona, Nevada, Washington, or Oregon, and you need funds to start or expand a brewery, get in touch with Kris.

“Not every startup is something that a lender is going to be able to finance.” [Tweet This]

Listener question:

From Josh Button: How much business experience should I have? What kind of experience or education would you ecommend?

Book recommendation:

Check out the entire list of recommended books, click here.

An upcoming beer style:

Pale ale

Other resources:

You can reach Kris Kennedy and First Community Bank at:

Sponsor:

Support MicroBrewr

Help keep MicroBrewr on the air. CLICK HERE for ways you can help.

The post MicroBrewr 066: How to get an SBA loan for a startup brewery appeared first on MicroBrewr.

May 26 2015

48mins

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Rank #14: MicroBrewr 007: So You Think You Want to Open a Microbrewery… w/ HenHouse Brewing

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Have You Ever Thought that You’d Like to Open a Microbrewery?

Through connecting with the MicroBrewr community and doing the weekly podcast, I’ve been lucky to talk with so many amazing people who are looking to turn their dreams into a reality and open a microbrewery.  The thought of leaving the 9-5 and going on your own path is an adventure that sounds like a dream come true.  Being able to leave the office behind to brew and drink beer all day, what could be better?  Well, we don’t want to kill anybody’s dreams but there is a lot more work that comes when you open a microbrewery than just brewing and drinking beer.  In this podcast, we’ll go through the typical life of a brewer to try to give a good perspective on what to expect if you do take that next step to open a microbrewery.

Meet Collin From HenHouse Brewing Company

Collin McDonnell is one of the three founders of Henhouse Brewing Company.  HenHouse started selling beer two years ago and over that time have been raising money to quit their jobs to go at it full time.  One reason why I really wanted to talk to Collin is that he wrote a great article on the “real life” of working in the brewery where he was very transparent on the not so exciting parts of running the business day to day.  As we went through the podcast, you can tell that Collin’s focus on the details comes from a passion that HenHouse puts into their beer to make sure they are making a quality product that they can be proud of.

Here’s some of the topics that we’ll cover in the podcast:

  • The amount of data collection that is required to put out quality beer that tastes the same every time
  • How much cleaning is really required in the brewing process
  • The benefits of leasing space from another brewery (alternating proprietorship) instead of starting with your own equipment
  • The need to think about how your brewery will be different that others in the area
  • How to pick your partners to leverage their strengths when you open a microbrewery
  • Why maintaining great relationships with regulators needs to be a priority
  • The benefits of working at a brewery before you start your own
  • The power of a vision to keep you focused on the end goal

Here are the Links of Stuff We Talked About and Spots Where You Can Find Out More About HenHouse

HenHouse Brewing Company Facebook Page

HenHouse Twitter Page

Collin’s Article “So You Think You Want to Open a Brewery”

Petaluma Hills Brewing Company

Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB)

61 Brewers Speak Out: What I Wish I’d Known Before Starting a Brewery

An Ode to Beer Drinkers by Collin McDonnell

Beer Talks 2014 w/ Collin

21st Amendment

Beach Chalet

Drake’s Brewing Company

Are You Enjoying the MicroBrewr Podcast?

If you like this podcast on what it’s like to open a microbrewery, I would really appreciate it if you would give me a rating in iTunes to help spread the word about the podcast.  All you need to do is search for MicroBrewr in the iTunes store or you can use link this link here (then just click “View in iTunes”).  Giving a rating in iTunes will continue to push the podcast up in the rankings which help get the podcast into the ears of more people.  Thanks in advance!

Give the MicroBrewr Podcast a Review on iTunes

 You might also like:

MicroBrewr 022: Expanding to… India!, with Arbor Brewing Company Brewpub in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

Support MicroBrewr

Help keep MicroBrewr on the air. CLICK HERE for ways you can help.

The post MicroBrewr 007: So You Think You Want to Open a Microbrewery… w/ HenHouse Brewing appeared first on MicroBrewr.

Apr 15 2014

40mins

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Rank #15: MicroBrewr 067: How to find investors for a brewery

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UPDATE: Mistakes and clarifications have been corrected, per Jenny Kassan.

You planned the brewery of your dreams. You researched the market and you know it will be profitable. But you don’t have a million dollars under your pillow to start it. Now how to find investors for a brewery?

Jenny Kassan, an attorney and consultant in Oakland, California, graduated from Yale law and worked for 11 years helping to build really small businesses. For the last 9 years she worked in securities law, “the very highly regulated world of raising money for a business.” Now she does consulting and teaches classes on how to raise funds for businesses.

