So you wanna open a brewery? We don’t blame you! Breweries are becoming the centre of communities. They bring people together for the brilliant beers, but they keep people coming for the connections they help create.
We’ve seen many passionate brewers in our day, and they all want the same thing: to create delicious beer. But sometimes, brewers don’t always get to focus on the beer when they first get started. There are so many operational details they have to manage like inventory, staffing, tank maintenance, sales, and more.
Brew Ninja wants to ease brewery management for breweries. These are our tips for starting a brewery on the right foot.
1. Be prepared for everything to take twice as long.
From zoning to brewing regulations, there is plenty of red tape that makes starting your dream brewery difficult. But, you know it’s not impossible with the craft brewing industry exploding as it has over the past 10 years. All we’re saying is that it’s wise to leave a time cushion for navigating the paperwork.
2. Lean on other craft brewers.
One of the best parts of the craft brewing industry is the camaraderie. Anytime you have a question, you can always lean on another brewer. The Craft Brewers Association is a valuable resource for our industry, so tap into that as soon as you can!
3. Choose your location wisely.
Your location becomes your community. When choosing a location for your business it is important to locate yourself as close to your customer demographic as possible. It also is beneficial to be within walking distance other breweries to be a part of the local brewery hopping. It helps being near facilities that add to your patrons thirst 😏
4. Launch with a bang 💥
As we see it, there’s no such thing as a “soft launch” in the craft brewery industry. BrewNinja’s founder, Shea Martin, says, “launch with a bang, not a whimper.” Your launch is essential for starting on the right foot for many reasons, including getting people in the door on day one.
Install your brewery sign before you even finish the interior to catch those curious looks from passers-by. Get your social media profiles live at least one month before the launch and start hyping up your new brewery. Word of mouth spreads like wildfire. Start by visiting neighbouring businesses to spread the word! By including your community, you will launch with a pre-established loyal customer base.
5. Keep Track of EVERYTHING.
Five years from now, you could forget all about the failed experiments you brewed featuring gummy bears and fuzzy peach candy. If you don’t track it, you’ll forget, and that leads to inefficient business.
Keep photos of brewery inspirations in your travels and note down any possible partnerships for swag, collaborations, and media. You never know how that information will help you in the future.
6. Work with an accountant that understands breweries and local regulations.
Having someone well-versed in this industry will save you so much time and, potentially, legal headaches. It may seem that you need to know it all as a brewery owner, but having the right partners will ease that stress for you.
7. Automate your processes with software.
Starting a brewery is hard. Don’t make it harder for yourself by using complicated excel sheets to keep track of production and inventory. Try to make it easy on yourself by automating tasks you can. With Brew Ninja’s software, you can easily track your inventory and see how much you are spending throughout your brewing process – right down to the final packaged product.
8. Test it and move on if it’s not performing.
Whatever you put out, keep an eye on its performance. Cans, tasting room pints, brewery swag – whatever you’re selling, be ready to replace it if it’s not selling! Test it out and move on. Don’t hold a sentimental attachment to a lackluster product.
9. Develop your flavour niche.
With so many breweries fighting for the consumer’s taste buds, it is crucial that you develop your own flavour. Producing a style that is unique from big brands or neighbouring breweries will help your product stand out. By focusing on beer with a certain twist, such as beer flavored with local fruit, your brand will be superior!
10. Know your distribution.
Now that you have good beer ready to serve, it’s time to get it in the hands of the consumer. Having a tasting room will let people try your product, but having it on the shelf at beer stores will boost your awareness even more. Research your local distribution channels and always factor distribution costs, which are not cheap, into your decision to start a brewery.
Now, you have our top tips for starting out, so get that brewery going and invite us for a pint! Starting a brewery takes a lot of passion, but also a lot of planning, and we can help with the planning part. Brew Ninja helps you brew, track, sell, purchase, deliver and communicate to make your operations run smooth.