Have you ever considered going pro?

Discussion in 'General Brewing Discussions' started by Bulin's Milker Bucket Brews, Jun 27, 2020.

  1. Bulin's Milker Bucket Brews

    Bulin's Milker Bucket Brews Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2019
    Messages:
    535
    Likes Received:
    1,397
    Trophy Points:
    93
    Gender:
    Male
    Occupation:
    Carpenter
    Location:
    Wisconsin
    I've been getting some good feedback on some of my beer. Now I'm not considering doing anything rash, but, I have been crunching the numbers and looking for an answer to the same problem my Great Great Great Grandfather had 140 years ago. "How could I pull this off without and actually make it work?" ...he lasted about 20 years.

    I will be in "wait and see" mode for a year or two. Going to keep working on my beer and start accumulating funds in my top secret account for reckless purchases...you know the one my wife knows is there, but doesn't have any access to...figure l need to first build some capital and do my homework....
     
    Trialben and Daniel Parshley like this.
  2. thunderwagn

    thunderwagn Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Sep 5, 2015
    Messages:
    3,737
    Likes Received:
    7,272
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Loveland, CO
    Never considered it myself. Brewing is something I do for fun in my free time.
     
  3. Daniel Parshley

    Daniel Parshley Active Member

    Joined:
    Jan 25, 2020
    Messages:
    95
    Likes Received:
    100
    Trophy Points:
    33
    I have a lot of folks that really like my brew and tell me I should open a micro brewery. The enthusiasm usually wains when I ask them if they are interested in being an investor in the venture. I point out that there are a lot of good micro breweries out there, and I suggest they go try their beer and ask them what it costs to get setup and going. It is fun visiting all those micro breweries and doing that serious due diligence for the business plan. Beer enthusiasm tempered with a reality check.
     
    Trialben and Hawkbox like this.
  4. J A

    J A Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 19, 2016
    Messages:
    3,474
    Likes Received:
    2,689
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    Austin, Texas
    I've had many beers from "breweries" that weren't nearly as good as beer that I and other homebrewers brew. Sometimes it's just mis-steps early in the process of getting new equipment online and sometimes it's just never very good. These folks didn't start a brewery because they could make excellent beer. They started a brewery because they had money to invest or friends to put up money or property that could be built out or converted.
    If you really think about what it takes to get started and keep going, your enthusiasm may be blunted. And, though I'm sure your beer is quite good, don't forget that all the folks that are raving about it are your friends who are getting free beer on a regular basis...what's not to like. Get some samples to pro brewers in your area and do blind taste tests against "store bought" beer with your friends. Some homebrew competitions are worth getting feed back from and some are judged by folks who may or may not have a particularly sophisticated palate so "medals" don't mean much.
    It's a really exciting prospect and I wish you all the luck in the world if you do give it a try. Just remember that if the business isn't solid, the beer won't mean much.
     
    Trialben and Daniel Parshley like this.
  5. Bubba Wade

    Bubba Wade Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Sep 17, 2017
    Messages:
    605
    Likes Received:
    887
    Trophy Points:
    93
    Gender:
    Male
    Occupation:
    Controls & Instrumentation Engineer
    Location:
    Monroe, Louisiana
    Home Page:
    I have looked at this in some detail. The market is pretty saturated with craft breweries. You can make fantastic beer, but be bankrupt in 3 months if you don’t have a good marketing and distribution channel. And you are looking at at few hundred big ones for initial capital, although you can get some good deals from bankrupt breweries.

    One option I am still considering is partnering with a restaurant for a brew-on-premise license. I think I could make that work with a capital outlay of $25-30k. However, I would be doing this in retirement and not as a primary income stream.
     
  6. Daniel Parshley

    Daniel Parshley Active Member

    Joined:
    Jan 25, 2020
    Messages:
    95
    Likes Received:
    100
    Trophy Points:
    33
    Home brewers do make the best and we pay for the best ingredients. Its when these cost enters to business plan that it gets real and competing with "Joe with so so craft brew" gets real. As mentioned, many micro brewers go out of business. Now, many start with a market in place, kegs, cans, bottles, and the equipment to do them all. Then there are the economics of scale... I've done business plans and 9 out of 10 are reality checks. Needed reality check to do before moving forward.
     
