Make your own brew
6 tips to help you get started with your own brewery
While the prospect of opening your own brewery is thrilling and motivating, it can also be terrifying. It’s natural to be apprehensive about new experiences, but when it comes to brewing and the craft beer business in general, there are plenty of tools to help — including ours! Here are six things you should know about starting a brewery in the early phases.
1. Define your WHY
It’s important to define your mission in any business, but it’s extremely important when beginning a brewery. Because the chances of generating millions from this enterprise aren’t as widespread as they are in other industries, being in the beer business often starts as a labor of love.
That isn’t to say you shouldn’t aspire for the stars! You can make a lot of money if you do it well, but you need to focus on your unique value proposition when you first start out. Consider what you have to offer that no one else does, and turn that into your brand. People are more likely to be linked to you, your marketing, and your fantastic beer if they are aware of you.
As a brewer, shipping independent beer is a very different operation than shipping other commodities. Beer must be kept at a temperature of 10° to 13° Celsius (50° to 55° Fahrenheit) or it will begin to taste bad, but that is only the beginning of the distribution process. You’ll also need to learn how to ship to a local market and how to go up to national and international markets.
Even though you won’t have to worry about shipment for a while, you should still be prepared in case it happens. Be aware that delivering huge quantities of beer can be costly, and that cost must be factored into the price of your beer and the wages you pay your staff.
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3. Legal Requirements
Selling anything comes with its own set of regulations, but distributing alcohol is a very different story. Consult your local legal counsel for assistance in locating or filling out the different forms required in your country or region.
Having a great name for your brewery is just as important as producing great beer because it expresses who you are, what you stand for, what you believe in, and why someone should care about you even before they see your logo and packaging. It serves as the foundation for your company’s brand identification, packaging, tasting room atmosphere, marketing, and overall culture. It can follow you for years if it isn’t carefully thought out.
5. How to market yourself
Local breweries still have to compete with the biggest brands. Depending on where you operate in the world, as a craft brewery, you may have the upper hand. For example, Germany and people living in Germany, all love craft beers and often choose a local beer over other alcoholic beverages.
If there is enough demand for your particular beer, you can be successful anywhere, but you have a better chance of selling in larger cities with younger audiences. Bringing your beer to market is your biggest hurdle. So whenever possible, offer free samples at local bars or festivals.
6. Know your community
The craft beer industry is more of a community than a niche of its own. The sooner you meet other seasoned brewers, the more likely you are to develop lasting networking opportunities. Craft beer makers and local mentors like to share private information about the industry and are not afraid of other competitors as there is enough room on the market.
It’s okay to ask anyone other than your direct competitor for a tour of the local brewery. This way, you can see exactly how they built their business, what works for them, and why.
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