As soon as you ask someone to invest in your brewery, you’re conducting a “security offering,” which is regulated by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), as well as the securities regulators in each state where you offer the investment.

“Even if the regulators don’t catch you and fine you, you have created this liability for your company,” cautions Jenny. “If, for example, one of your investors was unhappy later and wanted their money back because you couldn’t afford to pay them or something, they could complain. And then it would be uncovered that you never did comply with those laws. And they would have a pretty good case against you.”

First, some background info.

There are generally 2 kinds of investments:

  1. Equity – ownership in the company
  2. Debt (loan) – must be paid back

There are 2 kinds of investors:

  1. Accredited investor – A person with a net worth of $1 million (excluding his or her primary residence) or annual income of $200,000, or an entity with $5 million in assets.
  2. Unaccredited investor

If you offer a security only to accredited investors, the legal compliance hurdles are generally fewer. However, there are legal ways to include both kinds of investors in your offering.

Until you have ensured that your offering is legally compliant, don’t solicit investors directly. Also don’t advertise your offering publicly unless you have done the legal compliance that allows advertising. At this point, don’t solicit investors directly, just ask general questions.

Anything other than one-on-one communication is considered advertising, which is regulated by the SEC.

“Have some informal conversations with potential investors,” Jenny instructs, “and say, ‘I’m thinking about raising some money—I’m not doing it now, but I’m thinking about.’”

Then ask general “if scenarios.” For example, “If I were to offer an investment opportunity in my brewery:”

  • Would you be more interested in equity or debt?
  • How would you expect to get paid back?
  • How long would you be willing to have your money tied up?
  • What kind of perks would you want?

The laws are flexible enough that you can design your investment agreement in lots of different ways.

“There’s a lot of kinds of equity that can look a lot like debt,” says Jenny. “There’s also debt that can look more like equity, where the payment that you make to your investor can vary based on the success of the company.”

After both parties come to agreement, they each need to talk with an attorney to make sure their desired agreement is legally compliant.

Most investments require some kinds of securities filing at the state or federal level or both.

After you figure what you’re willing to offer, you might be ready to conduct an offering. Talk to an attorney to help you do the necessary filings.

Direct Public Offerings

If you want to do a Direct Public Offering which allows you to do public advertising and include unlimited number of both accredited and unaccredited investors, you may need to file a Form D with the SEC and register with your state regulators. The filing requires attachments such as:

  • “Prospectus”
    • Risks
    • Business Plan
    • Description of management team and qualifications
    • Anything investors would need to help them make a decision
  • Sample security to be offered
  • Organizational documents for the company
  • etc.

The filing fee can range from a few hundred to a couple thousand dollars. Legal fees usually range from $15,000 – $30,000. It sounds like a lot, but if you’re opening a million dollar brewery, it’s a worthy 3% of the overall budget.

“I think it’s possible to do without an attorney,” speculates Jenny. “It’s certainly not the best strategy. It may take you twice as long and it may be a nightmare, but you should be able to get through the process.”

If you go at it without an attorney, remember that the regulators are there to help. So work with them, respond to all of their questions, and make their requested changes.

Once you get approval from the regulators for your Direct Public Offering, now find money!

Advertise your offering:

  • Talk to media
  • Get in the newspaper
  • Put it on your website
  • Send mass emails
  • Host parties and events
  • “Set up a million meetings”

Have your investor packet ready for when people want to know more.

“The best thing to think about,” says Jenny, “is to put yourself in their shoes and ask yourself, ‘What is everything I would want to know if I were them, before making a decision?’”

Include anything to help them make a decision, even the risks.

“If they find out later that you didn’t disclose something that was material to their decision,” cautions Jenny, “they could sue you and say you misrepresented what the opportunity was.”

Vet your investors

Another important thing is to make sure each investor is a good fit.

“You don’t want to accept the first investor that says ‘yes,’” cautions Jenny.

Find investors with whom you get along, and with whom your values and vision for the business align.

“When you are bringing in a fairly large investor,” says Jenny, “they may have a pretty big role that they are playing in your life for the next 10 years.”

And maybe we should saying something like… Of course this is lot legal advice. The laws are highly complex and vary from state to state. You need to speak to an attorney about your specific situation.

“You really have to vet your investors in the same way that they’re vetting you.” [Tweet This]

Listener question:

If you could ask one question to every brewer or brewery owner, what would you ask? Let me know.

Book recommendation:

Check out the entire list of recommended books, click here.

