Did you go pro?

Discussion in 'Recipes for Feedback' started by Cali Co Brewing, Aug 6, 2020.

  1. Cali Co Brewing

    Cali Co Brewing New Member

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    I joined this site because the app tools and the community out there was great for taking my home hobby pro.

    So far, I’ve incorporated an LLC, applied for my EIN, and started working on my recipes with my 5 gallon set up - the goal being to open shop in three to five years.

    Has anyone out there taken their hobby pro? Either you opened up your own brew house or joined an existing operation?
     
  2. Steve SPF

    Steve SPF Well-Known Member

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    I did. Different in the UK but yes, Fully registered and fully compliant, although I am coming at it a little sideways.

    I'm learning to brew, only been at it a couple of years, so the intention was never to be a pro brewer but it does allow me to do a couple of other things that are part of what I do.

    The main reason for registering was to get an AWRS number which allows me store and trade beer. I'm developing a mobile bar rental business and in order to supply those to the public (with beer) I need to be AWRS compliant.

    The other aspect is that I have a half share in a small social club attached to a golf facility locally. With the AWRS registration I can put my beers on our own bar which is pretty cool.

    I never set out to be a commercial brewer and am not travelling that road. As part of a brand building exercise though it's really useful.
     
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  3. Nosybear

    Nosybear Well-Known Member

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    I thought about it for about ten minutes, then realized if I did, I'm no longer a brewer, I'm a businessman who brews. I don't want to deal with supply chains, employees, customers, lessors, I want to brew, so I stay amateur, even though people have offered to bankroll me should I want to go pro (don't want to deal with investors, either!).
     
  4. Cali Co Brewing

    Cali Co Brewing New Member

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    I hear ya - I guess for me I’d rather be the business owner than dealing with lawyers and their bills (I work in accounting at a firm).
     
  5. Nosybear

    Nosybear Well-Known Member

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    I wasn't listing all the potential brewery parasites....
     
  6. thunderwagn

    thunderwagn Well-Known Member

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    Throw in a little covid now and ugh...I don't know what all these business's are going to do come winter when they lose all their outdoor seating.
     
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  7. HighVoltageMan!

    HighVoltageMan! Well-Known Member

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    I helped a friend of mine go pro, I designed and built the control system for it. It was eye opening for me, there is no glamour in it, it's very hard work. The work isn't bad, but it's a grind. You have to really love the business itself. It's like owning a dairy farm, the cows have to milked twice a day, everyday, no vacation from it. And just like a dairy farm, it's pretty tight financially.

    As for the barflies or as it was put, parasites, they are a constant source of revenue. It's both good and bad. I was cured of any dreams of going pro, the only way I would do it would be to contract brew at my place. Get up in the morning, walk out to the brewery, work 6-8 hours and walk back to the house. But that's just fantasy.

    I don't want to discourage you, but have a good idea about it before you jump in.
     
  8. Steve SPF

    Steve SPF Well-Known Member

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    @HighVoltageMan!

    Spot on I would say, there's no doubt that it's work. All businesses are though aren't they?

    I think that the lucky people are the ones who enjoy what they do for a living but, of course, doing it for a living inevitably takes some enjoyment out of it.

    I'm working with a friend on comissioning a brewery right now, a monster with two 4000lt fermenters and conditioning tanks as tall as my house, and when he talks I listen. It is a business to him primarily, it just happens to be a beer business and he's a beer guy so it's a good fit.

    He wants me to lease his small 800lt kit and scale what I'm doing. The most persuasive thought he has there is that a brewday is a brewday. I brew on a 100lt kit and it would be the same labour input (time wise) to brew on an 800lt kit. Plenty of pro brewers have gone that route, scaling home brewing, but plenty have failed as well because it needs a very different approach - needs treating like a business and not a hobby.
     
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  9. Bubba Wade

    Bubba Wade Well-Known Member

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    Not to discourage anyone, but the market space in the US is pretty saturated. It’s a challenge just to get shelf space.

    Lots of breweries that made very good beer have gone out of business in six months. However, if you think you have a good business plan, there is a lot of good equipment out there at a discount from the failed breweries.
     
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  10. Mark Farrall

    Mark Farrall Well-Known Member

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    There'd have to be some of the best bargains for starting a new brewery circulating around in the next 12 months, if you're that way inclined and can cope with the increased uncertainty.
     
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  11. Steve SPF

    Steve SPF Well-Known Member

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    Can't speak for other countries but in the UK I've been saying for years that this is the best time that there's ever been to be interested in beer, the craft revolution has taken hold in a big way and the audience for beer is very diverse and growing.

    There's no doubt that the volume beer market is shrinking though, overall beer consumption is down and slips a little further every year. The brewers at risk just now are the mid-size brewers, over 5000hl, who don't have the economies of scale of the big boys or the nimbleness/duty breaks of the smaller brewers. That said, I'm sure that there are plenty of start-ups that fail and we don't hear about.

    If you get your product right here in the UK I firmly believe that there's a market for you. What you can't do is produce bland 4% cask beer and expect to stay in business; won't work.We have a very curious craft beer audience here but they aren't interested in the stuff that's being bashed out very efficiently by traditional brewers.

    It's a crowded marketplace for sure and I can't see any space for 'sameness'. Brewers, particularly small brewers, seem like a nimble and creative bunch though - how quickly they all adopted small-pack and home delivery in March - if that same creativity can be applied from day one I don't see any reason why a brewer needs to fail. It's a cruel world for small businesses for sure, but there's some space left for innovative brewers.
     
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  12. Steve SPF

    Steve SPF Well-Known Member

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    This is my 'Beer Shed' concept. I've no need to brew the beer, although that's okay under the terms of my licences, but I need the AWRS so that I can buy, store, and sell beer.

    Pair.JPG
     
  13. Craigerrr

    Craigerrr Well-Known Member

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    Cool
     
  14. Ward Chillington

    Ward Chillington Well-Known Member

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    INDEED SPOT ON! Being nimble and creative in your adaptability is indeed the key in any small business. I see it in my local breweries and friends that are small business owners.

    One of those is a buddy who owns a bicycle shop and at the beginning of the COVID thing, he was confident he would be able to weather a few months with the state mandated laws for his business but after that was bleak. That was in March...I spoke to him a couple of weeks ago...he changed his business operations plan to a no contact method bumped up his web site and has since sold out his entire inventory, was able to keep the entire staff employed and has grown his customer base with new folks interested in the sport and not interested in adding to their COVID19...pounds that is!

    On the other hand one of the LHBS's that was downsizing before the pandemic has totally gone by the wayside while another is going great guns! The area here has seen 2 new breweries and I know which one I'm backing as they are not only creative but they are better at their creativity!

    I'll freely admit that I had much more entrepreneurial spirit as a youngster coming out of school but a couple of capstone classes and the realization of the legal and regulatory requirements that dampened my spirit and helped me better understand the expression "ignorance is bliss" as most of the small business people I spoke to had no idea what the law was...they just went and did stuff and ran the risk of getting busted! LOL....that must be that part about the definition of them being risk takers!

    Ya got bigger stones than me Steve and Cali Co, hats off and good luck...you sound like you have half the equation figured out!
     

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