How to Start a Microbrewery

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Passionate about craft beer, ale, and lager? Join the growing brewery business by starting your own microbrewery. Here’s how to do it.

Do you have the skills and equipment?

There is a growing appetite for craft beer and lager, with microbreweries taking the world by storm. This is because more people are wanting to support local businesses and enjoy drinking beer that focuses on the quality of flavor and better technique.

Mass-produced beer and lager still have a space in the market, but more consumers are swapping out bland alcoholic drinks for independent labels that have more flavor. This is the same for gins and cider, too.

What skills do you need to run a microbrewery, then?

Well, sadly, passion alone doesn’t bring in profit – although you do need to have a love for beer and know about tasting notes if you are to work within this industry. You are, after all, spending more time selling the beer than brewing it, so you need to not only be business-minded but also enjoy the product you are selling.

You need to know about taste and the brewing process, though. You will need to perfect your craft before even thinking of opening the doors of your microbrewery! There are many short brewing courses available to you, which can save you costly mistakes. Once you’ve got the brewing process down, you can expand on different tastes and flavors, perfecting your blend and what will be your unique selling point.

Once you know how to brew, joining the microbrewery community can be a great place to talk to like-minded individuals who are known for supporting each other.

When it comes to the equipment, it can be costly. While you do not need the most expensive equipment, you will want to invest in a kit that won’t break. You will need a:

  • Fermentation system
  • Mash system
  • Cooling system
  • Controlling system
  • Filter system
  • Cleaning system

You’ll also need to buy the four basic ingredients used to make beer: water, malted barley, hops, and yeast. Through these four base ingredients, you have a selection of different combinations that will impact the taste and quality of the beer.

What’s your business plan?

Hard work, patience, and organization are all key parts of starting a microbrewery. For your microbrewery to be a success, though, you need a business plan – much like every other business out there, too.

You need to decide on where and how you are doing to brew your beer. You also need to put together a cost list for equipment, building hire (if applicable), ingredients, production line, labor, and marketing. It is not enough to say your unique selling point is that you are going to “produce good beer.” Lots of microbreweries produce good beer, so what will make you different?

Is it your marketing and who you are selling to, for example? Or, is it the guided tours and tasting sessions that you hold in your brewery? The latter is a great selling point, as it makes your beer accessible and a fun day out for beer aficionados.

Open up a rustic or industrial looking pump room that’s photogenic and comfortable for beer tasting. Personalize the area with point of purchase signs that have your brand of beer on them. Make an experience out of your beer and microbrewery premises.

Do you know the regulations?

Brewing beer means you have unavoidable legislations. You have to pay beer duty if the beer exceeds a certain strength, and when you apply to register, you have to give an estimate of how much beer you are hoping to brew in a calendar year.

Remember, if you are planning on selling directly to the public, you will need a license. What’s more, building a brewery means going through planning permission.