Monday, May 13, 2013

Starting a brewery? Here's an updated guide

Image from BA website

A freshened-up guide on how to launch a craft brewery is now available.

The Brewers Association, the Colorado-based trade group that represents the U.S. craft brewing industry, on Monday announced the second edition of its guide book Starting Your Own Brewery. 

The publication covers topics such as choosing a location, flooring, branding, regulatory matters, and what to consider when acquiring brewing equipment

The latest edition also features new sections on working with distributors and sustainability, the latter being a cultural issue that is gaining a lot of attention. (Things have moved well beyond finding a farmer to pick up your spent grain. Breweries these days are also considering alternative energy sources, such as wind and solar power.) 

The new edition also expands on topics regarding brewery portfolio selection. 

The original guide book, published seven years ago, was written by several contributing authors from the U.S. craft beer industry. However, the update was written entirely by Elysian Brewing founder Dick Cantwell, whose Seattle-based company has started five breweries, and thus affords him the background and perspective to speak on a wide range of brewery business topics. 

The new edition also includes Elysian's original business plan with an analysis of what about it was effective and what wasn't. 

"I hope it's useful to see something that worked as a tool for raising money and worked as a document for building a business that has now been going on for 17 years," Dick says in a video on the website for Brewers Publications, the publishing arm of the Brewers Association. "I think once you get going, you have to maintain as much flexibility as you can because we're seeing breweries all around us expanding and trying new things. The more doors you leave open as you are putting your plan together the better for the future. You really have to figure out some way to set yourself apart from everybody else, because there's a new brewery opening every day."

The Garden State is no exception. 

There are a number of breweries now on the drawing table in New Jersey, and you can probably expect at least one or two of them, possibly more, to launch this year. The past four years have been big for growth in the state: 10 craft breweries launched, plus two contract beer companies, with just two casualties among that group (Port 44 Brew Pub in Newark and Great Blue Brewing in Somerset County, which kind of stalled on the launch pad; its owners then let the license lapse).

With that kind of growth pace, a guide book sounds useful. There is a caveat, though. The book costs a steep $95.

Click here for a glimpse at the table of contents.

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