Breweries are popping up all over the country as demand for craft beer increases. This is a trend among major cities, and there is a growing demand for microbreweries in rural and suburban areas. According to the US Brewers Association, craft beer production increased by eight percent in 2021 from 2020, while the general beer market increased only by one percent. The share of craft beer in the $100 billion beer market is now $26.8 billion.
Opening a local brewery can be a lucrative business venture, but it’s essential to do your research first. You need to take into account several things before starting a brewery, from licensing and zoning requirements to the cost of equipment and ingredients. Here are some tips.
What is a Craft Brewery?
The US Brewers Association defines a craft brewery as small, producing not more than six million barrels per year. It must be independent, meaning its majority owner is the craft brewer. Not more than 25 percent is owned by a non-brewer.
Craft breweries are also distinguished by their innovation, creating new beer styles and flavors. Apart from the traditional ingredients, they include new natural elements that people watch for. They are known to have a direct relationship with customers. Craft breweries are also known for their involvement in their respective communities through sponsorships and donations.
Types of Breweries
There are two types of breweries: microbreweries and nanobreweries.
Microbreweries produce small batches of beer, usually around 15 barrels or less per batch. They often sell their beer on-site, in restaurants, and in stores. Nanobreweries are even smaller than microbreweries, producing even smaller batches of beer.
Now that you know what a craft brewery is and the different types of breweries, you may be wondering how to start your own local brewery. Here are some tips.
Know the Regulations
Before you start a brewery, it’s essential to be aware of the regulations surrounding alcohol production. In the United States, the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) regulates alcohol production. You will need to obtain a Federal Brewer’s Notice before starting brewing beer commercially.
You will also need to get state and local licenses and permits. Each state has its own set of rules and regulations, so it’s essential to research what is required in your state. Some states may require you to get a license from the State Liquor Authority.
In addition to licenses and permits, you will also need to comply with zoning laws. You will need to find a zoned location for commercial use that meets all the safety requirements for a brewery.
Get High-Quality Equipment
Another critical factor to consider when starting a brewery is equipment cost. Depending on the size and scale of your operation, you will need to purchase brewing vessels, fermentation tanks, and kegs. You need a high-quality food-grade transfer pump to bottle or can your beer. This will ensure that the quality of your product is protected without degradation, and a consistent amount is dispensed.
You will also need to invest in packaging materials, such as bottles, caps, cans, labels, and cases. You may also want to consider investing in a tap system if you plan on selling beer on-site. The cost of commercial brewing equipment can range from a few thousand dollars to hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Source Your Ingredients
In addition to the cost of equipment, you will also need to factor in the cost of ingredients. The three main ingredients in beer are water, malt, and hops. You will also need yeast for fermentation.
To create a unique flavor profile, you may want to source local ingredients. For example, if you’re located in the Pacific Northwest, you may want to use Cascade hops in your beer.
You will also need to factor in the cost of packaging and shipping when sourcing your ingredients. If you’re using local ingredients, you may be able to find a supplier who offers free delivery.
Include Non-Alcoholic Beer in Your Products
Non-alcoholic beer is popular among health enthusiasts. It’s also popular among people who are trying to reduce their alcohol intake. Including non-alcoholic beer in your product lineup is a great way to appeal to a wider range of customers.
There are a few different ways to make non-alcoholic beer. The most common method is to remove the alcohol after fermentation. This can be done through evaporation or by using a reverse osmosis system. Another method is to brew beer with lower alcohol content from the start. This is done by adding less fermentable sugars during the brewing process.
Whatever process you choose, ensure that you create unique flavors that will have customers looking for your products. This is how you can differentiate yourself from the competition.
Find the Right Location
As we mentioned earlier, it’s important to find a location that is zoned for commercial use and that meets all the safety requirements for a brewery. The size of your brewery will also dictate the size of the space you need.
If you’re planning on selling beer on-site, you will need to find a location that has enough space for a taproom. You may also want to find a location that has a kitchen so you can serve food
If you’re planning on selling beer to retailers, you will need to find a location with enough space to store your finished product. You will also need space for a packaging area and a shipping/receiving area.
With a bit of planning and hard work, you can turn your passion for brewing into a landmark local business. Just be sure to follow the tips outlined in this article and you’ll be on your way to success.