Views: 54 Author: Site Editor Publish Time: 2022-11-18 Origin: Site
Owning a brewpub/microbrewery/tap room can be very fulfilling and very rewarding. But starting any business is not easy, and statistics indicate that four out of ten business startups fail by year five. With the market for new brewpubs going strong, the probability of success might be higher than other businesses, but it is still not a given that a business will succeed.
So what are the keys to success?
This almost seems to go without saying, but needs to be said. Keeping passionate about your brewing (or finding a passionate brewer), using good methods and record keeping, sourcing fresh ingredients, and maintaining good sanitation are all keys to brewing great beer. Be open to what customers want (not what you think they need) and adapt. If it's peanut butter stout that brings them in (even if that sounds anathema to you) be open to trying it. A pilot system is a great way to try a new recipe and get feedback. Offering $1 pints for the first twenty pours of a new recipe might be a great way to bring people in AND get feedback (if they purchase a second pint you know they like it!).
If you are the first in your area, great beer alone might be all you need. But if there are others when you open, or if others come, having an easy to access location is important. A location that has other attractions nearby (arts, entertainment, restaurants etc.) might also draw more people, and ideally provide lots of foot traffic.
Like number 2, if you are the only craft brewery in your area, the good beer alone MIGHT be enough. But people want a 'remarkable' experience — which means that they go away and 'remark' to someone else about how great your place is. A key aspect of remarkable is the atmosphere you create, and decoration is in most situations very central to that. Make it a unique and interesting space. If unique and interesting aren't your thing (most people are passionate about something that could be translated into a unique space), find someone to help you who has a great aesthetic sense and creative imagination. There are MANY ways to make a space interesting; having flourescent lights, white drywall with a few posters and boring tables and chairs is not going to be interesting for most people, and in fact, if it is depressing in there, even if your beer is fantastic, they might not want to come.
In additional to these three criteria, there are a few other things.
A clear vision as to what kind of brewery you want and a plan to get there. You need to find a niche that fits in within the community you locate. Besides the beer styles, the setting/atmosphere, the food you offer, the attraction you provide in your place is so important.
The location needs to work with the vision. If you want a community focused brewery it has to be in the community and easily accessible for locals. It doesn’t do much good to put a community brewery a 10 minute drive into an industrial area where there is no foot traffic. An industrial area might be more suited to a destination brewery or one that is more focused on a distribution model.
Craft beer drinkers have a lot of options. You want to make sure your servers are knowledgeable about your product. Craft beer drinkers are becoming more and more interested in how the beer is made. What specific ingredients go into it. I try to interact with everyone that walks through the door. Even if it’s just giving them a sticker and thanking them for coming in.
Surrounding yourself with the right people, especially customers. You can't run a successful brewery, or business, without the support of customers. Beyond customers, hiring the right people who will push your brand forward and trust that they will do things to your standard. And even other breweries. Sharing equipment, ingredients, knowledge, etc will only benefit everyone involved.
Realize that it’s going to be more than you think. Starting your brewery is way way more than you think….It’s more work than you think it will be, even if you think it’s going to be a lot of work it’s going to be more. It’s going to take longer than you think it is to open the doors, it’s going to take more money than you think to open the doors, it’s going to take more hours per week than you think to keep the doors open and most importantly once you get the doors open and people into your brewery its going to be more fun and rewarding than you think.