49 minutes | Dec 28, 2018
MicroBrewr 093: Sharing profits and building community with a cooperative brewery
William Hubbard and Mike Johnson are helping to build the Broken Clock Brewing Cooperative in Minneapolis, Minnesota. It follows the cooperative brewery business model. Cooperative breweries are an increasingly popular way to build a local brewery that helps build the community. We’ve previously talked a bit about the subject on MicroBrewr Podcast and blog. Other posts about breweries as coops: MicroBrewr: 046: Start your brewery as a worker-owned co-op MicroBrewr 047: Proof of concept for a brewpub co-op MicroBrewr 049: Planning California first cooperative brewpub For a brewery truly rooted in the community, consider forming a cooperative by Sara Stephens, MicroBrewr, February 17, 2015. Now here’s an example of a cooperative brewery that is up and running, brewing their own beer, splitting the profits, investing in the community, and building a community around the co-op. The idea of employee ownership, and especially co-ops are becoming quite popular in the craft beer scene. Every cooperative brewery will be set up differently. Here’s one example and lots of ideas for your brewery to follow this model. Some attributes of the Broken Clock Brewing Cooperative include: Established in September 2015, doors opened at the physical location in May 2017. The rules of one-person, one-vote and one-person, one-equity share ensure equality and allows inclusiveness. The board consists of 15 volunteers from the membership. Currently, the only paid positions are 2 operations managers and 4 staff. There are 2 levels of membership at different costs: Regular or Brewer. Benefits of regular membership include: 10% discount on merchandise $1-off during monthly pint nights Share of profits (3-6% of total profits will be divided evenly) Brewer members have the additional benefit of being allowed to brew. This benefit is exercised as unpaid/volunteer for work experience or just to have fun. “Even though we are working a lot more than we probably used to, we are not staring at the clock waiting for the day to be over.” [Tweet This] Broken Clock Brewing Cooperative took a big step forward when they bought equipment and took over the lease from another brewery. The space has become something of an incubator for breweries. Two previous breweries had grown in size enough to move to larger spaces, so they sold to the next brewery. Now Broken Clock has become successful enough they are considering how to pass the torch to a fourth brewery that could operate in the same location. Funding for a cooperative brewery can come from a variety of tradition or innovative sources. Broken Clock received funding from: Financial donors Membership fees MNvest, equity crowdfunding for Minnesota Financing through a local bank “Banks were very scared to go with us,” says Hubbard, “there are very few brewing co-ops in Minnesota. So we had to hit the pavement really hard and tell people about our dream, about our vision, and we were finally able to connect with a bank that was willing to work with us.” We also talked about employee safety in a commercial brewery: Working with compressed gas Carbon dioxide poisoning Heavy-lifting Working with chemicals Working with steam OSHA work safety standards Minnesota Craft Brewers Guild does have monthly safety meetings. However, worker safety in the craft beer industry isn’t a topic that is broadly discussed. Yet, worker safety should always be a top priority. Loss of work, workers compensation claims, and other liabilities are commercial concerns aside from just taking care of your employees. As the craft beer industry becomes more prolific and professionalized, expect to see greater attention to this topic. Brewery specs: Kettle size: 7 BBL. Boil kettle, 7 BBL mash tun, 10 BBL hot liquor tank. Size and quantity of fermentation tanks: 3, 10-BBL fermenters. Size and quantity of bright tanks: 1, 10-BBL brite tanks. Annual brewing capacity/last year’s production: Should be on track to do 750-800 BBLs this year. Square footage: 780 sq. ft. for production brewery. Added 5,000 sq. ft. for taproom which opened Nov 2018. At least 1,000 sq. ft. will be allocated to upcoming brewery expansion. Years in operation: 4 months (at the time of recording; opened May 2017). Listener question: From Gastón Rivera via Twitter: Why open a brewery? To brew another IPA or another sour? Can’t-go-without tool: Rubber Boots. Squeegee. Book recommendation: Practical Handbook for the Specialty Brewer 3-volume set by Karl Ockert (Editor). Brewery Operations Manual by Tom Hennessy. Operation Brewery: A Step-by-Step Guide to Building a Brewery on a Budget by Eddie Oldfield, Mike McGovern, and Dan Norris. Check out the entire list of recommended books, click here. An upcoming beer style: New England IPA Other resources: Is Groupon a Good Choice For Your Brewery Marketing Strategy?, Fill Your Taproom. 56 Brewing, Minneapolis, Minnesota. Minnesota Craft Brewers Guild. Maple Island Brewing, Stillwater, Minnesota. Wicked Wort Brewing Company, Robbinsdale, Minnesota. MNvest, equity crowdfunding for Minnesota. Fair State Brewing Cooperative, Minneapolis, Minnesota. Blue Nose Gopher Public House Cooperative, Granite Falls, Minnesota. Operation Brewery podcast, Black Hops Brewery, Burleigh Heads, QLD, Australia Co-op law is different in each state. Be sure to consult your own attorney. You can reach William Hubbard, Mike Johnson and Broken Clock Brewing Cooperative at: http://brokenclockbrew.com/ Facebook: brokenclockbrewing Twitter: BrokenClockbrew Instagram: brokenclockbrew Untappd: BrokenClockBrewingCooperative Sponsors: Support MicroBrewr Help keep MicroBrewr on the air. CLICK HERE for ways you can help. The post MicroBrewr 093: Sharing profits and building community with a cooperative brewery appeared first on MicroBrewr.
62 minutes | Dec 31, 2017
MicroBrewr 092: Email marketing for breweries
Alex Standiford in Akron, Ohio started Fill Your Taproom to help breweries attract more customers. He does that through website development, social media management, branding, and email marketing. “It’s not about trying to get people to buy your stuff. It’s about building the relationship and then providing the information that empowers them to make a decision.” [Tweet This] Email isn’t dead and it’s not just for online digital businesses; email is important for “brick-and-mortar” real world business, too. In fact, email is an ever more important part of your overall marketing plan. Ninety percent of email gets delivered to an inbox whereas just 2 percent of your Facebook fans will see your post in their news feed. “You don’t have to think about email as generating sales directly,” says Alex. “If you think of marketing as getting someone to know, like, and trust you, and then making sure you’re top of mind whenever [that person] goes into a grocery store, you’re doing fine. That’s really most of the goal.” Your brewery can use email to: Build relationships and learn more about your customers. Educate your customers and empower them to make a decision. Fill your taproom by offering special deals or promoting events and beer releases. RELATED: 51 things your brewery can do with email “Especially if you already have a decent sized following online,” Alex advises, “it would be wise to start trying to migrate these people into your email list.” Focus less on where you get people to sign up to your email list, and more on what you do to get people to sign up. Offer them a reason to give you their email address, which many people keep very private. “People don’t give away their email address for no reason anymore,” says Alex. Alex advises you start growing your email list 8-12 months before opening your brewery. You can use the Facebook call-to-action button or a simple website that says “coming soon.” Then offer something that’s worth the exchange of their email. A couple ideas are: A PDF to teach customers about tasting beer The promise of VIP access to events Book recommendation: Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity by David Allen. Check out the entire list of recommended books, click here. An upcoming beer style: Gose and lighter beers Other resources: Easy Beer Lister WP plugin. Easy Age Verifier WP plugin. Brew IO free WP theme for breweries. 5 reasons every brewery needs and email list by Alex Standiford, MicroBrewr, August 1, 2016. 51 things your brewery can do with email by Alex Standiford, MicroBrewr, August 17, 2016. How to build a healthy email list for your craft brewery by Alex Standiford, MicroBrewr, September 2, 2016. Rhinegeist Brewery, Cincinnati, Ohio. MailChimp free email service provider. Nosferatu® Imperial Red Ale by Great Lakes Brewing Co., Cleveland, Ohio. You can reach Alex Standiford and Fill Your Taproom at: fillyourtaproom.com Facebook: fillyourtaproom Twitter: fillyourtaproom Instagram: fillyourtaproom Untappd: alexstandiford Sponsors: Support MicroBrewr Help keep MicroBrewr on the air. CLICK HERE for ways you can help. The post MicroBrewr 092: Email marketing for breweries appeared first on MicroBrewr.