An upcoming beer style:

Cider

Other resources:

You can reach Jenny Kassan and her legal work at:

Sponsors:

Audible

Download a free audiobook.

Support MicroBrewr

Help keep MicroBrewr on the air. CLICK HERE for ways you can help.

The post MicroBrewr 067: How to find investors for a brewery appeared first on MicroBrewr.

Jun 02 2015

1hr 9mins

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Rank #16: MicroBrewr 003: The Power of A Story w/ Adelbert’s Brewery

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Welcome to Another MicroBrewr Podcast!

I’ve just got to say that I am having a blast doing this podcast and there are many more to come.  If you’re new to MicroBrewr, I’m here to help out if you’re looking at starting up a craft brewery or want to take your brewery to the next level.  For the podcast, I get the pleasure of talking with a number of people in the craft beer industry to spread the knowledge to the rest of the community.  If you’re thinking of starting a brewery, I’d also check out the 12 question guide you can use to help figure out the financials when in the planning stages.  Welcome and if you get a chance, I’d love to connect with you through Facebook or Twitter (you can always use my contact page too!).

Telling a Story Through Beer and a Brewery w/ Adelbert’s Brewery

The craft brewing industry is full of amazing people and Sarah Zomper Haney from Adelbert’s Brewery is no exception!  Adelbert’s Brewery is located in Austin, TX and focuses on Belgian-style brewing and bottle-conditions their beers.  Sarah and I will discuss topics from marketing, distribution, branding, social media and everything in between.

Subscribe on iTunes

Subscribe on Stitcher

In this episode we’ll talk about:

  • How to use a story to name your brewery and create a personal connection with your customers
  • Using social media and word-of-mouth to promote your brewery
  • The power of the brewery tour
  • Bringing in food trucks and incorporating beer into food
  • How to make use of spare brewing capacity
  • Expanding distribution into other markets and educating distributors
  • Making your beer stand out and the importance of labeling
  • Converting people into the craft beer movement
  • Sarah’s outlook on the craft beer market

Check out the Adelbert’s Brewery or Enjoy Their Bottle-Conditioned Goodness!

Show your support to Sarah and Adelbert’s Brewery for all of the great information that they shared by going on a brewery tour or buying some Adelbert’s beer.  It’s a beautiful thing when you can give back by drinking beer:)  Here’s some of the ways you can connect with Adelberts!

Adelbert’s Website

Facebook – Connect with Adelbert’s Brewery

Twitter – Follow Adelbert’s

Find Adelbert’s Beer

Like This Podcast and Want to Give Back?

If you like this podcast and all of the free info that I’ve been working to get out to help the brewing community, I would really appreciate it if you would give me a rating in iTunes and share this podcast with your friends.  All you need to do is search for MicroBrewr in the iTunes store or you can use link this link here.  Giving a rating in iTunes will continue to push the podcast up in the rankings which help get the word out to more people.  The support I’ve had with three podcasts in has been so awesome and if there’s anything that I can do for your help promoting the podcast, let me know!

Share the MicroBrewr Podcast on Facebook

Share the MicroBrewr Podcast on Twitter

You might also like:

MicroBrewr 028: Repaving the way for women in craft beer, with Scarlet Lane Brewing Company in McCordsville, Indiana.

Support MicroBrewr

Help keep MicroBrewr on the air. CLICK HERE for ways you can help.

The post MicroBrewr 003: The Power of A Story w/ Adelbert’s Brewery appeared first on MicroBrewr.

Mar 10 2014

25mins

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Rank #17: MicroBrewr 016: Nanobreweries rise up!

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In this episode I talk with Nick Ellis, founder and brewmaster at Opposition Brewing Co. in Medford, Oregon.

In 2011 Nick was employed as a bookkeeper when he received notice that he would loose his job within a year. So he and his wife, Erin partnered with Dennis and Penni Poncia to start the nanobrewery in Oregon’s Rogue Valley. They began with a 0.5-BBL system, but soon moved up to a 1.5-BBL system. Now they’re getting ready to install a 7-BBL system and are planning to package beer for distribution.

In the beginning, all 4 of them worked 12-hour days, 7 days a week. Now approaching their second anniversary, they’re getting things smoothed out and they each work about 9-hour days, 6 days a week.

We discuss the viability of CSA programs for homebrewers. Following the Community Supported Agriculture model, a box would be delivered to your doorstep on a regular basis. Rather than produce, it would have locally-grown ingredients for making your own beer.

Nick fully debunks any claims that nanobreweries cannot be profitable.

