You’ve dreamt of owning your own brewery for years and now you’re finally ready to make that dream a reality. If you ask any craft beer aficionado what they would want in a brewery, the first thing they’ll say is the atmosphere – it doesn’t matter how good your beer is if nobody can stand spending time inside your establishment.
Before you start bottling and canning your own beer, consider how you want to run your brewery business. Starting a brewery is not the same as opening up any other small business.
Here are some tips for running your own brewery business.
#1 Research your competition to see what you can do differently
First, do an extensive amount of research to see what other breweries are doing in your area.
Do they have a tasting room? What kind of beers do they offer? How many growlers will their patrons buy on average per month?
If you’re brand new to the business, consider offering things that no one else does – scented candles, open mic nights, trivia nights.
#2 Find a location for your brewery, preferably in the heart of a city or town
The most important thing to consider when looking at potential locations is that you are visible. You need people to know that you exist and they will only be able to see it if you’re located in an easily accessible place.
You also want to consider the number of bars in close proximity to your brewery. “Bars are similar, but not exactly competitors”, says Melvin Brewing. You’re both selling beer, but you’re selling different brands and different flavors.
If possible, find a spot that allows for an outdoor patio. Patios are ideal for breweries because they will attract people where it’s warm and sunny. When people feel happy and safe, they will be more likely to enjoy the beers you have on tap.
When thinking about your brewery’s location, also consider things like parking availability and how easy it is for customers to walk from bar to bar.
#3 Obtain permits and licenses from the state you plan on opening up shop in
More than likely, you’re going to need some sort of licensing with the state you plan on operating in. This includes things like building permits and alcohol licenses.
First things first – make sure that your location is zoned for what you want to do there (i.e. brewing beer). Most states will require an extensive amount of paperwork and inspection processes before you can begin brewing.
#4 Set up your tasting room with plenty of seating and tables as well as beer options
When people walk into a brewery, they need to know that they’re in the right place – especially if it’s an establishment that is new to town.
This is why you need to have a comfortable tasting room that invites people in with plenty of seating and tables for patrons.
Patrons don’t just want somewhere to sit down, though – they also expect a certain amount of options from the bar when it comes to what they can drink.
It’s best to offer at least three different types of beer on tap. Bottled and canned beers are a nice addition, but people will come back for your drafts because nothing beats that “first taste” feeling of a delicious draft beer.
#5 Create an exciting atmosphere that will attract customers
When it comes to running a brewery business, it’s not just about the beer. There are other elements that contribute to why people keep coming back for more and one of those is the atmosphere you create.
People want to feel as though they’re a part of something when they visit your brewery, so take advantage of this by creating an exciting place with games like shuffleboard and darts.
You can even hold trivia nights to give your customers a chance to show off their beer knowledge.
#6 Offer food at least one day per week to keep hungry visitors happy
Offering food is the best way to make more money and keep patrons coming back on more than just Saturdays (or whatever day you choose).
Go with a “pizza and beer” combo to keep prices low for customers looking to fill up on a budget.
Once you’ve set up your brewery and started running it, make sure that you’re constantly monitoring feedback from customers. Being open to listening to what people have to say will help you create a better product as well as grow as an establishment.
But most importantly, always remember the reason why you wanted to run a brewery business in the first place. Never lose sight of what you were hoping to accomplish in opening up your brewery because this is the number one thing that can make or break a business.