46 minutes | Oct 11, 2016
MicroBrewr 091: Let them do the job you hired them to do
Michael Altman was in the industry for years when he bought a brewpub. Now he’s been operating Iron Springs Pub & Brewery in Fairfax, California for 12 years. Before they opened he had to have back surgery and totally reinvent his role for the brewpub. “You really need to live, breathe and be the beer.” [Tweet This] “The first 6 months we owned that pub, every single day I called my wife and said we’re selling this place, I can’t stand this, this is ridiculous,” recounts Michael. “Thank God for my wife who was my rock.” He went through 3 back surgeries. “It was hard for me to hang up my mash paddle,” says Michael. He still does some brewing, but mostly leaves the hard work to others. Hiring employees and letting them do the work you hire them to do has been essential to Iron Springs’ growth. They are on pace to produce approximately 2,000 BBLs of beer this year, which is an increase of 20 percent since last year. They have 16 taps for 10 draft beers, one cask, and 4 handcrafted sodas. Iron Springs Pub & Brewery now has 50 staff, 4 are in the brewery. To hire more staff Michael recommends: Figure out what needs to be done Figure out who you are going to hire for each task Hire people who can do the job Let them do the job you hired them to do It sounds simple, but it’s important to follow through and let others take your load off. Something else that has been very helpful for Iron Springs is the give back Tuesday. Every Tuesday they give 10% of profits to a local non-profit organization that focuses on education or the environment. Iron Springs has donated $160,000 in the last 6 years. “We love and we really believe in it, and that really translates to the community,” says Michael. “They really believe in it and they want to come out and support it. It’s a win-win for everybody.” Michael says certainly, “There’s no way in the world that I would started a brewery in today’s market.” There is too much competition, he says, compared to when he started. Although he does say, “A brewpub will work in neighborhood,” you have to have good branding. You have to figure out why people are coming to your place, and really focus on your story. The 3 keys are: Good ambiance Good service Good food and beer Brewery specs: Kettle size: 10 BBL. Size and quantity of fermentation tanks: 9, 10-BBL fermenters. Size and quantity of bright tanks: 10, 10-BBL serving tanks. Annual brewing capacity/last year’s production: 1,820 BBL. Square footage: 5,000 sq. ft. in the entire pub, 1,100 sq. ft. in the brewery. Years in operation: 12 years (opened October 2004). Listener question: From Awhile Pandey: When can you tell whether you are known as a brewery pub with exciting beer that people like, or you have become known more as a restaurant with beer just as a side thing? Is there any research on what kind of food formats and themes go well with a microbrewery pub layout? Can’t-go-without tool: Rubber boots, Bosch. Book recommendation: Setting the Table: The Transforming Power of Hospitality in Business by Danny Meyer. Designing Great Beers: The Ultimate Guide to Brewing Classic Beer Styles by Ray Daniels. Michael Jackson’s Great Beer Guide by Michael Jackson and Sharon Lucas. Sacred and Herbal Healing Beers: The Secrets of Ancient Fermentation by Brewers Publications. Check out the entire list of recommended books, click here. An upcoming beer style: Session beer Other resources: 61 Brewers Speak Out: What I Wish I’d Know Before Starting a Brewery, MicroBrewr, February 9, 2014. McMenamins Pubs, Oregon and Washington. Mobile Bottling Source, Kirkland, Washington. Mountain Sun Pubs & Breweries, Boulder, Colorado. Packaging Design Happy Hour, AIGA, March 20, 2015. You can reach Michael Altman and Iron Springs Pub & Brewery at: ironspringspub.com Facebook: ironspringspub Twitter: ironspringspub Instagram: ironspringsbrewery Untappd: IronSprings Sponsors: Support MicroBrewr Help keep MicroBrewr on the air. CLICK HERE for ways you can help. The post MicroBrewr 091: Let them do the job you hired them to do appeared first on MicroBrewr.
14 minutes | Nov 17, 2015
MicroBrewr 090: State of the podcast
TRANSCRIPT: Welcome to MicroBrewr podcast. Where we talk about everything craft beer related, but especially for if want to start your own microbrewery or take your existing brewery to the next level. As usual, I’m Nathan Pierce, the host of MicroBrewr Podcast. So I just want to give you a short update today. This is going to be kind of a “state of the podcast” address to let you know some recent developments in my life that could potentially affect the future of MicroBrewr. So I just want to be transparent and honest and let you know what to expect. This is going to be just a short review of the past year for MicroBrewr and also an update of my plans to start a brewery, because some people ask about that. Myself wanting to start a brewery, has sort of become the premise of a lot of MicroBrewr, so I’ll talk briefly about that. MicroBrewr in 2015 Before we get to that, let’s sort of recap the last year of MicroBrewr. I want to use this time and sort of step back to reflect and see what sorts of lessons we have gotten from the last year of learning how to start a brewery. At the end of 2014, on New Year’s Even we had a similar episode, the year in review episode. It was a good time to reflect and project on the future at the time of MicroBrewr. That was episode 43 of the podcast, I had done 30 episodes since taking over for MicroBrewr founder Joe Shelerud. Now this is episode 90, so we’ve done 47 episodes since then. We started off the year with episodes of MicroBrewr Podcast organized sort of in series. We had series on: Breweries as co-ops Podcasting for breweries Women in craft beer Marketing and promotions Business plans, funding, and insurance Contract brewing Gluten-free beer and cider Among these series we had other interviews about Trademark issues Mobile canning Organizing a great opening night Making whiskey from craft beer A bunch of other breweries So we’ve learned a ton of great info. Lots of things just never would have occurred to me. The sense of community in the craft beer industry is really prolific and prevalent. Community really is exemplified the most when the business is organized as a cooperative. There a few ways that can happen, like a consumer co-op or a worker owned co-op, but either way, it’s all about people working together to help everyone out. Costs as well as profits are spread out more evenly, everyone contributes and everyone has a sense of ownership and pride. So it really brings out the best work, the best product quality, and the most benefits for a larger number of people. Anyway, it was really cool to see how much the co-op movement is growing within craft beer. Just through the course of this past year, there are a lot more co-op breweries starting all over the country. Another thing I have learned is that cider is really cool! We started the gluten-free series with Bard’s Tale Beer Company, but then we went into cider and talked with Common Cider Company, 101 Cider House and Wandering Aengus Ciderworks. Some of the stats we heard about the growth of cider, even just that cider was way more popular than beer in the U.S. before Prohibition, is pretty cool. The growth alone, from a business standpoint, makes you gotta look. But something that stands out the most for me is how cider is sort of closer to a natural product, kind of the way wine is viewed in that regard, but cider attracts the cool, open-minded, experimental people of the craft beer world. So it’s like the best of both things. And that’s really attractive to me. The gluten-free aspect is a bonus because some people in my life are allergic to gluten. I can eat gluten, but it’s kind of a bummer to think they can’t enjoy most beers that I could have. Anyway, we’ve learned so much this year. It’s so rewarding to receive emails from literally around the world telling me how much you have learned from the podcast and the blog, telling me your cool stories of starting your own brewery, or just thanking me for doing this. I do put in a lot of time on MicroBrewr. Maybe someone else could do it more efficiently, I didn’t realize when I took this on that I was getting into the whole blogging world. Wow, what an eye-opening experience that has been. There’s a whole segment of the population with online journals or full-on internet media outlets. Some people do it for fun on the side, some people make an ok living at it by itself. Believe it or not, some people are bringing in very lucrative incomes from blogging and podcasts and such. I am not one of those people. With as many hours as I put in, MicroBrewr does make some money. It’s a little bit more than the expenses of just keeping it online. MicroBrewr in 2016 So, this is where I’m going with that, I did get a job. It is not a job in the craft beer industry. It is a full-time job. I will be paid a good wage and I won’t descend into oblivion of despair. I signed an offer letter with the City of San Francisco. I’ll be doing grants work, similar to what I was doing at my last job, where I worked for 7 years, so that’s where I’m most skilled in the workforce. And it feels really good to be gainfully employed again, and especially putting my skills to work, even though I haven’t yet started working. Hopefully by the time you hear this, I’ll be filling out the paperwork, going through orientation and all that stuff. I’m eager to do my best work and give them all I can to make the City of San Francisco an even better place. It’s a 3-year position and who knows, maybe continue after that. I’m excited—and a little intimidated—to be moving to San Francisco. I’ve never lived in a big city before. It’s fun there. It’s diverse. It’s exciting. There are a lot of breweries, and cideries, and even a few distilleries. Not to mention the ocean and the Golden Gate Bridge and lots of bike lanes all these exciting things. So please wish me luck, wish me well. I don’t know exactly when or if ever I’ll be able to start a brewery. Maybe if I don’t get to continue on with the City after 3 years, I’ll get to open a cidery then. Or maybe I’ll keep working for the City of San Francisco and open a brewery on my spare time like Marta Jankowska from ChuckAlek Independent Brewers. In the meantime, I have to give my employer my best work and this is my priority. So this means, I’m seriously wondering how I’ll be able to keep MicroBrewr going. The whole point of MicroBrewr was to learn how to start a brewery. And I learned some things. If 2014 was the year of the nanobrewery for me, 2015 was the year of cider for me. Before I started doing MicroBrewr Podcast, talking to brewers, brewery owners, and other experts from the craft beer industry every week, I was not open to a nanobrewery as a business model. I just thought it wasn’t profitable. But now I’ve talked to enough people who are making profits, that now I see it can be a good way to get off the ground, maybe just keep being a neighborhood brewery thing, but hopefully a stepping stone to larger things. I also wasn’t open to cider. I thought it was too small of a niche, kind of a novelty, and just not that interesting. Now I see that the segment is growing explosively, and compared to other countries the U.S. has a ton of growth potential. Even just looking at where the U.S. was before prohibition, it looks like the U.S. cider market is not something to ignore. And people are doing some interesting things with cider, being really creative with it, bringing back some really neat recipes and fruits that almost disappeared and even doing brand new stuff that has never been done before with cider. So if I have to stop producing new content on MicroBrewr, I hope I’ve learned enough to start a brewery—after 90 episodes I hope I’ve learned enough! At some point I have to stop learning and start doing. Hopefully there’s enough content to help you open the brewery of your dreams—maybe sooner than I. I hear from people who just found the podcast and they’re burning through an episode every day. They don’t have to wait a week for a new episode to come out like me and you who have caught up through the current ones. Ok so where were we? MicroBrewr in the future I want to keep doing MicroBrewr, I really do. I don’t want to let you down. It’s a lot of fun. If the episodes don’t come out on time, every Tuesday as they have been going, well, you know why. Work is my priority going forward. Maybe I can try and find some help to take some of the tasks and make it easier to keep going. I don’t know, it’s a whole new world for me. I’m going back to work full-time for the first time in 2 1/2 years. And I’m moving to the big city and all of that. it’s going to be a huge adjustment in lots of ways. I just looked back at that year in review episode, from New Year’s Eve last year, and I saw that I was looking for jobs all over, preferably a job in craft beer, but even a job in anything. And now I’ve got that. So we’re moving forward. We’ll see what the future holds. Start your breweries, send me emails, I will live vicariously through you! We will drink good beer! Life will be good! Image showing San Francisco. by Kathryn, on flickr (CC BY 2.0) was modified from its original state. Support MicroBrewr Help keep MicroBrewr on the air. CLICK HERE for ways you can help. The post MicroBrewr 090: State of the podcast appeared first on MicroBrewr.