He also shares some great advice, including:

  • Vet and register your name before using it
  • Plan for yeast management
  • Engage your customers with a fun, creative club

Listener question:

From Christina Sierra: Tell me why you brew what you do.

Book recommendation:

Check out the entire list of recommended books, click here.

An upcoming beer style:

Flanders red

Other resources:

You can reach Nick Ellis and Opposition Brewing Co. at:

Support MicroBrewr

Help keep MicroBrewr on the air. CLICK HERE for ways you can help.

The post MicroBrewr 016: Nanobreweries rise up! appeared first on MicroBrewr.

Jul 03 2014

39mins

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Rank #18: MicroBrewr 041: A flagship nanobrewery in a tourist town

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Danny Robinson had the choice of building a giant brewery in the middle of nowhere, or a tiny brewery right on the beach and boardwalk. He chose the later and made Backshore Brewing Co. in Ocean City, Maryland.

“The plan from the beginning was to have this nanobrewery up on the boardwalk, be the flagship of the brand.”

It seems to be working. In a town whose population fluctuates from 3,000 in the winter to 300,000 in the summer, Backshore has a 1-BBL brewhouse and has beer made under contract to meet demand.

I first heard about Backshore Brewing from Alexis Irvin, who spoke with us on MicroBrewr Podcast 040. Check out episode 40 to hear about Blood, Sweat, and Beer documentary and to get a coupon code for 20% off the price when your order a digital download of the movie.

Some of Danny’s advice to others:

  • Get really deep with the math.
  • Get a mentor and find more mentors.
  • Play to your strengths.
  • Be honest with yourself, but keep trusting yourself.
  • Don’t underestimate the power of packaging and marketing.

Brewery specs:

Kettle size: 1 BBL.

Size and quantity of fermentation tanks: 4, 2-BBL fermenters.

Size and quantity of bright tanks: 2, 2-BBL bright tanks, sometimes used as fermenters.

Annual brewing capacity/last year’s production: Brewed 200 BBL last year, contracted 400 BBL for distribution.

Square footage: 600 sq. ft., with 500 sq. ft deck.

Years in operation: 2.5 years (opened May 2012).

“A business is very different from a hobby.” [Tweet This]

Listener question:

From Federico Nussbaum: How can we find out how many beers to have on tap in the start? How can we find out which styles to serve in our local area?

Book recommendation:

Check out the entire list of recommended books, click here.

An upcoming beer style:

Ciders

Other resources:

You can reach Danny Robinson and Backshore Brewing Co. at:

Support MicroBrewr

Help keep MicroBrewr on the air. CLICK HERE for ways you can help.

The post MicroBrewr 041: A flagship nanobrewery in a tourist town appeared first on MicroBrewr.

Dec 23 2014

58mins

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Rank #19: MicroBrewr 047: Proof of concept for a brewpub co-op

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If you’re thinking of starting a brewpub, the cooperative business model might be the way to go. Chris Hamje has been at Black Star Co-op Pub and Brewery, in Austin, Texas, since shortly after they opened. He explains how the cooperative model plays out for their operation.

Jessica Brook Deahl, an accomplished and self-proclaimed “Beer Artist” at her opening show with head brewer Chris Hamje of Black Star Co-op.

“There’s a lot of precedence for a worker-owned factory model,” explains Chris. “When you look at beer, this is a very high-tech fabrication plant. The model works very well, the precedence is there historically, for this exact operational process. When you take the people who are moving parts of this factory, giving the most creative input in what the product is like, you suddenly have something really special. And that works really well in the craft beer movement.”

There are many ways to organize a brewery co-op. Black Star has 2 member bases.

There are about 3,000 “patrons” worldwide, who pay $150 for a lifetime membership, and gain the right to elect a 9-seat board of directors.

The “workers assembly” has great autonomy as they follow the board policies on a day-to-day basis. Employees must work at the co-op for one year before going before an election to gain a place on the workers assembly. The workers assembly has one meeting each month, and votes on day-to-day operations.

Other podcasts about breweries as co-ops:

MicroBrewr 046: Start your brewery as a worker-owned co-op

MicroBrewr 049: Planning California’s first cooperative brewpub

Chris is currently preparing to start a production, package brewery, 4th Tap Brewing Co-op, in Austin that will also be a co-op. He has lots of advice, including:

  • Look at how your state’s laws treat a co-op.
  • Choose a location with high visibility.
  • Take a class in organic chemistry.
  • Hire an extra staff member.