    J A likes this.
  7. Yooper

    Yooper Administrator
    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Nov 16, 2013
    Messages:
    2,486
    Likes Received:
    1,566
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Gender:
    Female
    Occupation:
    Happily retired
    Location:
    Upper Michigan/Florida
    Not me. I like making beer and wine (and mead and cider), and to be forced to do it would make it a job. Commercial brewing as a start up means very long hours, tons of physical hard work, lots and lots of money, and less than 50/50 chance of quitting your real job.

    I also make other things, like soap, and give it away. I've had people ask me to make certain soaps, and sometimes I will, but I will not take orders or payments, because that would turn my hobby into a job.

    My job was my job, and my hobbies are my hobbies. I do things I enjoy for fun.

    Although, I have been fortunate enough to be able to write recipes and articles for brewing publications and for homebrew stores, so I can make a tiny bit of money and still talk about my hobby constantly.
     
    Trialben, ^Tony^, Sunfire96 and 3 others like this.
  8. Pricelessbrewing

    Pricelessbrewing QA Software Tester
    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Jun 8, 2016
    Messages:
    764
    Likes Received:
    502
    Trophy Points:
    93
    Gender:
    Male
    I've thought about it, before I learned how expensive it is and how many close within 1-2 years after working 10-13 hour days every day with little pay for the owners hoping they survive long enough to make a profit.

    I'm happy doing my little part in helping you all make better beer.
     
  9. Hawkbox

    Hawkbox Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2017
    Messages:
    3,738
    Likes Received:
    2,973
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Gender:
    Male
    Occupation:
    IT Manager
    Location:
    Edmonton
    Not even a little bit. I make good money doing my job and I'd rather enjoy my hobby than lightly hate it like I do IT these days.
    Plus it would be a massive pay cut for way more work and stress.
     
    Trialben likes this.
  10. BarbarianBrewer

    BarbarianBrewer Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Mar 12, 2017
    Messages:
    416
    Likes Received:
    731
    Trophy Points:
    93
    Location:
    Milwaukee, WI
    @Bulin's Milker Bucket Brews, you would definitely have to include your family history into your brewery's story! In addition to the obvious, money and a business plan, I would think consistency of brews would be a must. That's where home brewing really wins out for me. If I make a beer that doesn't work out like I hoped, the cost is simply drinking so-so beer or dumping $30-$60 worth of beer down the drain. In a professional brewery, that cost is so much higher.
     
    Trialben likes this.
  11. Craigerrr

    Craigerrr Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Mar 14, 2018
    Messages:
    4,701
    Likes Received:
    6,900
    Trophy Points:
    113
    I get comments from a number of people that I should open a brewery. The clamm up pretty quick when I suggest that they put up the dough, and roll up their sleeves and do all of the cleaning. Some people are a little more critical and will not give me false praise, which I respect. I tend to listen to them more closely.
     
    Trialben, Hawkbox and BarbarianBrewer like this.
  12. Hot P!$$

    Hot P!$$ New Member

    Joined:
    May 6, 2020
    Messages:
    18
    Likes Received:
    15
    Trophy Points:
    3
    Thought about it. Not that I think I’m good enough but like other posters above I don’t want to take something I enjoy and turn it into a job. I also think it’s not so hard to make 5 gallons of good beer but scaling that up into a consistently good and commercially viable beer is a whole other level. I also don’t think I have the business acumen to deal with the accounts, logistics and all the other admin that would probably take up more time than brewing itself. Having said all of that slowly building up a plan and some capital does you know harm and gives you an option later down the line so don’t be put off.
     
    Trialben likes this.
  13. bob@robertgarner.com

    [email protected] New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2018
    Messages:
    12
    Likes Received:
    9
    Trophy Points:
    3
    Thought about it. Not that I think I’m good enough but like other posters above I don’t want to take something I enjoy and turn it into a job.

    +++++ to this.

    Cabin
     
  14. FedoraDave

    FedoraDave Member

    Joined:
    Dec 13, 2018
    Messages:
    36
    Likes Received:
    52
    Trophy Points:
    18
    Location:
    North and west of the City
    Never even considered it. I know my limitations, and I'm not a businessman. There's more to going pro than just brewing good beer. It's also a given that brewing on a scale that large is arduous work. I spent over 20 years in a job that taxed me physically and emotionally. I'm retired now, and intend to enjoy being as busy as I wanna be instead of as busy as I gotta be.
     