67 minutes | Nov 10, 2015
MicroBrewr 089: Make whiskey from high-quality craft beer
Over a few beers, Tim Obert’s friend from college, Clint, told him that whiskey is actually made from cheap beer. They got to thinking, why not make whiskey from high-quality craft beer? Thus was born Seven Stills of SF, in San Francisco, California. “I wish I would’ve taken on investment sooner.” [Tweet This] Whiskey is a distilled spirit made from the fermented mash of usually malted grain, like beer. At first Tim and Clint were homebrewing in the backyard of Clint’s parent’s home, and “distilling that out, not really with the intention of starting a company, but just to see what happens.” “Distilling,” says Tim, “is a hundred times simpler than brewing.” To make whiskey from beer, they increase the temperature of beer to evaporate ethanol. The gaseous ethanol is then cooled to condense it back into a liquid. Different temperatures and different points in the process evaporate different material and different quality flavor. “After a while,” recalls Tim, “Clint and I ended up having 30 different whiskeys and they were totally unique and were all, in my opinion, outstanding.” “Everything that I had researched said that the base beer doesn’t have an impact on the flavor of the whiskey, which we’ve realized is just completely untrue. We can distill something like a chocolate oatmeal stout for instance, versus and IPA and there is no way that you could not tell the difference,” Tim laughs. “They’re completely different whiskeys.” RELATED: MicroBrewr 047: A forty-year career at the epicenter of craft beer Clint contributed the money he had saved for grad school, Tim pitched in a portion of his life savings, and they started Seven Stills of SF. For 2 years, they had a contract brewery make the beer. Then they had a contract distillery use the craft beer to make whiskey. Seven Stills of SF currently produces about 120 cases of whiskey per month. They’re trying to increase production by 8 times. They will be able to do it, now that they have their own 15-BBL brewhouse with fermenters and bright tanks. And they recently bought the largest still in San Francisco, a 300-gallon pot still. They also have an entirely other line of vodka and bitters. Whereas whiskey is made from various grains, vodka is made from corn. Most of their bitters are made from vodka. “Just for consistency sake, it makes sense to keep the 2 separate,” says Tim. “That’s part of the reason we hired different designers to work on the [labels on the] bottles.” With so much expansion and growth, Tim says one thing he wishes he would have done differently was taken on investors sooner. RELATED: MicroBrewr 067: How to find investors for a brewery “We’ve been trying to grow off of just what we put into the company organically for the last 2 years, and it’s just painfully slow.” Getting investors urged Seven Stills of SF to: Develop a business plan Calculate budgets Get organized Get something bigger off the ground Part of having investors is putting together an advisory board. A formal advisory board is a set of people to whom you can seek advice on the business. Tim recommends finding experts in different areas such as: Banking Design Marketing Social media “I definitely wouldn’t recommend giving up too much equity right off the bat,” advises Tim, “but give them something, and incentive instead of just getting counsel from them.” “Just kind of building a team you can go and ask questions about when you have something come up. Because, I mean, it’s kind of stupid to keep reinventing the wheel with all this stuff.” Brewery specs: Kettle size: 15 BBL. Size and quantity of fermentation tanks: 2, 15-BBL fermenters. Size and quantity of bright tanks: 2, 15-BBL bright tanks. Annual brewing capacity/last year’s production: 3,120 BBL/year of beer. 4,836 gallons/year of whiskey. Square footage: 4,400 sq. ft. Years in operation: 2 years (opened August 2013). Listener question: From Jimmy Batte: What’s the best advice you have been given or have to give since operating a brewery? Can’t-go-without tool: Pallet jack. Book recommendation: Alt Whiskeys: Alternative Whiskey Recipes and Distilling Techniques for the Adventurous Craft Distiller by Darek Bell, Amy Lee Bell, and Pete Rodman. The Startup Playbook: Secrets of the Fastest-Growing Startups from Their Founding Entrepreneurs by David Kidder. Raising the Bar: Integrity and Passion in Life and Business: The Story of Clif Bar Inc. by Gary Erickson. Mission in a Bottle: The Honest Guide to Doing Business Differently–and Succeeding by Seth Goldman and Barry Nalebuff. Check out the entire list of recommended books, click here. An upcoming beer style: Craft beer whiskey Other resources: Whiskey Informer, whiskey reviews, whisky reviews, and whiskey-like products. Anchor Distilling Company, San Francisco, California. Distillery No. 209, San Francisco, California. Alamanac Beer Co., San Francisco, California. Hermitage Brewing Company, San Jose, California. The Bruery, Orange County, California. Sante Adairius Rustic Ales, Capitola, California. California’s 10 Best Breweries, Symmetry50, February 11, 2015. Russian River Brewing Co., Santa Rosa, California. Snake Bite, TW Pitcher’s Brewing Company, Saint Helena, California. CircleUp, equity-based crowdfunding. businessadvising.org, volunteer business advisors, mentors, and concultants. Corsair Artisan Distillery, Nashville, Tennessee. Future directions for brewers – Go gluten free, DSM. You can reach Tim Obert and Seven Stills of SF at: www.sevenstillsofsf.com Facebook: sevenstillsofsf Twitter: SevenStillsofSF Instagram: sevenstills Sponsors: Please support our sponsors. Support MicroBrewr Help keep MicroBrewr on the air. CLICK HERE for ways you can help. The post MicroBrewr 089: Make whiskey from high-quality craft beer appeared first on MicroBrewr.
27 minutes | Nov 3, 2015
MicroBrewr 088: A brewing pedigree from Kansas to Texas
Andrew Huerter comes from a family of brewers. His parents were founding members of the Kansas City Beer Meisters homebrew club and his dad won a blue ribbon for one of his beers. Now Drew is following in their footsteps. He worked at a handful of breweries and before helping put together BrainDead Brewing in Dallas, Texas. “Find a way into an operating brewery.” [Tweet This] Some of the audio was lost due to technical difficulties with the call. Here are notes from the audio podcast and the parts that got left out. One of the biggest difficulties was the city permitting processes. The city was concerned about the explosive hazards of grain dust. BrainDead Brewing was required to submit a certified engineer’s report verifying that the explosive hazard was below the threshold. Just a few years ago in 2011, there were only 3 breweries in North Texas. Now there are 40, and just 2 independent brewpubs in Dallas-Fort Worth area, says Drew. Perhaps the city is experiencing growing pains from and industry that has grown a lot in a very short time. RELATED: MicroBrewr 085: Starting a brewery is a full-time job Drew emphasizes the important of details when budgeting for your startup brewery. His biggest mistake was missing a line item on the budget. Although they had budgeted for the purchase of a glycol chiller, they forgot to include installation costs. That amounted to a $50,000 mistake. On the other hand, the best idea was to start out with a focus on making ales. It’s a proven model, says Drew, but these days it’s done often. Drew says ales are easy drinking and really approachable, so BrainDead Brewing could sell a lot of them to establish themself in the market. Listener question: If you could ask one question to every brewer or brewery owner, what would you ask? Let me know. Can’t-go-without tool: 1.5-hp single phase pump by CPE Systems Inc. Book recommendation: Principles of Brewing Science: A Study of Serious Brewing Issues by George Fix. Check out the entire list of recommended books, click here. An upcoming beer style: Pilsner Other resources: Kansas City Beer Meisters, homebrew club. Morgan Street Brewery, St. Louis, Missouri. The Schlafly Tap Room, St. Louis, Missouri. Deep Ellum Brewing Co., Dallas, Texas. Foeder Crafters of America, St. Louis, Missouri. Heavy Riff Brewing Company, St. Louis, Missouri. You can reach Drew Huerter and BrainDead Brewing at: braindeadbrewing.com Facebook: braindeadbrew Twitter: braindeadbrew Instagram: braindeadbrew Untappd: BrainDeadBrewing Sponsors: Support MicroBrewr Help keep MicroBrewr on the air. CLICK HERE for ways you can help. The post MicroBrewr 088: A brewing pedigree from Kansas to Texas appeared first on MicroBrewr.