Last week we talked with Sustainable Economies Law Center to get an overview of the cooperative business model and how it might apply to a brewery. Next week we’ll hear from San Jose Co-op Brew Pub about their plans to start California’s first co-op brewery.

Brewery specs:

Kettle size: 10 BBL.

Size and quantity of fermentation tanks: 4, 10-BBL.

Size and quantity of bright tanks: 5, 10-BBL.

Annual brewing capacity/last year’s production: A little over 700 BBL.

Square footage: Around 900 sq. ft., including a mezzanine.

Years in operation: 4 years (opened 2010).

“Always have that little bit of fear that drives you to learn more.” [Tweet This]

Listener question:

From Zack Chance: Where do you recommend buying ingredients on the West Coast? How do estimate the number of customers in a year?

Book recommendation:

Check out the entire list of recommended books, click here.

An upcoming beer style:

Sour Beer

Other resources:

You can reach Chris Hamje and Black Star Co-op Pub and Brewery at:

Sponsors:

San Jose Co-op Brewpub

“Be co-owner in California’s first co-op brewpub.”

Support MicroBrewr

Help keep MicroBrewr on the air. CLICK HERE for ways you can help.

The post MicroBrewr 047: Proof of concept for a brewpub co-op appeared first on MicroBrewr.

Jan 27 2015

55mins

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Rank #20: MicroBrewr 081: An R&D laboratory for craft beer

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The guys at Portland Kettle Works had the idea to start a nanobrewery. They needed one of their employees to run it, so Chris Sears stepped up and took charge of Labrewatory in Portland, Oregon.

“If Portland is anywhere close to being saturated, the rest of the U.S. has a long way to go.” [Tweet This]

Labrewatory won’t be just a nanobrewery. It will be part R&D and showroom for Portland Kettle Works, part collaboration brew lab, pilot brewhouse for hire, a brewing classroom, and who knows what else they’ll think of.

Chris hopes Labrewatory will be a “craft beer geek haven” and a “hub for creative new beer.” He’s been working on the project since the beginning. Now that it’s almost open to the public, he has some lessons to share.

In hindsight, Chris feels they could have spent less time on architecture and design. But he cautions that the plans entail not only what facilities you will have in the building, but also where in the building they will be located. He recommends that you check with the permit inspectors early on and go over your plans with a “fine-toothed comb” to make sure everything follows the codes.

They don’t have to advertise this new nanobrewery too much. They’re raising interest by word-of-mouth and social media. Collaboration beers with other breweries will also be key to their advertising and marketing plan.

Chris iterates a sentiment shared throughout the craft beer industry: community, not competition.

“Collaborations,” he says, “are the definition of community involvement.”

RELATED: MicroBrewr 078: Around the world and back with the craft beer industry

Before doing this project, Chris had been homebrewing for about 5 years. For any homebrewer wanting to go pro, he recommends just starting.

“Just go out there and do it!” he exclaims.

“There’s a lot of money out there. Go out and find that money,” says Chris. “The biggest hurdle right now is finding money. I think it’s just either they are scared to ask or they don’t know the avenues to go and find it. There are definitely investors out there.”

About the potential of a “bubble” or a decreasing demand in craft beer, Chris says: “Portland definitely shows the industry that a neighborhood can support a brewery. Are you going to be the next Sam Adams? Probably not. But are you going to be able to support your family and support employees? Definitely, definitely. So as far as a bubble goes, I don’t see really one in sight.”

Brewery specs:

Kettle size: 3.5 BBL, but we can do 4 BBL.

Size and quantity of fermentation tanks: A mix of 7-BBL and 3.5-BBL fermenters. Capacity for up to 12 fermenters.

Size and quantity of bright tanks: We will be mostly kegging after conditioning, so around 4.

Annual brewing capacity/last year’s production: Approx. 1,000 BBL.

Square footage: Approx. 5,000 sq. ft. including brewery, tap room, and mezzanine.

Years in operation: Comnig soon (opening October 2015).

Listener question:

From Old Louisville Brew: If the bubble does exist, where and when will it hit? For example, shelf space, tap space, customer saturation, etc.

Can’t-go-without tool:

Pump on a cart, with variable frequency drive (VFD).

Book recommendation:

Check out the entire list of recommended books, click here.

An upcoming beer style:

Sour beer

Other resources:

You can reach Chris Sears and Labrewatory at:

Sponsors:

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The post MicroBrewr 081: An R&D laboratory for craft beer appeared first on MicroBrewr.

Sep 15 2015

53mins

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