For those who dream of owning their own brewery, we’ve compiled a step-by-step guide to brewing beer and tips for how to get started. From finding investors or getting funding through grants, to making sure you have a good location with plenty of parking spaces and space for customers to sit down inside the taproom while they drink your delicious IPAs or stouts!
Here’s how it works:
1) Pick a name –
2) Figure out the legal stuff
3) Write a business plan
4) Find location
5) Finalize recipe details
6) Get brewing equipment
7) Get liquor license
8.) Get an online presence
9) Start marketing
10). Now that we’ve looked at all aspects of starting from scratch with nothing but an idea…let’s talk about what steps will actually help you achieve this goal.
1. Pick a name and logo.
- Pick a name and logo.
This is one of the most important steps in starting your brewery. The name you pick will be attached to your brewery forever, so it’s worth taking time to get it right. You’ll want to make sure that your name is easy for people to remember and pronounce, but also unique enough that it stands out from other breweries’ names in your area. It should also be easy to spell and trademark, since this can become an issue as you expand into new markets or if there are any legal troubles with other businesses using similar names (or even just similar-sounding names).
2. Figure Out the Legal Stuff.
Before you can even think about buying equipment, brewing beer and selling your product, there are a few things that need to be done. The most important legal aspects of starting a brewery include:
- Registering for a business license and tax ID number. This will allow you to open a bank account and start selling your beer. You also need this information for any government paperwork or applications you may need in the future (like registering for permits).
- Registering as an LLC (limited liability company) or corporation with the state. Like registering as an LLC, this allows you to open up a business bank account that’s separate from personal accounts held by investors or owners.
- Getting an EIN (employer identification number). This is required by the government because it’s necessary to pay employees and file taxes through the IRS each year—and every dollar counts when running a brewery!
3. Write a Business plan.
A business plan is a written plan that describes your business, its goals and how it will achieve them. A business plan helps you:
- Identify your business goals
- Set priorities and make informed decisions
- Plan for the future
4. Find a location.
The first thing you’ll need to do is find a location for your brewery. You have a few things to consider here:
- Your target market. Who will drink your beer? How much disposable income do they have? Where are they located?
- Being accessible. Is the location easy to get to, or are there a lot of obstacles in the way (like construction or traffic)? If you’re opening a brewery in San Francisco, being easily accessed is pretty important; if you’re opening one in rural Texas, it’s less so—but still worth considering how far people may need travel just to reach your place of business!
- Accessibility from other locations. Are there places where people go after work (e.g., bars) that are nearby? And conversely, if someone wants to visit your bar but isn’t familiar with where it is located, will they feel comfortable driving there alone at night?
5. Finalize the details of your beer recipes and make test batches to refine them before you go big with your setup and equipment.
The last thing to know about is how to make sure your beer recipes are ready for prime time. You don’t want to go through all the effort of starting up a brewery, only to have your first batches be subpar. So, before you start making any serious investments in equipment and ingredients, test out your recipes on a small scale. This will give you an idea of what works and what doesn’t work so well. You can also use these test batches as an opportunity for refining the recipe so that it tastes exactly how you want it to taste when it’s being produced on a much larger scale.
Once this step is done, there are still some other details that need attention:
- Make sure you have the right equipment (and space) before committing yourself to brewing full-time at home
6. Get brewing equipment, supplies, growlers, glassware and kegs.
Before you can start brewing beer, you’ll need a few things:
- Brew kettles and fermentation vessels
- Hoses, pumps and plumbing fittings
- Grain milling equipment (if you will be using whole grains)
You can find all these items in homebrew supply stores and online. If you’re starting a small brewery on the side of your home, then most likely all your equipment will come from a local homebrew supply store. If your brewery is going to be bigger or if you plan on distributing your beer to bars/restaurants/retailers then it is essential that you order from an industrial supplier or manufacturer who specializes in brewing equipment since they have access to larger quantities of high quality products at competitive prices. They also tend to offer great support services such as warranties and repair options if something breaks down after it’s been installed somewhere else besides their warehouse.
7. Get a liquor license and sign up for payroll software that keeps track of money, taxes and management so you can focus on what’s important – the beer!
- Get a liquor license and sign up for payroll software that keeps track of money, taxes and management so you can focus on what’s important – the beer!
A liquor license is required to sell alcohol in most areas. Payroll software tracks employee hours, wages and benefits so you can pay your staff fairly and legally.
8. Get set up with an online presence and get marketing! You’re going to need a point-of-sale system to help manage your business sales and inventory, too!
It’s time to start getting set up with an online presence and get marketing! You’re going to need a point-of-sale system to help manage your business sales and inventory, too!
If you don’t have any of these things yet, now is the time to get started. Create a website for yourself that tells people about who you are, what you’re doing and why they should care. The same goes for social media profiles like Facebook or Instagram – these platforms give potential customers an easy way to learn more about your brewery without having to spend hours browsing through website pages (and they’ll probably be more likely than not share their own content with friends). A good accountant is also essential when it comes down selling beer commercially; they will provide guidance on how much tax must be collected throughout each year’s operation as well as advice on how best keep track of income generated by brewery operations—which includes tips earned from serving customers at venues such as bars or restaurants where alcohol consumption is permitted under state law.
Start-up costs can be intimidating so take things slow and be patient when setting up your business
You might be surprised by how much money you need to start a brewery. Even if you already have the equipment and ingredients, there are still costs that can be hard to imagine as a beginner. These include licensing fees, federal tax filing fees, and state-specific taxes (like sales tax).
Start-up costs can be intimidating so take things slow and be patient when setting up your business. If it seems like too much at the beginning try getting some help from friends who have run their own businesses before or maybe even hire an accountant or lawyer who has experience with breweries so they can help guide you through all of the paperwork involved with starting up your own brewery!
We hope these steps have been helpful to you as you begin your brewery journey. It may seem like a lot of work, but we promise that it’s worth it. Keep in mind that getting started doesn’t have to mean giving up on everything else; this is possible while working full-time, or even part-time, if you put in the effort. If things get too hectic, remember why you wanted this in the first place and know that there are other ways to run a brewery besides owning one! Good luck with your new venture!