48 minutes | Oct 27, 2015
MicroBrewr 087: Differentiate your brewpub with unique menu items
At 55 years old Ken Carson tried to get a job at a brewery, but nobody would hire him—even for volunteer. So with no brewing nor restaurant experience, he started Nexus Brewery in Albuquerque, New Mexico. “I fell in love with the concept of beer and community.” [Tweet This] Ken did have some business experience: he was president of a small bank. He joined the bank in their first year and helped it grow from $7 million in assets to $150 million and 5 branches. When Ken saw an ad for making a batch of beer at the local Kelly’s Brew Pub, he went and tried it for fun. He never knew someone could make their own beer. And he got the bug. While working for the bank, Ken often traveled for work and always toured breweries in every city he went. After touring about 150 breweries, he though he wanted to do something different. So he cashed in the stock he had saved for retirement and convinced his wife to let him start a brewery. RELATED: 61 Brewers Speak Out: What I Wish I’d Known Before Starting A Brewery “So I had a good background in business,” says Ken, “but absolutely no experience in either one of these 2 businesses that I was getting into.” Ken says there are 2 things anyone needs to start a brewery: You need to know the numbers You need to have good customer service During his time at the bank, he had required hundreds of businesses to write business plans. Now he was on the other end, needing to write a business plan for his brewery. He used the online tools provided by the U.S. Small Business Administration. “When you’re thinking customer service, it’s to produce the best beer you can,” explains Ken. “And we’re trying our best to produce the best food that we can.” One thing the SBA materials asked was how Ken would differentiate his business from the competition. And food was one way that Nexus Brewery is differentiating themselves. “I started seeing new breweries opening. I said, ‘This is going to be a problem if all the breweries get up here and I’m not different, I’m just like everybody else.’ So I picked a different food and made it unique.” Nexus Brewery has what they call “New Mexican soul food,” a blend of foods from their African American heritage with local flavors of New Mexico. They started out with 10 items on the menu, and kept adding more as customers made requests and suggestions. Ken said it’s working out really well. “It’s distinguished us from all the other breweries in town.” It’s also helpful that they are serving a type of food that that is not normally associated with brewing industry. Brewery specs: Kettle size: 7 BBL. Size and quantity of fermentation tanks: 4, 7-BBL fermenters; 2, 15-BBL fermenters. Size and quantity of bright tanks: 7 Grundies; 6, 15-BBL bright tanks. Annual brewing capacity/last year’s production: 650 BBL. Square footage: 2,500 sq. ft. for the brewery. Years in operation: 4.5 years (opened May 2011). Listener question: From Jeff Lennon: Why did you choose the brewpub or production brewery model? What factors led to that decision? Can’t-go-without tool: Victorinox Swiss Army Super Tinker Pocket Knife. Book recommendation: The Brewers Association’s Guide to Starting Your Own Brewery by Dick Cantwell. Check out the entire list of recommended books, click here. An upcoming beer style: Scottish Ale Other resources: Kelly Brew Pub, Albuquerque, New Mexico. Paul Farnsworth, brewery consultant. Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives, Food Network. Marble Brewery, Albuquerque, New Mexico. Create Your Business Plan, including a step-by-step tool, U.S. Small Business Administration. You can reach Ken Carson Jr. and Nexus Brewery at: nexusbrewery.com Facebook: nexusbrewery Twitter: Nexusbrewery Instagram: nexusbrewery Untappd: NexusBrewery Sponsors: Audible Download a free audiobook. Support MicroBrewr Help keep MicroBrewr on the air. CLICK HERE for ways you can help. The post MicroBrewr 087: Differentiate your brewpub with unique menu items appeared first on MicroBrewr.
69 minutes | Oct 20, 2015
MicroBrewr 086: The future of apple cider in America
Nick Gunn and his wife were working for her family’s winery. They had the idea to start growing apples for cider. One of the cideries to whom they were selling apples decided to close down and they offered to sell the business to Nick and his wife who moved Wandering Aengus Ciderworks to Salem, Oregon. “Cider is a really exciting proposition for a lot of investors.” [Tweet This] Now they have two brands of cider. Wandering Aengus is the traditional brand of cider. The Wandering Aengus brand has ciders that are more astringent, more bitter, and higher in alcohol content. “For the wine drinkers, it’s something that’s interesting,” says Nick. Anthem Cider is a lighter style for people who aren’t used to ciders. These are less acidic and have lower alcohol content. This brand is marketed toward to craft beer consumers. “Beer drinkers,” says Nick, “are much more adventurous and willing to try just about anything that’s out there.” They package Anthem ciders mostly in kegs for sale on draft. The goal is to get the word out for distribution in smaller packaging. “It’s a pretty basic model a lot of people have used,” says Nick. “Anthem is a little more on the adventurous side,” Nick describes. “And that’s also a part of marketing to people who like craft beer.” In addition to straight apple cider, Anthem also has pear, cherry and hopped ciders. They’re do some progressive forays like gin and whiskey barrel-aged ciders, as well as ciders fermented with bee pollen. In contrast, “Wandering Aengus is super traditional,” Nick says, “It’s just those apples fermented without anything else added to them. And those apples are so rare we don’t really want to mess with them in the first place, they kind of speak for themselves.” Finding good, traditional cider apples is difficult, but Nick is pushing the market. “Most of the old heirloom apples have been ripped out in favor for Granny Smith and other dessert apples,” he says. “We’re trying to get people to plant some newer [apple trees]. We’re trying to bring back some of the older, better flavored varieties.” Nick’s favorite apple ciders are blends of sharp apples, bittersweet apples, and aromatic apples. “You kind of want to blend in a little bit of sharp, a little bit of bitter, a little bit of aromatics,” Nick advises. “That’s a part of the art of cider making, is it’s a blending process. Because there’s not a lot of apples that just make a great cider straight up.” Some of the high brix, high acidity apple varieties that they use are: Golden Russet Wickson Crab Cox’s Orange Pippin Newtown Pippin Calville Blanc d’Hiver “These heirloom sharps… is a really [high] sweetness level and acidity is off the charts,” comments Nick. But these sharp apples don’t have a lot of tannins. Bittersweet apples contribute tannins to the cider. Some of the bittersweet apples they use for tannins are: Muscat de Bernay Muscadet de Dieppe Yarlington Mill Dabinett Herefordshire Redstreak “Those apples taste like crap!” exclaims Nick. “They really are horrible, because they have so much bitterness.” “I’m being evangelical about planting cider apples. That’s really the future of really high quality cider in America.” While Nick is evangelizing about high-quality, hand-crafted, traditional ciders, a different style of cider is gaining momentum across the country. Large industrial companies are making cider with additives and diluted with water. While the product sells well on a large scale, it is expanding the overall market and demand for cider. As the larger brands reach into previously untapped markets, they create new spaces for all cider products. “Their cider is a lot cheaper,” says Nick. “We could never compete on price because we’re using 100% juice. But what we can do is offer a different product. And maybe that’s a graduating step for the consumer.” RELATED: MicroBrewr 048: Package your beer cheap and easy with mobile canning “The growth in some of these larger brands has just been astronomical because a lot of the place they’re putting cider there never even existed a cider in the first place.” “Every single chain store, every 711, every place now has cider. Cider is on the lips of every one. It’s on TV now—it was never on TV before, like, 2 years ago.” “Even if [cider] gets to 5 percent of the market, we will be gigantic,” Nick predicts. “Over in England, cider is around 20 percent of alcohol consumption. France is about 17 percent. So we have a long ways to go in America. We were just at 0.3 percent about 3 years ago and we’ve gotten to one percent now. So the climb now is just inevitable.” There hasn’t been a lot of quality at quantity. And now that that is exists, distributors are staring to notice, buyers are noticing, the whole market place takes note.” As overall demand for cider increases, and a wider variety of cider products becomes more popular, the cider companies are able make larger quantities at lower prices. Nick’s strategy is to have meaningful impact in the markets where craft beer is already growing rapidly. They are reaching to key cities such as: Denver Philadelphia New York Los Angeles San Francisco Seattle Portland “You’re starting from ground zero, you can explode easily,” says Nick. Yet, cider producers are finding that the industry needs to mature. Particularly, there is a need for more education in cider sales. “Finding a distributor that understands cider is really difficult,” says Nick. At the next CiderCON, the conference for the commercial cider industry to be held in February in Portland, Oregon, the United States Association of Cider Makers will unveil the first ever cider accreditation program. The multi-level program is designed to educate “distributors, servers and others who are interested in becoming trained experts on all things cider.” As the cider market in America evolves, the industry adapts. “It originally started out as sweet and fruity,” recalls Nick. “I like to call it ‘cheap and cheerful.’” Now “cider varietals are being recognized, and the quality of cider they make.” Nick foresees an increasing appreciation of drier ciders, and even higher quality cider apples. More cider will be made from heirloom sharps, cider will be fermented drier with higher alcohol content. There will be more barrel aged ciders, and ciders with more tannins. Ultimately terroir of cider will be recognized and appreciated. Listener question: From Daniel Frey: What accounting system do you use or do you recommend? Can’t-go-without tool: Cross-Flow filter, Pall Corporation. Book recommendation: Cider, Hard and Sweet: History, Traditions, and Making Your Own (Third Edition) by Ben Watson. The New Cider Maker’s Handbook: A Comprehensive Guide for Craft Producers by Claude Jolicoeur. Check out the entire list of recommended books, click here. An upcoming beer style: North American Heirloom Cider Other resources: Bethel Heights Vineyard, Salem, Oregon. CiderDays, community celebration of all things apple in Franklin County, Massachusetts. QuickBooks Enterprise, Manufacturing & Wholesale, Intuit, Inc. Craft Canning, Pacific Northwest. 2 Towns Ciderhouse, Corvallis, Oregon. Reverend Nat’s Hard Cider, Portland, Oregon. Vander Mill, Spring Lake, Michigan. Citizen Cider, Burlington, Vermont. You can reach Nick Gunn and Wandering Aengus Ciderworks at: www.wanderingaengus.com Facebook: WanderingAengusCider Twitter: wacider Instagram: wanderingaengus Untappd: WanderingAengusCiderworks You can reach Anthem Cider at: anthemcider.com Twitter: anthemcider Sponsors: Audible Download a free audiobook. Support MicroBrewr Help keep MicroBrewr on the air. CLICK HERE for ways you can help. The post MicroBrewr 086: The future of apple cider in America appeared first on MicroBrewr.