    Trialben and Craigerrr like this.
  15. Nosybear

    Nosybear Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2012
    Messages:
    9,387
    Likes Received:
    6,618
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    Aurora, CO, USA
    Consider that if you go pro, it's no longer a hobby. You are running a business. You have to make payroll, manage your supply chain, control costs. You will become sick of brewing your fizzy yellow beer, the one that keeps the lights on. You will brew for eight hours, then have to deal with beer geeks who want to know how you brewed the beer while telling your you did it wrong for four or five more hours. Your experimental beers become too expensive to brew at scale. You will have to deal with finance, landlords, unruly customers, disgruntled employees, regular customers who think they are entitled to special treatment...

    Yes, I considered going pro. I've had people offer to go in with me or to finance me. My consideration lasted maybe fifteen minutes. It's not a business I want to be in.
     
    Trialben and BarbarianBrewer like this.
  16. Hawkbox

    Hawkbox Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2017
    Messages:
    3,738
    Likes Received:
    2,973
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Gender:
    Male
    Occupation:
    IT Manager
    Location:
    Edmonton
    That's largely how I looked at it too, had some friends try to talk me into going in with them too at one point. I considered it but I'm glad they bailed on the idea.
    I now just go hang out at the local breweries and annoy the brewers. ;)
     
  17. HighVoltageMan!

    HighVoltageMan! Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Feb 2, 2015
    Messages:
    831
    Likes Received:
    807
    Trophy Points:
    93
    Location:
    Big Lake MN
    I helped a friend of mine go pro and like everyone says, it's a lot of work. I get to brew when ever I want, which is not as often as I thought I would. It's a lot of work, which I don't mind, but I know the margins can get pretty slim at times. It's not a get rich quick business.

    What clinched it for me was serving beer on a very busy night, the customers were friendly enough, but pretty $h1t faced. It got tiring very quickly. I knew then I would never do it.
     
    Trialben likes this.
  18. ^Tony^

    ^Tony^ Active Member

    Joined:
    Jul 25, 2018
    Messages:
    220
    Likes Received:
    206
    Trophy Points:
    43
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Western Canada
    I have strongly considered it for the last few years. There is very very little about brewing that I don't mind. Heck, I even don't mind the hours of cleaning that need to be done. That said, I don't want to do it for a living, or at least not a brewery; I would run a small brew pub for a retirement. I enjoy great food, and great drink, and being busy. If I could find some like minded folks to be a part of it, great! A small kitchen for some great but simple food and enough brewing capacity to keep the glasses full. I'm looking for someone to run the kitchen, someone to focus (or help) on the business side, then leave me to brew what I want. I don't want to do it all but I do love entertaining with food and drink. Basically it would be a local hidden gem that makes enough money to break even and keep me busy.

    @Bulin's Milker Bucket Brews: I have had many many many people tell me I'm crazy. That it's a crazy idea. And frankly, I don't know if it will ever happen but I need a dream. Before 1969 nobody had every walked on the moon..Neil Armstrong changed that. Before 2020 I bet very few thought a tiny virus might shut down the entire world (Hollywood aside)...now look where we are. If you have the passion and the courage and the plan to give it a go I say go for it...but have a plan B...just in case:)
     
    Trialben likes this.
  19. Nosybear

    Nosybear Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2012
    Messages:
    9,387
    Likes Received:
    6,618
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    Aurora, CO, USA
    I'm not trying to discourage anyone from it but they should never go into it expecting to be one of the cool dudes in gum boots with a great beard doing a brew in the morning and comparing notes on the NEIPA in the afternoon. The brewers I know tell me it is a hell of a lot of work and in the current saturated market, fairly risky. Agreed with Tony above: If it's your dream, go for it but by all means, have a plan B.
     
  20. Hawkbox

    Hawkbox Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2017
    Messages:
    3,738
    Likes Received:
    2,973
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Gender:
    Male
    Occupation:
    IT Manager
    Location:
    Edmonton
    Yeah if you started a brewery 5+ years ago you had much better odds. Even then it was getting saturated.
     

Share This Page

arrow_white