45 minutes | Oct 13, 2015
MicroBrewr 085: Starting a brewery is a full-time job
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: Water: A Comprehensive Guide for Brewers (Brewing Elements) by John Palmer and Colin Kaminski. Malt: A Practical Guide from Field to Brewhouse (Brewing Elements) by John Mallett. For The Love of Hops: The Practical Guide to Aroma, Bitterness and the Culture of Hops (Brewing Elements) by Stan Hieronymus. Yeast: The Practical Guide to Beer Fermentation (Brewing Elements) by Chris White and Jamil Zainasheff. Check out the entire list of recommended books, click here. An upcoming beer style: Sour beer Other resources: Deep Ellum Brewing Company, Dallas, Texas. The Florida weisse: a primer, Christopher Staten, DRAFT Magazine, March 18, 2014. Toadies on iTunes. Send Ska! Hawai’i’s Best of 2004, Gardenia Lane. McMaster-Carr Supply Company, supplies and products to maintain manufacturing plants and large commercial facilities worldwide. You can reach Cody Martine and Martin House Brewing Company at: martinhousebrewing.com Facebook: martinhousebrewing Twitter: martinhousebrew Instagram: martinhousebrewing Untappd: martinhousebrewing 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.
52 minutes | Oct 6, 2015
MicroBrewr 084: A healthy alcoholic beverage: hard cider
As soon as Mark McTavish could acknowledge alcohol, he gravitated toward hard cider. Later, he attended beverage management school and opened a craft beer bar in Toronto, Canada. Now in the U.S., Mark owns a cider distribution company and 101 Cider House in Los Angeles, California. “As a cider maker, you’re not really making anything. You’re more of a custodian to the beverage.” [Tweet This] Mark had a long career in the fitness business, selling exercise equipment and helping gyms get started. He is very health conscious and this comes through in his hard cider. 101 Cider House focuses on a “healthy” alcoholic beverage. All of 101 Cider products are: raw, living, and probiotic. Some attributes of what Mark calls a healthy hard cider: Wild fermented A living beverage, don’t kill the juice in the process Not filtered No added sulfites The hard cider market is absolutely exploding, with 500% growth in the last 3 years. Besides the general growth, Mark is tapping the health foods sector. “From step one,” reflects Mark, “I always wanted to make a healthy alcohol.” “Here in Los Angeles,” he says, “people are very interested in their health foods. When it comes to alcohol, a lot of people tend to check their standards at the door.” “We have to show our ingredients in our cider,” Mark says of the labels on the bottles. “Our biggest marketing tool is to show people that we are using 100% raw fruit and doing the natural process like we do.” They don’t add any unnecessary or unexpected ingredients to the cider, not even yeast. “Cider is like wine,” he says. “You can press the fruit naturally, let juices sit their and do its own thing with its indigenous yeasts, and it will tell you what it’s going to do with itself. “And if you wait long enough, it will make something great.” Brewery specs: Kettle size: n/a. Size and quantity of fermentation tanks: 8, 2000-gal (64-BBL) poly tanks; 6, 275-gal (9-BBL) poly tanks; 50, 55-gal (1.75-BBL) oak barrels. Size and quantity of bright tanks: 0. Not required as we bottle-condition and keg-condition all product. Annual brewing capacity/last year’s production: 50,000-gal capacity. Square footage: 7000 sq. ft. Years in operation: 10 months years (opened December 2014). Listener question: From Rob Lightner: Has your brewery turned out the way you thought it would? And if not, how is it different? Can’t-go-without tool: Pump. Book recommendation: The E-Myth : Why Most Small Businesses Don’t Work and What to Do About It by Michael E. Gerber. Check out the entire list of recommended books, click here. An upcoming beer style: Hopped cider Other resources: Half Pint Ciders, Westlake Village, California. Tilted Shed Ciderworks, Windsor, California. Devoto Orchards Cider, Sebastopol, California. AppleGarden Farm, Tomales, California. Hard Cider for Brewers by Marc Sorini and Bethany Hatef, The New Brewer, May/June 2014. (See “TTB & FDA labeling requirements for hard cider” on page 28) Why Your Supermarket Sells Only 5 Kinds of Apples by Rowan Jacobsen, Mother Jones, March/April 2013. You can reach Mark McTavish and 101 Cider House at: www.101cider.com Facebook: 101cider-878622528843097 Twitter: 101cider Instagram: 101cider Sponsors: InMotion Hosting “Fast, reliable, affordable, web hosting.” Support MicroBrewr Help keep MicroBrewr on the air. CLICK HERE for ways you can help. The post MicroBrewr 084: A healthy alcoholic beverage: hard cider appeared first on MicroBrewr.
61 minutes | Sep 29, 2015
MicroBrewr 083: Market branding for a cider company
Fran Toves’ son challenged her to enter cider into the homebrew competition. After her 3 entries made it to the top 10, she figured it time to take the product to market and started Common Cider Company in Drytown, California. “There is no need to start a cider company with a million dollars.” [Tweet This] Cider is not brewed the way beer is made, but similar fermentation tanks and bright tanks are used for making cider as making beer. After the initial attention at the homebrew competition, Common Cider Company started with a 400-gallon (13-BBL) test batch that got picked up by a distributor. They grew to 30,000-gallon (1,000-BBL) batches within a couple years. Whereas a cidery or a cider house presses the fruit themselves to make juice, a cider company buys the juice pre-squeezed. A cider usually has a base of apple juice, but it can start with other fruits. A perry is made from pear juice. “Cider as a base,” says Fran, “is a great platform to be able to introduce new flavors.” Fran’s background in product development for the organic food industry is helping her with Common Cider Company. She emphasizes the importance of branding. Fran says a small company can easily spend $50,000 to $100,000 on high-quality branding design for all promotional materials. With such a significant investment, it is very important to consider your message and what your company is about. If you want to take more time to learn about your customers and find your voice in the market place, just get simple logo at first. Then budget up to $100,000 for a re-branding. That’s the route Fran planned for Common Cider Company. “I wanted to spend some time with our customers an just spend some time in the marketplace,” she says. “before investing in the brand.” Sample Cider Packaging They’re keeping a logo element from the original design scheme and hiring a branding firm to re-design their message. The results have been spectacular and you can expect to see more on store shelves soon! Fran also has tips for the today’s listener question about budgeting and profit projections: Decide where you are and where you want to be. Put a budget for every core area including, branding, legal fees, sales staff, materials, and all other details. Decide what you can spend on each category of your budget. Use checklists so you don’t miss details. “Your suppliers will give you pretty good information as far as what your cost of juice is and your yeast and any other adjuncts that you want to add to your product,” Fran suggests. “And that goes from your raw material to your packaging.” As for projecting profits, Fran always advises starting with small batches. She suggests 500-gallon batches or 1,000-gallon batches at the most. Any larger, and you’ll have too much money tied up in product and it will take too long to sell. After you sell a few batches to earn some money and build demand, then you start doing larger batches. “It’s important to start small,” Fran advises. “Just like any business, you’ve gotta kind of walk before you can run.” Listener question: From Texas Rüegg: Where do you find real accurate numbers to estimate cost of operation? I keep building spreadsheets with hundreds of calculations, but at best they are just guesses. I want to be conservative with my numbers and be sure that even the worst case will actually make money. So where do you find real data? Can’t-go-without tool: Pump. Book recommendation: The Checklist Manifesto: How to Get Things Right by Atul Gawande. Check out the entire list of recommended books, click here. An upcoming beer style: Dry ciders Other resources: Friends of Black Rock High Rock, dedicated to the health, diversity and productivity of the Black Rock and High Rock regions. BrandLab; branding, identity, video, content, the big idea. Hard Cider Is Having A Moment, Jonah Keri, FiveThirtyEight, January 9, 2015. You can reach Fran Toves and Common Cider Company at: www.commoncider.com Facebook: CommonCider Twitter: commonlovecharm Instagram: commoncider Untappd: CommonCiderCompany Sponsors: Audible Download a free audiobook. Support MicroBrewr Help keep MicroBrewr on the air. CLICK HERE for ways you can help. The post MicroBrewr 083: Market branding for a cider company appeared first on MicroBrewr.
59 minutes | Sep 22, 2015
MicroBrewr 082: Gluten free beer for a large market
Brian Kovalchuck has a background in finance and marketing and came to beer late in his career. After he helped with the turnaround of Pabst Blue Ribbon, Brian became CEO of the gluten free Bard’s Tale Beer Company in Minneapolis, Minnesota. “I wish I had been in the beer business a long time. It’s a great business to be in.” [Tweet This] In the U.S. there are approximately 2 million people with Celiac Disease, an autoimmune disorder that causes damage to the intestine from eating gluten. There are approximately another 6 times that number of people who are gluten-intolerant or voluntarily exclude gluten from their diet. “Gluten is a protein found in most common grains,” explains Brian, “wheat, rye, barley, and sometimes oats gets thrown into that because of cross-contamination.” The founders or Bard’s Tale Beer Company experimented for 2 years before they settled on a recipe and a method. Their secret is malted sorghum. Sorghum is a grain that does not have gluten. It is commonly used to make gluten-free beers, but it is not commonly malted like other grains used in brewing. Bard’s is the only brewery that uses malted sorghum to brew gluten free beer. Brian won’t say whether Bard’s malts their own sorghum or has it made for them, but he did say it’s their own. Bard’s uses a contract brewer to make “Bard’s Gold,” currently their only product. Brian’s advice for finding a contract brewer is use a brewer that: Has a good reputation Makes high-quality products Has a lab that can ensure consistency Is happy to work with you Has the capacity to grow with you Other contract breweries—or breweries that got their start as a contract brewery—on MicroBrewr Podcast: Alamo Beer Company HenHouse Brewing 21st Amendment Brewery Backshore Brewing Co. Two Birds Brewing Craft Artisan Ales Noble Brewer If you’re using a contract brewer to make gluten-free beer, you’ll need to take special care to ensure there is no cross-contamination from the other beers brewed at the facility. Bard’s beer is always the first batch brewed after the brewery is cleaned. They test at several points along the process to ensure there is no gluten in the beer. “The gluten free market around your brewery is too small to support a brewery,” says Brian. “There’s just not enough gluten-intolerant people to support a stand-alone gluten free brewery in one location.” So Bard’s model depends on very wide distribution. And working with distributors can be tricky. “The way the laws are written,” says Brian, “once a distributor gets a beer brand, it’s very difficult to get that beer brand back from the distributor. So if you make a mistake, it’s really hard to fix that problem.” Brian’s tips for picking a distributor: Talk to contacts you already know. Differentiate yourself from the others. Work with the distributor to drive the business. Find a distributor that is eager to work with you. Coordinate marketing across all 3 tiers. Brewery specs: Kettle size: 500-BBL batches. Size and quantity of fermentation tanks: Size and quantity of bright tanks: Annual brewing capacity/last year’s production: Square footage: Years in operation: 9 years (opened 2006). Listener question: From Melissa Bess Reed: How do I make quality gluten-free beer that always has the same delicious flavor profile that I can count on? Can’t-go-without tool: The Brewmaster. Book recommendation: Education tab on the Brewers Association website. Check out the entire list of recommended books, click here. An upcoming beer style: Session beer Other resources: Pabst Calls It a Comeback, Emily Patti, Shepherd Express, April 20, 2010. MicroBrewr 038: Learn the classics and stay true to your genre, MicroBrewr, December 2, 2014. Draft Top, turning beer cans into pint glasses. Brewers Association, promoting Independent Craft Brewers. You can reach Brian Kovalchuck and Bard’s Tale Beer Company at: www.bardsbeer.com Facebook: bardsbeer Twitter: bardsbeer Untappd: BardsTaleBeerCompany Sponsors: Support MicroBrewr Help keep MicroBrewr on the air. CLICK HERE for ways you can help. The post MicroBrewr 082: Gluten free beer for a large market appeared first on MicroBrewr.
53 minutes | Sep 15, 2015
MicroBrewr 081: An R&D laboratory for craft beer
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: Tasting Beer: An Insider’s Guide to the World’s Greatest Drink by Randy Mosher. Check out the entire list of recommended books, click here. An upcoming beer style: Sour beer Other resources: Portland Kettle Works, craft brewery equipment made in America. Tomatoes, apples and a cold brew – California farmers market beer law OK’d by John Verive, Los Angeles Times, October 10, 2014. BTU Brasserie, Portland, Oregon. Craft Brewers Conference, Brewers Association. Ohio Craft Brewers Association. Texas Craft Brewers Guild. You can reach Chris Sears and Labrewatory at: labrewatory.com Facebook: theLabrewatory Twitter: labrewatory Instagram: labrewatory Sponsors: InMotion Hosting “Fast, reliable, affordable, web hosting.” Support MicroBrewr Help keep MicroBrewr on the air. CLICK HERE for ways you can help. The post MicroBrewr 081: An R&D laboratory for craft beer appeared first on MicroBrewr.
48 minutes | Sep 8, 2015
MicroBrewr 080: Brewing the American Dream winner for 2015
A friend asked Marta Jankowska and her husband whether they wanted to use his warehouse space and go pro with their brewing. The warehouse space fell through, but they were far along in the process, so they decided to go for it and opened ChuckAlek Independent Brewers in Ramona, California. “Your time is so much more valuable actually planning on how to grow the business.” [Tweet This] “Even though that original space fell through,” says Marta, “we were already so far along in planning that we just decided to go for it.” They had run the financials, lined up some money from friends and family, and were ready to go. They just needed space. They found the permitting requirements in the City of San Diego to be cumbersome and expensive, so they finally settled in Ramona, a little town in San Diego County wine country. “More importantly,” Ramona explains, “we never wanted to be a warehouse brewery. We always wanted to be kind of a main street brewery. Something that was integrated in with community and surrounded by other storefronts.” By chance, Marta was a tennis partner with one of the founders of Stone Brewing. He told her that over a hundred breweries were starting or being planned for opening in San Diego. “How are you going to differentiate yourself?” he asked Marta. “The way that I see a brewery doing well in this town is having a really solid background story and a really solid concept. You need to come up with something that has a compelling story that you can tell to the consumer.” To come up with a compelling story, Marta suggests you think about: What you want the brewery to encompass What message you want to communicate to the consumers “A flashy label will get you that fist glimpse from a consumer,” she says. “But people are finicky these days, they’re not super brand loyal, they’re not going to remember something unless it really stands out in their brain, or you give them that nugget that they’re really able to hang onto.” ChuckAlek has gotten some notoriety this year by being selected as the 2015 recipient of Samuel Adams Brewing the American Dream “experienceship.” They beat out others for apprenticeship, partner brew with Sam Adams, and a trip to Germany with Pink Boots Society. Other tips from Marta: Set aside time to plan for the growth of the business during the next few years. Enroll yourself in a business mentorship program. Start with the barebones, just to get off the ground. Then buy more equipment when you have the disposable income. Build a nest egg for repairs and other unexpected expenditures. Marta’s suggested software systems for a startup nanobrewery: Google Drive, cloud storage and file backup. Google Sheets, create and edit spreadsheets online, for free. QuickBooks Online, accounting software package. BeerSmith, brewing. SalesForce, CRM and cloud computing. Squarespace, build a website. Brewery specs: Kettle size: 1 BBL. Size and quantity of fermentation tanks: 6, 3-BBL plastics; 1, 2-BBL stainless; 1, 4-BBL stainless; 1, 5-BBL stainless. Size and quantity of bright tanks: 1, 5-BBL. Annual brewing capacity/last year’s production: 250 BBL. This year on track to be at about 400 BBL. Square footage: 1,700 sq. ft. Years in operation: 2.5 years (opened January 2013). Listener question: From Grant Aguinaldo: What software systems do you use to manage your brewery? Can’t-go-without tool: Brite Tanks. Book recommendation: Brew Law 101: A Legal Guide to Opening a Brewery – California Edition by Candace L. Moon, Esq. and Stacy Allura Hostetter. Check out the entire list of recommended books, click here. An upcoming beer style: Lager Other resources: Accion, small business lending partners. Small Business Development Centers, U.S. Small Business Administration. Samuel Adams, Brewing the American Dream; increases the success of small food, beverage, craft brewing, and hospitality businesses. Samuel Adams Brewing the American Dream Brewing & Business Experienceship: A Q&A with ChuckAlek Independent Brewers, Sam Adams Editorial Team, November 6, 2014. ProBrewer, serving all trades of the specialty beer business. Brewers Association, to promote and protect small and independent American brewers. Find A State Guild, Brewers Association. Pink Boots Society to empower women beer professionals to advance their careers in the beer industry through education. You can reach Marta Jankowska and ChuckAlek Independent Brewers at: www.chuckalek.com Facebook: chuckalek Twitter: ChuckAlek Instagram: chuckalek Untappd: ChuckAlek Sponsors: Audible Download a free audiobook. Support MicroBrewr Help keep MicroBrewr on the air. CLICK HERE for ways you can help. The post MicroBrewr 080: Brewing the American Dream winner for 2015 appeared first on MicroBrewr.
68 minutes | Sep 1, 2015
MicroBrewr 079: The importance of budgeting for working capital
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: Yeast: The Practical Guide to Beer Fermentation (Brewing Elements) by Chris White and Jamil Zainasheff. Check out the entire list of recommended books, click here. An upcoming beer style: Sour beers Other resources: American Brewers Guild, education for working or would-be brewers who can’t get away. Brewers Association, promoting independent craft brewers. Stop calling beers ‘sours,’ Joe Stange, DRAFT Magazine, June 25, 2015. You can reach Wim Bens and Lakewood Brewing Co. at: lakewoodbrewing.com Facebook: LakewoodBrewing Twitter: LakewoodBrewing Instagram: lakewoodbrewing Untappd: lakewoodbrewing 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.
82 minutes | Aug 25, 2015
MicroBrewr 078: Around the world and back with the craft beer industry
Bill Morgan has brewed on 2-BBL systems all the way up to 250-BBL systems. Craft brewing has taken him around the world and back. Now he’s gone full-circle, brewing on 4-BBL system and loving the flexibility it provides at The Blind Pig Brewery in Champaign, Illinois. “Is it really craft beer if it’s available in all 50 states?” [Tweet This] After graduating with a degree in Biology, Bill used his left over student loan money to attend brewing school at Seibel Institute of Technology. Within 3 years of graduating from Seibel, in 1997 he earned a gold medal at the Great American Beer Festival. It was the first gold medal at the GABF for the first intentionally sour beer (in the Belgian Specialty Ale category). The next year, he added fruit to the same beer and earned a silver medal, plus another gold medal for an Imperial Stout. Eventually Bill was working brewing on a 250-BBL system and managing the quality assurance lab at a production brewery in Japan. “If you have a large brewhouse like we had,” says Bill, “it’s tough to brew some experimental brews that you’re not even sure is going to come out right. Whereas in the brewpub, who can’t get rid of 10 barrels of some kind of strange beer.” The Blind Pig Brewery shares similar names with a former brewery in California, a beer from other currently-operating brewery in California, and even a different business around the block from them. It causes confusion for customers and disagreements with other proprietors. Related: MicroBrewr 044: What every brewery should know about trademarks, MicroBrewr, January 6, 2015. How to apply for a trademark/service mark, Paul Rovella, MicroBrewr, January 8, 2015. “You’ve really gotta do your research to find a name that won’t run you right into these kinds of problems,” Bill advises. “It’s a nightmare and it can be a legal nightmare and you can spend a lot of money getting your brand up and going, only to discover a couple years into it that you have no other recourse but to scratch all that branding and pick something new and start over. So it can be very costly. Even if you don’t have direct legal costs up front—you don’t get sued or have to pay some gigantic fine—it can still be a significant loss just in all of the rebranding and coming up with a new name.” Brewery specs: Kettle size: 4 BBL. Size and quantity of fermentation tanks: 8, 4-BBL unitanks. Size and quantity of bright tanks: 6, 4-BBL serving/bright tanks. Annual brewing capacity/last year’s production: Brewed approximately 500 BBL last year, pushing about 600 BBL this year. Square footage: 100 sq. ft. in brewhouse; 100 sq. ft. in fermentation, serving tanks are tucked behind the bar; seating/bar/toilets/storage; 2,400 sq. ft. in beer garden has 120+ seats, two bars, no kitchen. Years in operation: 6 years (opened May 2009). Listener question: From Austin: Did you do it for the love of beer, or did you have a more specific goal in mind? Can’t-go-without tool: Foursevens compact LED flashlight Book recommendation: A Textbook of Brewing by Jean De Clerck. Technology Brewing and Malting by Wolfgang Kunze. Check out the entire list of recommended books, click here. An upcoming beer style: Saison Other resources: MicroBrewr 064: How to write a business plan for a brewery, MicroBrewr, May 12, 2015. Great taste of the Midwest, beer festival by Madison Homebrewers and Tasters Guild. You can reach Bill Morgan and The Blind Pig Brewery at: blindpigbrewery.com Facebook: BlindPigBrewery Twitter: BlindPigBrewing Sponsors: InMotion Hosting “Fast, reliable, affordable, web hosting.” Support MicroBrewr Help keep MicroBrewr on the air. CLICK HERE for ways you can help. The post MicroBrewr 078: Around the world and back with the craft beer industry appeared first on MicroBrewr.
57 minutes | Aug 18, 2015
MicroBrewr 077: The importance of writing your goals
Michael Peticolas learned about homebrewing from his mother. After achieving all the goals he set for himself in the legal field, he decided to pursue his passion of beer with Peticolas Brewing Company in Dallas, Texas. Michael says he feels very fulfilled with having achieved his list of goals. He saved a lot of money while working in law, which allowed him to start his brewery debt free. “We didn’t open up this big huge, grand brewery, which I see all over the place,” said Michael. “This was my money. So my wife and I decided, ‘How much are we willing to lose?’ Most small businesses go out of business within 3 years.” “I’d rather fail than to have not tried it at all.” [Tweet This] “If you don’t know how to write a business plan,” Michael advises, “learn how to write a business plan.” The process of writing a business plan helps: Delve into the potential problems Focus on completing your goals “Plan in the beginning,” instructs Michael. “Address the good news and the bad news, up front. That business plan is going to guide you. So put in the time before you get started.” “It is going to make you answer the difficult questions that are going to cause you to go find the resources to help you address those issues.” Related: MicroBrewr 064: How to write a business plan for a brewery Three and a half years later, they have 10 employees and expanded capacity from an initial 3,000 BBL to 9,000 BBL. “Not only am I trying to put together an awesome brewery, but I’m trying to wind back the clock to 1950 when folks worked for one employer for 20 or 30 years. So I concentrate on making us an awesome place to work.” Health insurance 401(k) plan Take care of the market, consumers, retailers and employees “I’d rather hire someone I’ve known and connected with than just some stranger who looks really awesome on paper.” Brewery specs: Kettle size: 15 BBL. Size and quantity of fermentation tanks: 12, 30-BBL fermenters. Size and quantity of bright tanks: 3, 30-BBL bright tanks. Annual brewing capacity/last year’s production: Added tanks yesterday, changing capacity from 6,000 BBL to 9,000 BBL. Production last year was 3,500 BBL. On pace for 5,000 BBL this year. Square footage: 9,000 sq. ft. Years in operation: 3.5 years (batch one brewed December 30, 2011). Listener question: From Cianna Dona: Where did you get the capital to start? Can’t-go-without tool: Hand-held temperature gauge. Book recommendation: Traction: Get a Grip on Your Business by Gino Wickman. Check out the entire list of recommended books, click here. An upcoming beer style: Sour beers Other resources: Great American Beer Festival, Brewers Association. New Glarus Brewing, New Glarus, Wisconsin. Avery Brewing, Boulder, Colorado. Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses. Organic Gardener Podcast. You can reach Michael Peticolas and Peticolas Brewing Company at: peticolasbrewing.com Facebook: PeticolasBrewing Twitter: Peticolas Instagram: peticolasbrewing Sponsors: Audible Download a free audiobook. Support MicroBrewr Help keep MicroBrewr on the air. CLICK HERE for ways you can help. The post MicroBrewr 077: The importance of writing your goals appeared first on MicroBrewr.
70 minutes | Aug 11, 2015
MicroBrewr 076: Carrying the torch of authentic beer styles
After a microbiology degree and studies at the world’s premier culinary college, Seth Gross was working at a restaurant and hanging out at the nearby Goose Island Brewpub. Pretty soon they offered him a job. Today Seth owns his own brewpub, Bull City Burger and Brewery in Durham, North Carolina. “I have people who will bleed for what we do. And I don’t know how I got so lucky.” [Tweet This] “The day we opened, the line was out the door and around the corner,” says Seth. The restaurant ran out of food on the first day. “It was a disaster.” Seth’s ideas for promoting the brewpub before it opened: Work with other newly opened, local businesses Hold a scavenger hunt for really good discounts. Raise awareness and hype on Facebook RELATED: Do Your Fans Love You Enough To Get a Tattoo of Your Brewery? Creative Ways To Promote Your Brewery For Free! In the brewery, “the most important thing is cleanliness. You can have the best ingredients in the world, but if you’re not clean, the beer is just not going to be good,” says Seth. “But you can have average ingredients, and if your brewery is squeaky clean, you can have a very good product at the end.” On of Seth’s proudest moments is when Julia Herz, from the Brewers Association visited his brewery and said, “This doesn’t smell like a brewery.” “We work really hard keeping those drains clean and all of that.” Brewery specs: Kettle size: 7 BBL. Size and quantity of fermentation tanks: 4, 7-BBL fermenters; 1, 15-BBL fermenter. Size and quantity of bright tanks: 5, 7-BBL bright tanks. Annual brewing capacity/last year’s production: 600 BBL. Square footage: 300 sq. ft. Years in operation: 4.5 years (opened March 2011). Listener question: From Malin Norman: Why don’t you experiment more? Can’t-go-without tool: Mash hoe, custom stainless steel. Book recommendation: The E-Myth : Why Most Small Businesses Don’t Work and What to Do About It by Michael E. Gerber. Check out the entire list of recommended books, click here. An upcoming beer style: Session beer Other resources: Culinary Institute of America, The World’s Premier Culinary College. Sahti, BeerAdvocate. MicroBrewr 038: Learn the classics and stay true to your genre, MicroBrewr, December 2, 2014. Working With Co-Packers – Finding a Co-Packer, Pt 1, Glen Ishikata, Buyer’s Best Friend. B Corporation, companies wishing to benefit society as well as their shareholders. You can reach Seth Gross and Bull City Burger & Brewery at: bullcityburgerandbrewery.com Facebook: BullCityBurger Twitter: BullCityBurger Instagram: bullcityburger Sponsors: InMotion Hosting “Fast, reliable, affordable, web hosting.” Support MicroBrewr Help keep MicroBrewr on the air. CLICK HERE for ways you can help. The post MicroBrewr 076: Carrying the torch of authentic beer styles appeared first on MicroBrewr.
56 minutes | Aug 4, 2015
MicroBrewr 075: Recruit the right people for the right job
Mark Doble opened Aviator Brewing Company, Fuquay Varina, North Carolina, in November 2008. In less than 7 years he has started a brewery, a trucking company, a restaurant, two bars, and soon a new brewery with a distillery. All of these business are still operating. “Not having to work at a corporate job anymore, that’s one of my favorite things about the brewery.” [Tweet This] With over 100 employees total, Mark says hiring the wrong person is one of the biggest mistakes he has made in the past. He recommends spending time to recruit the right person for the right job. “Sometimes we get the wrong people in the wrong job,” says Mark, “and that ends up costing us in the long term.” Hear another brewer’s perspective on this: MicroBrewr 037: A forty-year career at the epicenter of craft beer, MicroBrewr, November 25, 2014. Mark’s tips for hiring the right person: Get people to talk about themselves. Get to know them and their work ethic, to decide whether the job is a good fit for them. If you have an employee in the wrong position, move her right away to a better-suited position. Click the player above to listen to the full interview podcast for more tips and advice. Brewery specs: Kettle size: 30-BBL. Size and quantity of fermentation tanks: 10, 100-BBL and 3, 60-BBL fermenters. 2, 30-BBL foeders. Size and quantity of bright tanks: 2, 100-BBL brite tanks. Annual brewing capacity/last year’s production: Brewed 10,000 BBL last year. Probably will brew 14,000 BBL this year. Square footage: 23,000 sq. ft. Years in operation: 6.5 years (opened November 2008). Listener question: From Adam Shay: When did you know that starting a real brewery, as a business was the right move? Do you wish you would’ve done it sooner/later? Can’t-go-without tool: Keg cleaner, Premier Stainless. Book recommendation: The Complete Joy of Homebrewing Fourth Edition: Fully Revised and Updated by Charlie Papazian. Check out the entire list of recommended books, click here. An upcoming beer style: Sour beer Other resources: Tampa Bay Brewing Company, Tampa, Florida. Devil’s Canyon Brewing Company, San Carlos, California. The Flying Lady Restaurant, Pro Aerial Photographers Assn, on Vimeo. KeyKeg: One-way disposable keg. Seven Stills of S.F., Whiskey inspired by craft beer. Foeder (FOOD-er) For Thought!, Deschutes Brewery, March 19, 2015. 61 Brewers Speak Out: What I Wish I’d Know Before Starting a Brewery, MicroBrewr, February 9, 2014. You can reach Mark Doble and Aviator Brewing at: www.aviatorbrew.com Facebook: AviatorBrewing Twitter: aviatorbrew Instagram: aviatorbrewingco Sponsors: Audible Download a free audiobook. Support MicroBrewr Help keep MicroBrewr on the air. CLICK HERE for ways you can help. The post MicroBrewr 075: Recruit the right people for the right job appeared first on MicroBrewr.
67 minutes | Jul 21, 2015
MicroBrewr 074: Contract brewing for homebrew craft beer club
Noble Brewer is an online craft beer club featuring homebrewers’ best beers. It’s not exactly legal to sell homebrew by mail, so Claude Burns at Noble Brewer connects the homebrewer with a commercial brewery. Then they ship great homebrew from their base in Oakland, California. If you want your homebrew to be featured in one of Noble Brewer’s quarterly shipments, here’s how Noble Brewer picks the homebrewers: Homebrewing competitions and BJCP results Willingness of the brewer to share her story Whether the recipe will scale Style variety in relation to the past picks Read: Homebrew craft beer club. And then I never left the house. I think it’s pretty aweome, but the main reason we talked with Claude is to find out for to start a contract brewery. “There are a lot of great brands and great beers out there that are made by people who don’t own their own brewery,” says Claude. “There is also a lot of great beer companies that do own their own brewery, but [production of their own beer] is very small. The vast majority of their beer is contract brewed.” Other contract breweries—or breweries that got their start as a contract brewery—on MicroBrewr Podcast: Alamo Beer Company HenHouse Brewing 21st Amendment Brewery Backshore Brewing Co. Two Birds Brewing Craft Artisan Ales Of course, to sell alcohol, you need to have some kind of license. The process and licensing is different in every state. So Claude advises that you check with a lawyer. Usually a contract brewery is set up like a distributor. In California, Claude says, most contract breweries would use a Type 17 license from California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control. This allows you to have beer made for you by another brewery, then you can sell it to retailers. “The ABC is very willing to work with you,” says Claude. “You go to them, and tell them what you want to do, they’ll be very willing to work with you to make sure you do things the right way.” Be very detailed in telling your state licensing agency what you want to do. They’ll suggest the license that you need. Then ask a lot of questions to make sure you’ll be able to do the things you intend to with a given license. Check this page for a list of state alcoholic beverage control boards. Next you’ll nee to find a contract brewery to manufacture your product: Ask breweries whether they have excess capacity for your beer. Network with other brewers to find a brewery that makes contract beer. Choosing the brewery to work with: Look for a company that shares your same goals. View the arrangement as a long term, mutually beneficial relationship. Check references of the brewery, and trust recommendations of others. Depending on your agreement, the different responsibilities will lie with one party of the other. Sometimes the brewery will do more, sometimes you’ll need to do it. So check with your brewery to see whether they’re expecting you to provide your own ingredients and packaging, whether you’ll need to get TTB approval on your labels, or other tasks. “If you’re a contract brewer, and that’s going to be more of your long-term strategy,” advises Claude, “you’re going to do things like [contract directly with a hop supplier] so you’re going to have your own source of hops for your beers.” “If you want to put a ton of really restrictive terms in an agreement, as a [small startup] contract brewer you may be less likely to enter that agreement. It’s really about developing that working relationship with each other and making sure that you have the same goals in mind and you’re working toward something long-term.” “Everybody I have met has been more than happy to share their knowledge.” [Tweet This] Listener question: From Dan: How hard/easy was the licensing from the state? What local regulations did you have trouble with? Were the locals helpful in setting up the business? Book recommendation: Building Strong Brands by David A. Aaker. The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership: Follow Them and People Will Follow You (10th Anniversary Edition) by John C. Maxwell. Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap…And Others Don’t by Jim Collins. Check out the entire list of recommended books, click here. An upcoming beer style: Saison Other resources: U.S. Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB). Directory of State Alcohol Beverage Control Boards. List of License Types, California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control. Brew Hub, where craft brewers go to grow. Your Local Beer Isn’t as Local as You Think, And maybe that’s OK., Adrienne So, Slate, August 13, 2013. Pretty Things Beer and Ale Project, Boston, Massachusetts. You can reach Claude Burns and Noble Brewer at: noblebrewer.com Facebook: NobleBrewer Twitter: NobleBrewerBeer Instagram: NobleBrewer Sponsors: Support MicroBrewr Help keep MicroBrewr on the air. CLICK HERE for ways you can help. The post MicroBrewr 074: Contract brewing for homebrew craft beer club appeared first on MicroBrewr.